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Basics of Backlinks and How They Can Affect Your Google Ranking [Case Study]

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I know that most of the beginners are curious about to know what are backlinks in SEO and how they can affect the blog traffic. In today’s article, I will tell you the basics of backlinks.

But I ask you one question, is it a good idea to generate backlinks to your website, What do you think?.

I believe that it often doesn’t work. There is a big reason behind it that I will explain to you after the case study.

Before I dive you deeper let me tell you what are backlinks?

What are backlinks in SEO?

These are the hyperlinks which link back to your website.

In other words,” when someone refers your URL to his/her article as a reference then that hyperlink is known as a backlink to your page .

This URL helps to generate referral traffic on your website and also increase your domain authority.

Since 2013, backlinks have become a ranking factor in Google most of the people started spammy activities; it has become a sombre topic for Google.

That’s why Google has started penalising website which contains spammy or low-quality backlinks.

So make sure, Instead of generating paid & low-quality backlinks prepare some excellent quality backlinks so that your site is never be punished.

That’s why it is important to learn the basics of Backlinks. But if you are looking for the advanced guide, you may switch to another blog or Check out my guide. You can subscribe to my blog to get updates in your email inbox.

Now let’s head over to next heading.

Types of Backlinks

There are two types of backlinks.

  • Nofollow backlinks
  • Dofollow backlinks

Nofollow backlinks

A Nofollow backlink is a link that does not add any value to your page but only generates referral traffic on your site.

Ex: – Your Facebook’s published post does not assign any link juice to your URL because there is the Nofollow tag which instructs the robot that does not pass link juice to the corresponding URL.

Nofollow syntax  – <a href=”Page-link” rel=”Nofollow”>page-link</a>

Dofollow backlinks

A Dofollow backlink is a link that adds value to your website and helps to increase your page authority, domain authority and traffic.

A high-quality backlink can increase Google ranking and also optimise the SEO score. So you can say that a high-quality Dofollow link is more potent than the Nofollow link.

Dofollow syntax –  <a href=”your page-link”>page-link</a>

Other kinds of backlinks

#1. Paid backlinks

Paid backlinks are not good for the health of a website. Because these links are irrelevant to the topic and look spammy so if Google detects these kinds of irrelevant backlinks on your site then it may penalise your site.

#2. Reciprocal backlinks

Most of the bloggers start making backlinks by using backlink exchanger network which is also known as the reciprocal link program. It is a quick process to earn backlinks and drive traffic. But this method is very harmful and can ruin your website. So never join these kinds of programmes.

Spammy backlinks

These are those links that are unnecessary and irrelevant to the website. These links affect the health of your site.

Understand the effect of backlinks on Google ranking 

Recently, I have prepared a case study to compare the impact of backlinks on the site’s health. So let’s move on to the topic.

I had taken the keyword of ‘SEO‘ and searched almost 5000 results to draw a curve between backlinks v/s Google ranking position.

From the case study, I found terrific results and also understood the importance of backlinks.

The following data used to plot the variation cure. I retrieved this data from ‘backlink watch’ backlink checker tool.

Now let’s understand what I did.

By using backlink watch tool, I calculated the number of backlinks for each URL (more than 5000 URLs). These URLs were ranked for the same keyword & phrase.

After that, I found that if a URL has zero backlinks, then that URL can’t rank in top 10 position.

It doesn’t mean that URL never pop up in top 10 rankings without backlinks. It can take the prime position for a different query related to the keyword.

(*All the results that I have listed here are generated based on a single keyword ‘SEO’  )


         URL  Number of backlinks Google position 
1. 777 1p4 17785 1p1
3.                   40699 1p3
4.  2107 1p6
5.  1000 1p5
* 168 1P5
6. 1000 1p7
* 31992 1p7
* 0 1P8
7.    33706 1p9
8. 130 1p10
* 0 2P1
* 0 2P2


34 2p3
* 0 2P3 0 2P4
* 0 2p6
10.  41 2p7
* 0 2P7
11. 27 2P10
12.  0    2p1
13.  44    2p2
14.  0 2p3


0 2P4


16 2P5
17.  118  2P6


677 2P7
19. 13 2P9
20. 0  3P4
21. 29  3P7
22. 0 4P1
23. 0 4P6
24. 0 4P8
25. 0 4p9
26. 0 4P10
27.  0 5p10
28. 0 6P5


0 6p10
30. 0 7p1 0 7p8
32. 202 1P2


(Here 1p1 means first-page first position similarly 1p2 means first-page 2nd position and so on. Same thing can be apply for 2p1 to 2p10 &  also applicable for 3p4 & 3p7. 4,5 & 6 means 4th, 5th and 6th page of Google respectively)

The above graph tells the following things

  • Top 10 results carry a high amount of backlinks.
  • It is not necessary that the top URL contains maximum backlinks.
  • You can see a dramatic change in the number of backlinks on the first page of Google.
  • In the second page, an average 500% reduction in backlinks. (In the case of my study)
  • Securing the position within first & second-page is hard.
  • From the above analysis, one can say that backlink is also a ranking factor.

General curve 


From here, you can understand that Instead of Backlinks Google also cares about LSI keywords, long-tail keywords and even user search intent because I found that some of the URLs ranked on the search page without any keyword. So never underestimate the power of words, phrases and synonyms.

There are two questions that you may ask

#1. Is it safe to generate Nofollow backlinks only for website traffic but not for SEO?.

As I have mentioned above that Nofollow link building does not affect the health of the website so you can generate these links to get traffic. So it is safe to give it a try.

#2. Although, I publish rich content then Why doesn’t my article ranking on Google?.

The very first reason behind it that you are not practising any keyword research, LSI keyword research & SEO and the second one is that you do not accumulate quality backlinks for your web page.

However, there are many sites where you notice that the content is not more productive than your content but besides of it those all are ranked well in Google. Why does it happen?.

It happens because of backlinks, domain authority, page authority and also SEO score. These terms are related to each other and also considered as a ranking factor.

So, If you are in the same situation, then you need to optimise these terms to dominate your competitor’s page.

From here you can understand that the backlinks add more value to your page. So, never forget to create natural backlinks.

Benefits of high-quality natural backlinks

  • Increase Traffic
  • Domain authority
  • Page authority
  • Increase trustworthiness
  • Increase page rank
  • Increase user engagement

Disadvantages of Spammy or low-quality backlinks

  • Reduce website traffic
  • Reduce domain authority & page authority
  • Increase the chances of penalisation
  • Temporary traffic increment.

Finally, I want to tell you why backlinks do not work every time.

Sometimes it happens because of irrelevant backlinks which may increase traffic on a temporary basis. But after a while, these links do not play any role. I hope you would understand.

Final thoughts

I hope I have covered all the basics of backlinks. Over time I will update this post to give the best information. So don’t bother about the rest I will take care of that.

The backlink is the most beneficial because an article with highly rich content but having 0 backings can easily be dominated by another material having some backlinks.

If you like this post, please do share on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.


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Picture of Shailesh Shakya
Shailesh Shakya

I'm a Professional blogger, Pinterest Influencer, and Affiliate Marketer. I've been blogging since 2017 and helping over 20,000 Readers with blogging, make money online and other similar kinds of stuff. Find me on Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter!

5 thoughts on “What are Backlinks and How They Can Affect Your Google Ranking [Case Study]”

  1. SEO has two parts, On-Page and Off-Page. First revolves around telling who we are, and the second is about establishing authority around what we say about ourselves. That’s where backlinks coming from other domains to our website are a proof of our authenticity in the field we belonging to.

  2. Dear aron

    this is very interesting and informative topic that you have discuss in this article with graphs..
    Keep it up..

    Thanks and Regards
    Mauryaa Bhalerao

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