People are more likely to trust websites that show up in the top search results of Google. That is one is one of the many reasons why it is crucial to work on SEO optimization. SEO can be somewhat tricky, and usually, SEO agencies put a major focus on your marketing and getting you to rank higher. But you should know what factors affect SEO to understand what to expect from your SEO agency. So, in this piece, we talk about two such factors; backlinks and citations.

All About Backlinks

Backlinks, also known as incoming links, play a tremendous role in determining your site’s ranking on the search engine result pages (SERPs). They are valuable because they indicate to the search engine that the site is getting endorsed by other websites, and they likely offer good quality content. Therefore pages with a high number of inbound links have greater chances of ranking on the first page.

If you have hired an SEO agency for your web marketing, they will probably use relevant networks and get your website linked to their pages. But when it comes to SEO compliant inbound links, besides numbers, there is a lot to take care of. Bad quality inbound links can adversely affect your website growth. So to better understand the intricacies of backlinks and how they work, let us look at it step-by-step.

Link concept showing different types of backlinks

What Are Backlinks?

In the most straightforward sense, a backlink is made when one website links to another. When surfing the internet, you have surely seen blogs or articles that refer you to other web pages for detailed information on a relevant topic. As an example, here’s a backlink to a blog post from SEMrush about how to get backlinks.

To Google and other search engines, backlinks from relevant and high quality websites are signals your content is great enough to get vouched for, and hence it prioritizes your site in the ranking.

Types of Backlinks

To Google, getting a paid backlink is illegal, and this negatively impacts your website. Hence when your SEO agency tries to get you inbound links from other sites, there are various ethical ways they should do it. Here are some of the main ones that are typically used to give you an idea.

Guest Blogging Backlinks

Considered one of the best and the easiest link-building strategies, guest blogging backlinks are when you write blogs for other websites in exchange for a backlink for your site. Many websites allow you to publish your write-ups on their blog pages, and so you can take this opportunity to get incoming links to your domain.

And in case you didn’t notice it already, this is a guest blog post written for Joshua Lyons Marketing. To learn more about their guest blogging requirements, you can check them here:

Editorial Backlinks

Editorial back-linking is when a site finds your content informative and includes it on their web page without you requesting it. It is the job of your SEO agency to make sure that the content put up on your page is top-notch and contains infographics, high-quality images, charts or other forms of media to make your content as engaging and valuable as possible. This will help increase the backlink-worthiness of your content.

Comment Backlinks

Posting comments on other people’s content relevant to your niche and including a link to your site is also one good way to increase your outreach. However, with comment backlinks, spamming should be avoided. Also, these types of backlinks are often considered no-follow backlinks, which aren’t the most valuable type of backlink to go after.

Acknowledgement Backlinks

When you collaborate with a brand and offer them a service or a sponsorship, you may get a mention on their website. Obtaining backlinks in this manner is also one good way to increase your site’s ranking. In fact, you may even consider offering some of your serves or products to non-profits you care about. You could do this in exchange for them linking to your website, and for a receipt of a charitable donation. Be sure to let your CPA know about this, so you can get the donation as a tax write off.

Press release displayed on a tabletFree Tool Backlinks

Free tool backlinks is simple. You offer a free tool to other websites and get high-quality backlinks in return. This free tool could be anything from a calculator or a free version of your premium services. Promotion and guest blogging could be employed to get a backlink from this strategy.

Press Release Backlinks

Press release backlinks are you garnering attention towards your site by deriving backlinks from press releases. Your SEO agency would suggest you get in contact with your local media outlets and make use of this excellent PR tactic.
These are some of the ways SEO agency uses their network and connections to get you high-quality backlinks.

Why Does the Quality of Backlinks Matter?

You might be wondering why we have been emphasizing the term “high quality” with backlinks. It is because the quality of backlinks matters tremendously. For a long time with SEO, all that mattered was the number of backlinks a page had. The greater the number, the higher the ranking.

This made it easy for people to manipulate the engine. Therefore, to ensure that the results delivered to the consumers are of good quality, search engine algorithms have developed a scale of factors to gauge the quality of backlinks.

Factors Determining  the Quality of Backlinks

Two primary factors separate good quality backlinks from the not-so-good ones.

Topical Relevance

Topical relevance is used by Google crawlers to judge the reliability and credibility of your backlinks. Google checks how relevant the linking site is to another based on things like keywords, content etc. This prevents people from linking their site to unrelated, random web pages. As a web page owner, ask your SEO agency to analyze the quality of your backlinks and get rid of the ones potentially harming your ranking.

Domain Authority

Among other things, domain authority calculates how many links to your page are from large, reputable websites. Getting referred through older, well-ranked publications is an indicator of credibility, and so this increases your chances of showing up in top results.

Toxic Backlinks

Toxic backlinks are low-quality backlinks. Google’s algorithm considers backlinks by irrelevant web pages or sites with low domain trust scores as spam. Your SEO agency should go through your incoming links and remove all the ones that could negatively affect your website’s credibility, for that can get you penalized, reducing the rank and worth of your site.
Read this other blog to know more about backlinks and the tools you can employ to obtain high-quality backlinks.

Now that we have discussed backlinks let us move to another important aspect of a website- citations.

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Citations are one of those factors which highly impact the local growth of your business. As per Google’s local search document, they are one of the top determinants of your website’s ranking. So let us dig into it.

Online DirectoriesWhat Are Citations?

Citations are other sites mentioning your business. Web pages that send accurate and relevant details regarding your company on their site, which gives Google an impression that your website is trustworthy. This means that your business becomes prominent and more easily shows up on top of local searches. Your SEO agency should have a good network and connections with other companies in the industry to help you with this.

Types of Citations

There are two basic types of citations:

Structured Citations

A structured citation is the one that perfectly inculcates in itself the business name, address, phone number, business description and maybe even some other microdata to help the search engines find your site. Your SEO agency should ensure all this information is optimized and shows up on relevant directories to ensure your business growth. The SEO agency might also look into getting the relevant keywords incorporated, which would benefit your business.

Unstructured Citations

Unstructured citations appear in many different forms, but in a nutshell, they are the ones that don’t include a lot of details of your business. It might consist of the name of your company, the operating city or an email address. Your SEO agency will check if all your social media have the essential details regarding your business. Citations are very much like inbound linking, and so the standards for a good quality apply here too.

Impact of Backlinks and Citations on SEO

Backlinks and citations play a huge role in deciding if you make it to a spot at the top of search engines like Google. Now that you understand how backlinks and citations work let us see how they impact SEO and what benefits your business can reap.

Improved Organic Ranking

Citations and backlinks involve keywords, relevant articles and valuable directory sites, which enhance the traffic and increase the organic ranking on the search engine.

Referral Traffic

By getting backlinks and citations from high-quality pages, their audience gets directed to your website. Because you host relevant content, these people might also become regular visitors to your site.

Link Juice Written on a CardLow Bounce Rates

Remember that the people referred to your site do so by their own will, and if you manage your content well, this would reduce your bounce rates and improve your online following.

Better Link Juice

Link juice is the value passed onto your site from the other one through hyperlinks. Google identifies these links as votes for your content, and therefore it largely improves your ranking.

Increased Local Customers

When you get a citation from any reputable site, your local search position improves. This helps you get local clients and outdo your competition.

Are you searching for people who could take your site to the first page and help ignite your business? Let our SEO experts help you harness the power of Google. Contact us today.


Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More



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