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Google Discusses Natural Backlinks



Google Discusses Natural Backlinks

In a Google SEO office hours hangout someone asked John Mueller to explain what Google means by quality backlinks. John offered a recommendation on how to approach the problem of attracting natural backlinks.

What are Backlinks?

A backlink is a link from one web page to someone else’s web page.

The term backlink probably came about from when websites engaged in reciprocal link strategies and one website linked to a second website in exchange for a link back to the first site. The link back to the site was called a backlink.

They are also called inbound links. That name came about as a way to differentiate them from outbound links (links that point out from a site to another site).

And lastly they are also called external links as a way to differentiate them from internal links. External links are links that point to a page from outside a site. An internal link is a link that points to a page from within the site.

Natural Links

There are many ways of classifying backlinks. There are paid links, reciprocal links, guest post links and so on.

It’s possible to classify backlinks with two categories. There are natural backlinks and there are unnatural backlinks.

One can say that there are quality backlinks as well but for the purpose of this article, quality backlinks can be classified as a natural link.


And a natural link is simply a link that happened after a web page came to someone’s attention.

How Does Google Identify Natural Links?

Here’s a spoiler: John Mueller doesn’t reveal how Google identifies natural and unnatural links.

But he does talk about the mindset to be in order to earn the kinds of links that Google prefers.

The Question:

“I’ve heard a lot about backlinks, that that Google considers quality backlinks.

When it comes to quality, what exactly do you mean for quality backlinks and how Google analyzes between natural and paid backlinks?”

Google’s Mueller paused and looked up as he considered how to answer the question.

Screenshot of John Mueller considering how to answer a question about backlinks

John Mueller’s Answer:

“So my recommendation… I think especially if you’re getting started is not to focus on backlinks because it’s very easy to get stuck into the situation of, like you said, Google wants quality backlinks or Google wants natural backlinks therefore I will make my backlinks look like quality or I will make my unnatural backlinks look like they’re natural.

And it’s very easy to spend a lot of time focusing on that.

So that’s something where, from my point of view, I would focus on your site first and really work to build that up really strongly first.”

The Mindset for Spotting Opportunities

Mueller next explained being ready to spot opportunities for self-promotion, one of the most basic aspects of getting a site noticed.


Mueller explains:

And then over time you’ll see maybe there are opportunities where you can mention your site with other people with regards to advertising perhaps, with regards to other ways where you can create something really fantastic and point that out to other people and say, like at this cool stuff that I did.

And then they link to your page because they think, oh this is really neat.

And essentially, when it comes to links, Google’s point of view is that these should be things that are not organized by you, that are not paid for by you, that are not created by you.

But rather they should be naturally people who say well, this is really cool, I really like that.

Similar to how if you make a website, you probably have seen lots of other sites where you say, this is cool, I will link to that, I will refer to that because it’s something useful for my users.”

Obviously (and Mueller’s said this in the past), links don’t happen by themselves. He is on record stating that website publishers can’t just wait around for people to find your site.

Mueller has also said that self-promotion is important.

How a site is promoted is where Google and SEOs diverge in their approach. Build and tell is very simple.


The first part is to build. That means researching what people want to read or tend to link to then creating something that will appeal to them.

The outreach is the second part, which is to tell others about what was built, especially the people who tend to link to that kind of content.

The Build and Tell approach could very well be one of the best ways of promoting a site in a way that encourages natural links. Building without telling won’t necessarily work.

Mueller has recommended self-promotion so instead of focusing on the link, maybe it might be useful focusing on building and telling.


Watch John Mueller discuss quality backlinks beginning about just after the 35 minute mark:



Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: What’s the best office suite for business?



Google G Suite vs. Microsoft Office

Once upon a time, Microsoft Office ruled the business world. By the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Microsoft’s office suite had brushed aside rivals such as WordPerfect Office and Lotus SmartSuite, and there was no competition on the horizon.

Then in 2006 Google came along with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, a collaborative online word processing and spreadsheet duo that was combined with other business services to form the Google Apps suite, later rebranded as G Suite, and now as Google Workspace. Although Google’s productivity suite didn’t immediately take the business world by storm, over time it has gained both in features and in popularity, boasting 6 million paying customers, according to Google’s most recent public stats in March 2020.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has shifted its emphasis away from its traditional licensed Office software to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), a subscription-based version that’s treated more like a service, with frequent updates and new features. Microsoft 365 is what we’ve focused on in this story.

Nowadays, choosing an office suite isn’t as simple as it once was. We’re here to help.

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have much in common. Both are subscription-based, charging businesses per-person fees every month, in varying tiers, depending on the capabilities their customers are looking for. Although Google Workspace is web-based, it has the capability to work offline as well. And while Microsoft 365 is based on installed desktop software, it also provides (less powerful) web-based versions of its applications.

Both suites work well with a range of devices. Because it’s web-based, Google Workspace works in most browsers on any operating system, and Google also offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. Microsoft provides Office client apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and its web-based apps work across browsers.

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