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Inbound Link Definition & Meaning

What Is an Inbound Link?

An inbound link is a hyperlink on a website that points to a web page on another site and is a key ranking factor for off-site search engine optimization. Inbound links are also known as backlinks or incoming links.

Inbound links are considered to be a vote of confidence for the content that’s being linked to from other domains. This endorsement in the form of a backlink means other site owners are vouching for the popularity and importance of the target URL.

Inbound links that are dofollow links transfer the most Google PageRank authority (i.e., link equity) from the origin page to the linked URL for search engine ranking purposes. Nofollow links tagged with the rel=”nofollow” attribute, on the other hand, may not pass any link equity to the target web page. That’s because the nofollow tag informs search engine spiders not to crawl the hyperlink or pass any link equity to the target URL.

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However, in 2019, Google changed its algorithm system so that nofollow attributes are now considered to be a hint and not a directive; meaning inbound links that are tagged as nofollow may transfer PageRank value for improved search engine optimization (SEO).

In general, the more inbound links a web page receives (from different referring domains), the higher the content is perceived to have popularity and importance, which are important signals for expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T) that Google’s algorithms use for ranking and indexing purposes.

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Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.