A backlink is any kind of external link on a website. It doesn’t matter if it’s a footer link, a blog comment link, or even an image link, if site A links to site B in any way, shape, or form, that’s a backlink.

There are many aspects to a well-rounded SEO campaign. But without a doubt, the most influential factor that determines if a website is going to rank is backlinks.

What Are Backlinks: A Definition

A backlink is an external link. An external link is a link that points to a different website, opposite to an internal link that links to a different page on the same website.

The reason that backlinks are so important is because Google counts backlinks almost like “Votes”. All links pass a quasi-fictional metric called “Link Juice”. The more people that “Vote” for your website, the more Link Juice it gets.

The more Link Juice a site gets, the higher it ranks in Googles search engine.

In reality, it’s much more complicated than that, but this should give you a rough idea of why backlinks matter.

Now, if you have ever done any research at all on backlinks, you will have undoubtedly come across people talking about the two main types. “DoFollow” and “NoFollow”, now pay attention – the difference between them is very important.

Different Types Of Backlinks

What DoFollow means is that a backlink is passing link juice. By default, every backlink is Do Follow, and in the early days of the Internet, all backlinks were Do Follow backlinks.

When SEOs first discovered the relationship between links and rankings the Internet was awash with spam. Thousands of websites were spamming their links everywhere they could to get as many links as possible.

By giving links real world value Google had inadvertently unleashed a tsunami of spam on the internet – things got pretty ugly pretty quickly (mainly because all the spamming used to work).

People were getting huge amounts of link juice to their websites from link spam and they were making huge amounts of money doing it too.

Google recognized the emerging new trend of people abusing their linking system and probably felt slightly responsible for it. In 2005 they designed a method to try and stop the spam.

The “NoFollow” tag.

When a link is marked with a NoFollow tag, it is a way for a webmaster to say to Google “I don’t vouch for this link”. When Google detects a link with the tag, it no longer passes any Link Juice – making it less valuable to an SEO.