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How do backlinks affect my rankings?

The effectiveness of backlinks is always changing, but they still remain the most powerful ranking factor, followed closely by social signals.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Backlinks

The only way bad backlinks will assist with ranking in any way is if competition is minimal. Poor links usually involve linking to other websites that have a poor presence in search engines, or which may even be spammy websites that don't rank at all.

However, high-quality backlinks can significantly boost your rankings, without the need for a large quantity of them. Even without the tools to find good backlinks, you can judge a good link based on the relevance of the website you're linking to, the website's reputation, link positioning, and traffic.

The types of backlinks your website can use will vary depending on your industry and level of competition for keywords. While some local businesses might be able to get away with poor links in some cases, you should work to find the best linking opportunities that will truly improve your rankings.

Keep in mind that certain terms might be nearly impossible to rank for over reputable competitors, particularly broad terms for popular products and services that will have corporations ranking at the top. One way to get around this is to find long-tail keywords that are more specific, which other competitors may have overlooked.