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Updated on December 4, 2016
Links! Photo by Javier Gonzalez.
Links! Photo by Javier Gonzalez.

The short story

A backlink (also known as 'incoming links' or 'inbound links') is a link on a webpage, one you may own or usually somewhere else, that links to your target webpage or website.

To contextualize it: at hubpages a backlink is an incoming link to your hub. A link at another site, that leads to your hub.

In terms of the search engine optimization (SEO), the more backlinks you have to your hub (or webpage or website) the more popular it is (and therefore important). Some search engines use the number of backlinks as a part of their ranking algorithm.

Organic Vs Self Promotion

An important factor for most search engines to determine a website's search engine ranking is the number of backlinks that the website has.

These backlinks can come about either naturally or on purpose. To do so naturally means that other sites: blogs, cool sites, forums, will have people posting a link to your site. Usually because the information is useful or unique. This of course requires no effort on your part.

The other obvious upside (apart from the fact that you haven't spent any time doing it) is that word of mouth can be viral (if one person tells two people, and those people tell two people, and so on, it profilerates quickly) and it's also honest. It's not you talking up your own work, it's someone else vouching for you.

When it comes to self-promotion, caution should be followed when creating backlinks on purpose. As the uninitiated or unknowing may invariably SPAM forums, link lists, guestbooks, social bookmarking sites and other online avenues. This could lead to bannings, backlash and also gaining a bad reputation.

Some sites are more highly valued than others. Google has what is called PageRank. It's separate to Googles ranking of webpages on their Search Engine.

PageRank is Google's assessment of the importance of the page you're viewing. You can see the PageRank display if  you install the Google Toolbar.

The higher the ranking, the more authoritative the site. Getting a PageRank (or PR) of 1 and 2 is easy to come by. 3 and 4 slightly harder, but for a page to get 5, 6 or 7 they must be doing something right. 8 or higher and it's serious business. If you want to find out more about PageRank then the Wiki article is a good place to start. A lot of people have their own theories and opinions. No doubt you'll come up with your own, but at least get a good understanding on the background and basics before you start speculating.

In addition to social bookmarking sites and other means of acquiring a quick backlink to your hub, also consider other article publishing sites. It will of course take longer to write a whole article rather than just a blurb, but it'll give plenty for Search Engines to consider. Also if it's at another community based site you have a chance of dipping into a fresh stream of traffic.

If all you're after is the SEO effect then your articles links being nofollow will be of importance to you, but if the article itself can 1) earn you money and 2) get real people clicking through, then 2 outta 3 ain't bad.

Don't, whatever you don't, just republish your existing article and throw in a link to the very same article. It won't be doing your visitor any favors. They have, after all, just read the article. Why would they want to click through and see the exact same thing? So I often write an article dealing with a different aspect. Or for instance, If I want have a hub on Julius Caesar, I publish an article on his heir Augustus somewhere else, and when Julius Caesar is mentioned in the article I can highlight his name, and link through to the hub.

I know as a web surfer that's what I like to see. An educational ride that will increase my knowledge. Be good to your audience. They're the ones that might end up clicking on the contextual ads or buy a product. And that's why you're doing this whole backlinking thing anyway.

How Can I Increase My Backlinks?

We've mentioned a few ways, here I'll list them. No doubt there are more, if you've got an idea of one or a favorite method, share it with the rest of us in the Comments below.

  • Starting your own Blog
  • Publish other Articles
  • Leave an honest and heartfelt comment on a persons Guestbook. But avoid posting any links in the comment, rely only on the one that is requested along with your name and email address.

And remember...

Avoid spamming.

What backlinking methods, tactics or techniques have you developed?

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    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 

      6 years ago

      Useful and helpful hub on backlinking. This can be a very confusing topic but you managed to explain things well in an easy-to-understand manner. You even explained things about Google's PageRank, which can be another confusing topic. Backlinking can be a very hard thing to do. It would be great if we could just settle for organic backlinking. But, I suppose self-promotion is also necessary in backlinking?

    • Ronna Pennington profile image


      7 years ago from Arkansas

      Thank you! Great article for newbies!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      7 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      very useful, darkside. I'll be bookmarking this.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      7 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you for your information about backlinks, it was very helpful. I paid for some for my URL, and received lots of comments in a couple of days and then nothing more, so I don't think that was a good idea. They say, 'try anything once'. I guess some things work, but others don't.

    • greatstuff profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Very informative and useful for to all this. thanks

    • wanzulfikri profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for the good read on backlinking. I will try to apply all of it.

    • Ania L profile image

      Ania L 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very good tips, thanks! You gave me just one more idea - other article sites, I don't know why I haven't thought about it myself!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      7 years ago from North Texas

      Thanks for a good explanation on backlinks! They are still a bit of a mystery to me, but your article helped clarify some things. Voted you up and "useful."

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Welcome Glenn. Things are a little hectic at the moment with a big Google SERPs reshuffle, but hopefully it'll get sorted and we can all get back to, and continue to grow the success that many have reaped here at HubPages (after putting a big effort into sowing).

    • ma45frost profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I have been looking for this information. Thanks a lot,very informative!

    • Kenny Jay profile image

      Kenny Jay 

      8 years ago

      thanks for this hub. it was short but was very informative. :)

    • glorgeousmom profile image

      Glo L Bernadas 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you. You just added 'a feather in my cap' information-wise through your hub. Voted up.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Honestly, concentrate on the writing and publishing. Backlinking is something that can happen naturally. Especially if you're not sure about it.

    • mslizzee profile image


      8 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      I have only been hubbing for about a month. I feel exhausted by it even though I've only written 50 hubs. I'm getting absolutely nowhere as far as earning money. I don't understand the back linking at all. What is the URL for a hub? Do you copy your entire hub address for that article. I need serious help.

    • nell79 profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      I really enjoyed reading this and found it easy to understand. I've been writing online for about two years but there's still so much I don't know or understand. Backlinking is definitely a weak area of knowledge for me. Thank you for helping to make it more clear :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      this is very helpful mate. and i am thankful for that

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      At last an article about backlinking that I actually understand! Thanks so much I have been frying my brain trying to understand the principles of backlinking!

    • Mizz Eb. profile image

      Mizz Eb. 

      8 years ago from UK

      You have a very natural way of breaking things down. Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very very well written. Easy to understand and hard work really can make one implement the ideas rightfully, right.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Yes, the Social Bookmarking Sites and Starting your own Blog lenses are mine.

    • PierrePierre profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi, darkside. Are these lenses yours?

    • cobras profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you. Very useful and well written. As a stickler for details, I really appreciate YOUR attention to detail[sentence structure, grammar...].

    • Neverletitgo profile image

      Abdinasir Aden 

      8 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      This hub is so nice

    • ReggieD06 profile image


      8 years ago


      Another nice hub. Thanks for the info.

    • skye2day profile image


      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Darkside, I appreciate big times the wealth of information you have shared. Thank You so much. I learned a great deal. i like the tip about Goggles PageRank. I am on that one. Easy to follow information. This is my kind of learning. I am grateful I came over for a read. I have bookmarked and ranked up. Come over for a visit when you have a minute.

      Many Blessings, Darkside (-:

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      9 years ago

      Awesome job, probably one of the best explained and easiest to follow hubs on back linking that I have read yet. Thanks so much for this valuable information.

      Greatly appreciated, Rated Up


    • Ask Jan profile image

      Ask Jan 

      9 years ago from

      This is just the information I need-there is so much information in this article I will read it again and again.

      Thank You

    • Gary A Bowles profile image

      Gary A Bowles 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles Area

      Thanks for the information. Highly valuable. Keep up the good no, great work...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Really a great hub, for a neubie like me. A very helpful and infomative also. Keep writing.

    • kea profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info! I've been reading a lot about backlinking recently and you've explained it very well here. Cheers!

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      As far as I understand what a linkwheel is, it's just a fancy new name for one-way linking, or creating a daisy chain of links.

    • afunguy24 profile image


      9 years ago from Swansea, IL

      I heard that linkwheels can get you to the top of SERP'S

    • Lamme profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for the great hub! I've added you as a friend on facebook and will be following you here :)

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Paid backlinking services? I'd recommend DIY or if you are really too busy creating content to be hitting social bookmarking sites, pay someone you know, who knows how it works, to do it. But don't link every single hub/article from every single service. Mix it up. Don't be predictable.

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 

      9 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks for the thorough info, Darkside. Am rating this hub and bookmarking it. So paid backlinking services are a waste of time? Have I got that right?

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      9 years ago

      Nice explanation of backlinking for the newbs.

    • ajcor profile image


      9 years ago from NSW. Australia

      Thanks for this darkside - really helpful...cheers.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Thanks again for a very concise to the point hub. As always your hubs are very helpful even to oldies like me after being here for ages. I am still learning from you.

    • DevinG profile image


      9 years ago from Redlands

      Thanks, I will take this advice to heart! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great advice thanks!

    • HealthyHanna profile image


      9 years ago from Utah

      This is a place I need help on also. Thanks for the guidance. The web is getting more and more crowded every day, it is important to know how to navigate the jungle.

    • fishtiger58 profile image


      9 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Great information, I have also recently heard about backlink farms, ( I think that's the term ) those are a no no. Thanks for a really informative hub. Great read,easy to follow.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      9 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Some great informstion on backlinking here. Sure appreciate it! Backlinks definitely work, having a Blog or two really makes a difference!

    • theirishobserver. profile image


      9 years ago from Ireland

      Very informative and detailed Hub, just getting used to all this stuff, thanks for taking the time to do his for wishes Irish

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for an awesome hub on backlinking. Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • Mitch King profile image

      Mitch King 

      9 years ago from Wilsoville, OR, USA

      Thanks for the information on backlinking. I know I need to get more if I want to achieve the goals I have set.

    • abinavis profile image


      9 years ago from Bat Island

      Thanks for enlightening me about backlinks besides the similar hub also telling this technique. Good job dude.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Informative and well written. As a novice who finds the whole concept of backlinking and traffic very confusing, and believe me I have read many articles on the subject, this was the easiest to understand and interesting to read. I will read any future articles you write on technical subjects as you have a knack for making it simple and clear!


    • stephensaldana profile image


      9 years ago from Chicago

      Extraordinary hub!!!! It can be regarded as one of the most concise hub, I have ever come across. The information regarding back link is immensely fruitful. If your content is of good quality then it is very much possible that you will get huge internet traffic.

    • conet profile image


      9 years ago from PADANG

      THANKS FRIEND..i AM NEWBIZ HERE i NEED LEARN WITH YOU..I I hope you can tell me what can I do in hubpage

    • RosWebbART profile image

      Ros Webb 

      9 years ago from Ireland

      Great info. Thanks.

    • SpiffyD profile image


      9 years ago from The Caribbean

      It's nice to have the ethical use of backlinking highlighted. Good hub!

    • Sterling Sage profile image

      Sterling Sage 

      9 years ago from California

      Thanks, Darkside! Good info here.

    • dusanotes profile image


      9 years ago from Windermere, FL

      I'll bookmark this, darkside. This was exceptional. Don White

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 

      9 years ago

      If you check any of your hubs in yahoo site explorer-, you can see every back link to your page. I have about 2600 for one page that has been up three months! Most hubs have a few hundred.

      None of those links come from my efforts. The vast majority are from hubpages itself but they seem to do the trick keeping hubs well up the SERPs.

      To me, the point of using Hubpages is you don't need to waste time on off page SEO. Write a few ezine articles for extra traffic but forget about finding do-follow blogs etc. Save that for your own sites.

      Also page rank is largely discounted as unimportant these days by many pro SEO writers. Backlinks matter but don't sweat that little number.

    • bengriston profile image


      9 years ago

      It is time consuming to create your own backlinks. But if you can come up with some good content that others want to refer to the linkbait is so much easier.

    • a2z Support profile image

      a2z Support 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I remember joining your fan club a while back.. but haven't seen many hubs from you lately; I enjoyed reading this one, very articulate and useful info.

      I wanted to add something I noticed with backlinking and how effective it can be.

      Last October, I created 2 articles on the same topic and posted one on hubpages and the other squidoo. It was a new topic so I was able to monopolize the keyword.

      For the hub, I have a couple of backlinks and with 8,000 total pageviews, the hub has a page rank of 2.

      For the lens, some people linked to me from blogs and forums (natural backlinking like you said),so I have several backlinks and with 9,000 page views, it has a pagerank of 5.

      Although they both rank on google's first page, the squidoo lens has been holding the first spot for over 2 months, while the hub has been slowly rising and is now sitting at #5.

      Key point that I learned is, while backlinks DO make a difference, the quality of the backlinks determines if its a good or bad difference.

      I've seen pages with several thousand backlinks but a pagerank of 0. Obviously they were paid backlinks, some trade scheme or some sort of spam method of backlinking was used.

    • Springboard profile image


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      There's quite a few blog sites or such that let you leave a comment and put your link in, so I've been looking for relevant topics to read up on, comment on, and use an appropriate link back to a particular hub on that topic. I don't like sites that don't let you leave a link in the comment, because if someone likes what you say they can't find you anywhere else, and likewise, you can't find the other commenters either.

      By the way, are these backlinks treated any differently?

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      it was great article for me. Thanks for share your knowledge with us. I'll learn more about this.

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      This has been very helpful! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      9 years ago

      Very good information on links, etc.

    • LeonJane profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the great advice here darkside, I got my first backlink just last week, that someone had listed in an external forum. I noticed this because of the large spike in traffic for a few days and checked statistics in hubpages to see what sites people were coming from. Hopefully google notices this? Anyway thanks for the advice, especially on spamming.

    • shazwellyn profile image


      9 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi DS... Nice to see another little gem! Nicely written and easily understood!

      Shaz x

    • nadiaazhar profile image


      9 years ago from kuwait

      great hub, very informative,thanks for sharing.

      best regards,nadia

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Great info and good suggestions.

    • hypnodude profile image


      9 years ago from Italy

      Thanks for your kind answer darkside.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      hypnodude, pinging through multiple sites shouldn't be a problem. thefluffanutta has a site set up for Squidoo ( that allows something like two dozen pings to be sent out when a lens has been published or updated.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      RK, I figured that seeing that you'd been here 17 months and you're not selling snake oil then fanning you would be well within my stringent criteria :D I was surprised to learn that I am in fewer fan clubs than Relache!

    • hypnodude profile image


      9 years ago from Italy

      I knew it was worth following you. Very good article, but I have a question: is it possible to know if we are spamming somewhere? I mean as an example if I use two ping services without knowing where they send pings can it be spamming if they sent them to the same place?

      Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Oops... I didnt mean to post that from my alter-ego. Its about time you became my fan by the way! Whats that, 21 fanclubs now? lol.

      I know that this isnt a definitive guide, but its a good introduction to backlinking as a basic concept, which is what many people seem to require before understanding some of my hubs. So I will link to it, maybe link to a couple more hubs too, just so that people can gain as good a possible understanding of the principles. That was my intention when publishing those hubs, the fact that 2 of them actually earn me good money was completely accidental! It seems that lots of internal activity alerts the search engines, who subsequently ranked them pretty generously.

      Your completely right about the logo, I hope that a few more of the, well lets say 'prominent' hubbers speak out. Although of course, they are equally entitled to support the changes.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      This is only one part of the whole backlinking story. I may expand a bit, but others have their own unique insights and I hope no one relies just on this hub to learn about backlinking.

      The loss of the arrow logo is a huge shame. This new logo is so very blah. The last one, the wordmark, was strong and bold. And the green, red and blue arrows was a very powerful visual graphic. It was a big step up from the previous cog, and losing it is two steps back.

    • MrCartier profile image


      9 years ago

      Good job Darkside. I have lots of people asking about the basics of backlinking on my own hubs about getting dofollow backlinks, so I will insert a link to this into those hubs and tell people to learn this before they do anything.

      That pesky little logo hey? I think that getting rid of the green, blue and red image is a dangerous move..... Did you know that Google has had the same primary logo for 11 years? There is a good reason for that! I think that maybe hubpages should be letting him loose on themed logos, such as valentines day and Halloween, instead of these completely unnecessary rebrandings!

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I also recommend comments on Ezines :) fantastic job as usual DS! thank you. :)

    • insearchof truth profile image

      Josie Adams 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Best article I've seen on this yet, concise and easy to follow. Thanks for that.


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