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Why Inbound Links Are Critical to Search Engine Ranking (SEO)

Quality Links Count the Most


Inbound links play an important role in SEO.

Incoming Links Add Credibility to Your Website

As a Florida copywriter who often does SEO (search engine optimization) copywriting, I’m frequently asked about the value of inbound links.

While I’d love to say the only variable that matters to search engines is the information contained on your website, that just wouldn’t be true. While good, keyword-rich content is a necessity in obtaining good search engine ranking, it’s not the only factor.

Another key variable in SEO is incoming links, links to your website from another website.

The more links, the better, because they demonstrate to the search engine that other websites find your content worthy of offering to their own visitors.  They suggest that you’re an authority on your subject.  The search engines look upon links as popularity votes.

authority websites

Strive to get links from highly-ranked authority websites relevant to your subject matter.

Obtaining Links

If links are so important, you might think you should go out and solicit links from every website you can find.  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Not all links have equal value. A link from a highly-ranked website, for example, will carry more weight than a link from a lesser site.

Also factored in is the relevancy of the site linking to your site. The more relevant, the more valuable the link. Thus a site about digital cameras will benefit from a link that is from a popular website for a magazine on photography. It won’t benefit from a website promoting women’s fashions.

The Wording in Your Links Matters

Anchor text is the clickable word or words in a hyperlink.  It’s often blue and underlined, but doesn’t necessarily have to be.  The color and underlining can be changed through html code.

Ideally, the anchor text should be relevant to the page you’re linking to, rather than something generic.  Try to include your keywords or phrases.  The wording matters.

Using the previous example, a link that reads, “More information on digital cameras here” is superior to a link that just says, “Click here.”


High quality content that offers comprehensive, relevant information is the best way to attract inbound links.

Create Quality Content

The three best ways to increase the number of links to your website are to:

  1. Create good content. Well-crafted, informational copy will position you as an industry authority and will attract the interest of other website owners in related businesses. Brian Dean of Backlinko says one of his favorite tricks is writing highly detailed, exhaustive articles.  “Ultimate Guides are absolute link MAGNETS,” he says.
  2. Write guest posts for blogs in your industry. Be sure to include a link back to your site at the end of each post. That link, not only helps with ranking; it also sends referral traffic your way.
  3. Promote your posts on social media. When you create good content, tell the world.  Post links or abbreviated versions of the posts  on your social media sites including LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. If your post includes a good photo, post it on Instagram with a link to the written post on your site.  Not only do all those links back to your site help, you might find that your social media contacts promote your posts to their network, which results in more “buzz” and also traffic to your site. If your post goes viral, even on a small scale, Google will certainly take notice.

Avoid Link Exchanges

You might think that the easiest way to get inbound links is to exchange reciprocal links with other websites; the SEO version of you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours.

This process is called link farming. While it’s a good idea in theory; it’s a definite no-no in practice. Google is wise to these tricks. It considers link farming a form of spam, a means of gaming the search engine, and has implemented procedures to punish sites that participate in that practice.

“While real legitimate backlinks increase your website page rank and authority in the eyes of Google and other search engines, bad backlinks do the opposite,” according to Subhash Digital Academy.

“Google’s algorithms in 2020 are very much advanced in detecting illegitimate backlinks. If detected, such websites with illegitimate backlinks will be slapped with a penalty. The penalty can be as simple as demoting your website from search engine rankings and reducing the page rank or very severe as removing your entire website from its index altogether.”

Again, the best way to get inbound links is to create quality content for your website and guest post content for others.

Examples of Quality Inbound Links

As a professional copywriter in Orlando, Florida who depends not on local business but on the global reach of my website to find clients for my copywriting services, ranking high on Google is important to me.  I’ve written nearly 300 pages of content for my site.  You’d think that would be enough to get me high placement on search engines.

But a few years ago I realized I was slipping in the rankings. Despite all that informational and educational content I’d posted, other copywriters were pulling ahead of me. The reason? Their copywriting websites had more inbound links.

While I’d spent all my time writing copy for my site, these other copywriters had been guest posting on other sites and linking back to their own site. They’d also done a better job of promoting their copy.

I decided I had to rethink my strategy of creating new content and instead focus, at least for a while, on obtaining links.  Here are some of the strategies I used:

  • Guest Posts — I wrote guest blog posts for other websites about copywriting.  Each of those posts included a brief bio about me and linked back to my website.
  • Popular Posts — I sent links to my most popular posts about copywriting trends to marketing websites and encouraged them to write articles on the subject and to feel free to use quotes and statistics from my post. When they did, they always included a courtesy link back to my site as their source of information.
  • Social Media — I promoted my posts on social media, specifically Google+ (now defunct), Facebook and LinkedIn. My contacts on social media in turn promoted my posts to their networks, which gave me spikes in traffic and also resulted in additional links to my site.

These days, I try to put as much time and effort into promoting a post as I do in writing it, something I hadn’t done before. The change in strategy is working.

I’m happy to say that the inbound links have made a difference, and my copywriting website promoting my services is back on page 1 for my main keywords.

SEO is constantly changing as Google tweaks its algorithms. But inbound links have consistently been a critical factor.

How Many Inbound Links Are Enough?

The number of inbound links needed to rank a website or web page for any given term varies. There’s no hard-and-fast rule. It depends on many factors including some elements that are out of your control, such as how competitive that particular term is and whether Google considers your site to be an authority on the subject.

Backlinking isn’t—and shouldn’t be treated as—a standalone solution when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). But content without links limits your referral traffic and hinders ranking potential so it’s worth making the effort to acquire links if you’re shooting for page 1 rankings.

Internal and External Links

We’ve spoken about hyperlinks from other websites to your website and how valuable they are to SEO.  But two other types of links can also have a positive effect on your search engine ranking:

Internal Links — Links from one page on your website to another are called internal links.  They can help with site optimization by directing search engines to your various pages. and also showing the search engines what topics are important in your space.

For visitors, these links can help them find the information they seek.  They can also support the hierarchy of your content.

For example, on a web page about antique cars, you might have an internal link to your page about Model T’s.  And on the Model T page you might include a link to a page about Model T engines.  You are helping the visitor move from general information to more specific, if he or she desires.  And Google recognizes the value in that strategy.

On a personal note, whenever I create a new blog post for my copywriting website, I always link to it from one or two of my existing website pages. These internal links help Google to more quickly find and rank the new post.

internal and external links

A quality web page should have both internal and external links.

External Links – Linking to copy external to your website might seem like a bad idea.  After all, you’ve worked hard to get visitors to your website. You don’t now want to direct them away from your site. They may not return!

However, using external links can help with search engine optimization. By finding pages on other websites that relate to your topic and could be a useful resource for your visitors, you’re improving the user experience. Google gets that.

While you probably wouldn’t want to link out to a competitor’s website, you might be able to offer other informational resources such as government, educational or nonprofit organizations’ websites. And you can quote authorities in the industry and include a courtesy link to their web page where you found the statement you used.

Get More Links

Links, especially inbound links, have been called the “currency” of the internet.  To better your chances of ranking high on search engines, look for opportunities to become link-rich.

Need help?  Look to a professional SEO copywriter who can help you create the right content and obtain the right links for making your website a high-traffic, lead-generating machine!

Contact Susan Greene

Need help with SEO or creating web content?  Choose a professional copywriter who knows SEO.

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Wow! Sounds great! I’d call that a wrap. Thank you so much for bearing with me. This was well worth the effort. Really sends the message home – POW!

Corey Hooper
Creators Bounty
Lighthouse Point, Florida

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