How Could Backlinks Boost Your Website Traffic?

Quality beats quantity when it comes to inbound links.
If you’ve ever built a website you may have heard of the term backlinksand how they are important for Google rankings. Many of us have also heard that the misuse of backlinks can have a catastrophic effect on website rankings. So what exactly are backlinks and how do we use them correctly?
A backlink is a hyperlink that leads from an external website to your site; you can see it as a sort of reference; a citation on another website. This in turn gives your site credibility (as they are in effect quoting you) and value. For Google, this is a sign that your website is seen as valuable by other sites, hence it helps in your overall rankings. But beware: Google nowadays scrutinizes the backlinks and if it finds that they are not genuine or of relevance, they will penalize your website and your rankings will suffer severely.
So how can you use backlinks in the right way?
Up until a few years ago, many websites built their search engine optimization (SEO) strategies on the power of backlinks. The more links were pointing back to their site, the higher Google ranked them in searches. Many sites tried to trick the search engines into ranking them higher by buying backlinks from any type of website without any care for relevance, content or quality. So for example, you would often find pornographic sites linking back to a serious IT business site. At that point Googles algorithm didnt distinguish the relevance or quality of the backlink, and these sites received a boost.
In 2012 Google introduced the Penguin update to its algorithm, which created havoc amongst websites which based their SEO strategy on backlinks. The Penguin update evaluated the backlinks to a website and penalized its ranking if it found the backlinks to be spamming the search results. Websites had to undergo the tedious process of removing bad backlinks to regain any hope of being ranked favorably by Google. This really marked a big change in SEO strategies.
How do you create valuable backlinks?
A backlink should link from a relevant industry website that mentions your service or product on their site, driving website traffic to the relevant page on your site. Adding your homepage doesnt hurt either. The bigger and more respected the referring website is by Google, the higher the quality of the backlink. And yes, one great quality backlink is worth more than 10 weak backlinks.
Lets look at an example: you have a website selling local handmade scented candles. They are rustic and beautiful, and can be bought exclusively from your online shop. A great backlink would come from an interiors magazine which has written a feature on you and your candles. The content in the magazine would be high quality and automatically relevant as it is genuinely writing about your business. The bigger and better ranked this magazine is, the more Google will view this backlink as quality.
Once you have a set of backlinks to your website, what do they actually do? Well, they contribute to your website being found, as Googles bots will crawl from the referring website along the backlink to your site. The backlinks create passages from Google-indexed sites to yours, which is especially valuable if your site is new. Needless to say, the more senior and higher ranked the referring website is, the better your chances of bots discovering yours.
The other important function of backlinks is to get referral traffic on your website. When people read the article about your handmade candles and exclusive online shop, they will click on the link so they can browse your products, find out more about your business and hopefully make a purchase. If your referral site has a high traffic volume, your chances of receiving a good percentage of that are excellent.
To summarize, as with most things in life quality beats quantity hands down. It is of greater advantage to slowly but surely build up reputable backlinks which have value, and will not only improve your rankings but will also bring you quality traffic.
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