What are inbound links?

What are inbound links and why do they matter?

In SEO, understanding the various types of links is one step forward in your website optimization. In fact, for your content to rank, it needs links. In this piece, we tell you more about the various types of links, and why they are essential, with a focus on inbound links.

Types of links

Inbound links

Inbound links are simply links from other websites to your website. They are also known as backlinks and must be clickable to be considered as a backlink by search engines. 

An inbound link has two parts: 

  • The link to your page 
  • The anchor text, or the text that is clickable

Outbound links 

These are links from your website to other specific websites. They are meant to take you elsewhere and help you add more value to your content.   

Anchor texts which are used to describe a link are very crucial when it comes to outbound links as they give users a sneak peek of what the link, they are being pointed to is all about. It is crucial you link to authoritative content. So, take note of that when linking. The most important thing to do is to make sure that content is, high-value, high-quality, credible, relevant, and trustworthy. 

It is advisable to avoid bad practices when linking. Here are some bad practices to avoid:

  • Links with optimized anchor text in press releases or articles circulated on other sites. See the example below. The bolded texts are being linked to the site

There are many coffee makers out there. If you wake up in the morning, you will have to choose the best way to make coffee. You might want to check out a French Press coffee maker or a drip coffee maker

  • Keyword-rich, low-quality or hidden links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Forum comments that contain optimized links in the signature or post. See the example below:

Thank you, that was a great article! 

lawrence's plumbing, plumbing services, plumbing in Texas (Link to each key phrase)

  • Widely circulated links in the footers or templates of various websites

Internal links 

An internal link is any link from one page on your site to another page on your website. You use them within your website to link to other pages, content, or sections. They come in handy in helping users find and interact with various content on your website, including old content that is relevant to the more recent content.

Additionally, they help search engines to find content on your website and to understand the reason for its existence. Keep in mind that search engines use links to navigate, crawl, index, and rank your website. They also help search engines to identify the canonical pages hence preventing content on your page from competing among itself.

Why are inbounds link important?


Higher rank in search engine results

Backlinks help improve the ranking of your web pages. You need to have some high-quality backlinks for Google to see you as authoritative. By high-quality backlinks, we mean:

  • They come from authoritative, trustworthy, and credible websites. These are sites that contain trusted content such as CNN.
  • They use anchor text. A good example is a link from CNN that used your company name as an anchor text and links to your homepage. When the anchor text (your company name) is clicked, it redirects to your website. 
  • They are diverse. They are coming from a number of sources. For example, if your site's content revolves around personal fitness, the links would be from recipe sites, diet sites, and fitness websites.

Pro tips!

The number of backlinks counts a lot, so it is good to make sure you have a reasonable number. The best way to determine the number of inbounds that you need is by analyzing the number of backlinks your rivals have. For example, if they have 6, you can have at least 8.

Backlinks from websites that have been in existence for a while have more authority. Such sites will pass their authority to your website hence boosting your website authority and credibility. 

Increased brand awareness

As we mentioned earlier, links from old, authoritative, credible, and trustworthy website Pass their authority to your site. This not only boosts the authority and credibility of your website but also boosts the awareness of your brand.

Increased traffic 

The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website is likely to rank higher in search results. This can boost your traffic to your website, which can lead to higher conversions and increased sales. Is that not something you really want?

Creates a chance for business relationships

When trustworthy and credible websites link to you, you have a chance to reach out to them and forge a business relationship that may pay off in the future. For example, such a relationship may lead to customer referrals. 

How to get backlinks

Pick your keywords wisely

Choosing the right keywords is very crucial, and we recommend you do proper research before you start crafting your content. The right keywords give you the flexibility to create great content. If you can unearth what people are looking for when it comes to links, the better as you will be able to leverage the right keywords. 

Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you search for keywords to create great content around.

Create great content 

Great content is content that is useful, credible, relevant, and meets users' intent. In other words, this is content that goes the extra mile by including figures and facts to offer solid answers or solutions to satisfy user intent. With such content, it will be easier for review sites to link you because your content is relevant to their users too. 

Julian Goldie has created a nice video about how to get more inbound links.

Make your content visually appealing

No one enjoys reading endless blocks of text. We are certain you also don't like reading such text. Adding visual appeals to your content not only makes it engaging but also give your users a reason to crave for more. You can make your content more visually appealing by:

  • Adding infographics
  • Using images and videos
  • Using bullets and lists appropriately 
  • Using subtitles and different headers
  • Using contrast in font size or color

Writing shorter paragraphs and more.

When you go above and beyond to make your content more visually appealing, you make linking to you a worthwhile risk. Keep in mind that sites that want to link to you are also interested in excellent user experience. By writing short paragraphs, you make sure their readers get the best user experience.

Contact associate industries

This includes professional associations in your industry, industry expert websites, manufacturers of products you sell, and so on. Persuade them to link their website to yours. If you have a good relationship with them, chances are, they will accept to link back to you.

Craft longer text content

By writing longer texts, you get an opportunity to expound on everything. This definitely helps add value to your content making it more relevant to others looking to link to a website. The recommended length of a good blog post is at least 1705 words.

Create case studies about your most notable clients

Lure your customers to link to your website by making them look good in case studies about their business. It is simple to do this. Just choose the best brands that have seen the best results, are enthusiastic, and know your product or service well. This also means asking the right questions and laying out the case study in an attractive, comprehensive way.

Make your website's UI more attractive

It is easier for other websites to link to you if your website UI is very attractive. Just pick the right theme, templates, and layouts plus make your content more visually appealing, and you will have nailed it. You can even hire a talented web developer to improve your website outlook.

Just remember not to sacrifice your website speed for attractiveness as that will hurt your ranking. For the best results, find a perfect balance between the two (attractiveness and speed).

Promote your content

Promoting your content can go a long way in helping people know the existence of your site. That way, it becomes a breeze for them to link to you. Don't assume people know your website exists. Commit yourself to spreading the word. Here is how you can achieve this:

  • Work with influencers. Collaborate with influencers willing to support you. 
  • Mention people. For example, quote them and use their tweets as illustrations. 
  • Contests and giveaways. For example, give away free eBooks.
  • Post on social media and discussion forums where your target audience and influencers are.
  • Find offline opportunities to speak at events. These should be events or meetups that are relevant to your industry. Make sure to position yourself as an expert in your industry. 

Guest posting

Identify relevant websites where you can create and publish content that links back to you. When guest posting, you may want to be cautious to avoid violating Google's guidelines on link schemes. Here are some of the things we recommend you avoid:

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your website in your articles
  • Having the articles published across different websites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
  • Using article writers that aren't knowledgeable about the topics they are writing on
  • Using the same content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own website (in which case use of rel=" canonical", in addition to rel="nofollow", is advised).

Social media

There are many ways to link back to your website via social media. For example, do an expert interview through Facebook live. 

Expert interviews

For example, offer to be interviewed on an industry-related website as an expert. This way, linking back to your website will be a breeze.  

Administer surveys

If you can promise to share your data after conducting surveys with high authoritative websites, there is a high possibility they will do some inbound linking and promotion for you to make sure you have a sizable sample size.

Conduct free webinars, and post archived copies online

Do you have informative copies sitting somewhere? Why not leverage them to get more and more backlinks. For example, turn your PowerPoint presentation slides into a SlideShare presentation, and embed it into a blog post or webinar's landing page so people can download them when signing up for your free webinars. 

Do some outreach when you have a great piece of content or great news

Consider getting published in industry publications and attracting the attention of the press when you have something big to share. For example, when you have some compelling findings to share. Doing this can help you build your brand, improve your credibility, increase your visible expertise, and importantly, get backlinks from authoritative sources.

Ask for reviews.

By asking for reviews, you will get not only great feedback but also receive inbound links. So don't hesitate to ask users of your products and services, industry experts or analysts to review your products, services or new features you're rolling out.