Do Backlinks Really Work: Here is the Truth About Backlinks

A backlink is a link to one web resource from some other web resource. A website or a web page can be a web resource. They are also known by the names ‘inbound links’,’ incoming links’, or ‘one-way links.

For example, the below screenshot shows a link from LeadGen to our website.


Backlinks are one of the top three search ranking factors for Google. As per Google’s original PageRank algorithm, PageRank is used to rank web pages in Google’s search engine results and is a method of measuring the importance of website pages.

According to Google,

PageRank functions by summing up the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive higher links from other websites.

Page rank citation

Although Google has made thousands of changes to its original algorithm, backlinks still remain one of the most important ranking factors for Google.

Ranking Factors

Ahrefs case study:

Ahrefs case study

In 2020, Ahrefs did a case study of over a billion pages and studied how many pages get traffic from organic search and the reason why they get the traffic. In their study, they found that 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google and 5.29% of them get ten visits per month or less. And the number one reason for these results was that the pages didn’t have any backlinks. So if you want to outrank your competitors, you should start link building right away!

Actual Case Studies:

I started Marketing Lad in 2020 and we reached from DR 0 in 2020 to DR 53 in 2022.

Ahrefs dashboard

Another example where link building works relates to a client of mine, I started building links for them in 2020 and their DR was 22 at that time but since then, I worked with them to increase their referring domains (backlinks).

Ahrefs dashboard

When you look at the starting point of building links for them in 2020, their organic search has increased dramatically and is going up and up! If we look at their DR today, it’s 64 and that just shows you the power of backlinks.

Even though link building is mighty for increasing the DR for your website, improving keyword ranking on SERPs and increasing traffic towards your website, getting black hat backlinks doesn’t always work. They can harm your website and even lead to the permanent deletion of your website if you are buying links, using low-quality backlinks from forums, spammy blog comments, etc. So if you want to maintain the ranking of your website, you should avoid building links using blackhat link-building techniques.

Here are a few things you should consider:

Keyword Research:

As per a study done by Ahrefs, there are pages with tons of backlinks but zero traffic from Google as the page’s topic has no long-term traffic potential.

Keyword Research

These pages aren’t targeting a topic people are searching for on Google. Keyword research is very important as we should create content as on the topics that are searched by people. Also, the keywords with zero keyword difficulty are likely to drive less traffic. You should focus on high volume, low competition keywords.

However, implementing different conversion rate optimization techniques into action will improve your conversion rate and your search engine rankings. For example, Google Trends is an effective tool for analyzing people’s search interest for particular keywords across geographical locations, and you can automate this process with Google Trends API.

Meaningful Content:

As per Google, content is among the top three ranking factors. Creating the right content on low competition and high volume keywords is essential if you want backlinks on your website should work.


We have explained the importance of Backlinks for driving traffic to your website. We have given some case studies with examples, however, backlinks will not work overnight, it’s a gradual process and needs patience.

Check out how did we improve SEO KPIs for these brands, Click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Backlinks are useful as they represent a ‘vote of confidence from one site to another. High-quality backlinks improve your chances of ranking.

As per Google, backlinks significantly affect your website’s search visibility and ranking position. High-quality links are one of the top three search ranking factors.

Around 99.2% of websites had at least one external link while you can actually rank for low and medium-volume keywords without any backlinks.

According to Google’s John Mueller, the total number of backlinks a website has doesn’t matter to the search algorithm. A good link from a relevant website is far better than millions of low-quality links.

P.S: Read our SEO Question and Answer Blog here!

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