What are Backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as incoming links or inbound links are links to a specific website or web page from external sites / pages, using a hyperlink.
Why do you need backlinks?
Every backlink to your site, is like a vote from another website to say: "I endorse this website" or "I think you have to go and visit this website".
How do you build backlinks to your website?
There is a number of ways to create backlinks to your website. The easiest is just to ask a website owner to link back to your site. Obviously, there must be a reason why a person would want to link back to your website. It might the two websites provide information about a related topic. Your website might just provide a service that the 3rd party website is referring to within it's content. Whatever the reason might be, the link must be natural and obviously related. You cannot expect a website owner to link to your site, which is solely about e.g. teeth whitening; however the 3rd party website is about sports watches. This will obviously look suspicious to search engines, and your site be flagged for bad linking practices.
How can you check your websites backlinks?
There is a number of websites available to check backlinks. These websites user different techniques to collect their data, and the result of each might not necessarily match. In most cases, these sites will use a web spider / crawler, that will scan pages on the internet, and collect the information into one massive database. In most cases these services are provided at a small fee, to allow the companies to setup the infrastructure to scan and store all of this information. For website owners, the easiest way to check this information is through Google Webmaster Tools. However the format of this information is not always easy to use and additional tools might be required to understand the un-processed data. This said, this is usually the first stop for most Website owners.
Are Backlinks still important in 2015?
Backlinks are as important as always. That said; Google and the other search engines spend a lot of time to identify and eliminate unnatural links from their algorithm. However, not all backlinks are equal. A number of factors are used to determine the weight of the link, which include the source and niche of the linking website.