Back-links are an important part of your website’s overall ranking. While the methods used to build back-links has changed dramatically recently, they still play a key role in establishing your website as relevant, authoritative and useful in the eyes of leading search engines.

Back-links are built organically now through inbound marketing efforts. Visitors to websites will gradually build back-links to your website as they share useful content they find on your website with others. It may be in the form of a blog post on their own websites or through links that they share on their social networks.

Websites in the past bought their back-links and created them artificially. However, search engines have become more sophisticated and can now flag these attempts. Therefore, your best bet to increase your web traffic and enter into the viral marketing realm is to build your back-links gradually through a well-thought out inbound marketing strategy.

Why are back-links beneficial? Think of a back-link as a vote of confidence for your website is content. Search engines view back-links as a sign that others in your industry find your website to be of value. Over time, as you build back-links, you website will naturally appear to be more authoritative. This is a good thing. The more authoritative your website is viewed in the eyes of the search engines, the higher it will rank. You can vastly improve your website’s ranking if you put in the effort to nurture reputable back-links to your website through inbound marketing.

At the same time, back-links will increase traffic to your website. Each time that another website links to your website is content, it will direct its readers to your site. Therefore, back-links can also directly drive traffic to your website. If you get a back-link from a popular blog or website, it can bring your site into the viral marketing realm. This is not at all unheard of for small businesses and start-ups to be propelled from obscurity literally overnight when a social content site such as Reddit links to a start-ups website content.

Back-links can be easy to forget when looking at your overall marketing picture. This is understandable, because they are essentially unseen. However, they are still quite important in terms of search engine ranking. Think of your inbound marketing efforts as building a CV for your website. Back-links are your website’s references. They give your website a vote of confidence and let the search engines know that you are producing content that other people find valuable.

With that explosion of popularity in terms of social media, you might not think back-links are as important, but talk to any website owner who’s been around a while and you’ll see that establishing credible back-links can mean the difference between showing up in the search engines and falling into obscurity on the Internet. In closing, do not forget that you want to grow your back-links organically and over the long term. Beware of any company that says that they can build hundreds of back-links overnight. These type back-links can actually hurt your search engine ranking.