the battle of two
A backlink is an incoming link to your website from another website. Google was built on this concept of incoming and outgoing links as a way to rank the usefulness and popularity of websites. Prior to the introduction of "pagerank", search engines only used keywords, something still critical to the success of our websites. However, keywords as the driving force of search engines turned out to product weak results as site and companies began taking advantage of the process and stuffing their site with keywords, relevant or not to what they offered.
Backlinks are what bring balance. They are the big brother of keywords, if you will. Backlinks are the thing that tells Google your site and its keywords are telling the truth.
CHECK YOUR BACKLINKS
This data is for two family photography sites in San Diego, CA. Based on their backlinks, which will show up in search results first?
It may surprise you, but SITE TWO is actually stronger than SITE ONE! Why? Well, it's not just about gaining as many backlinks as possible, but about where they are coming from.
The pagerank of the referring site is even more important than the backlink itself. It's the difference between your client's seeing your ad on Craigslist verses FSTOPPERS calling you the "The World's Best Family Photographer Ever". Who is linking your site can and does play into how your site is found on Google.
SITE TWO in this example, has more high-ranking sites backlinking to her and, therefore, ranks higher in a Google search for San Diego Family Photographer.
WAIT, WHAT IS A BACKLINK?