Digital Marketing

How Is A Backlink Similar To A Citation Online?

6 Mins read

There’s an age-old adage that says, “Nothing is new under the sun.”  This implies that any idea must have already been conceptualized by someone before you’ve even thought about it. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. One can always improve upon the body of knowledge that’s already been published. You can look at the issue from a different perspective and offer fresh insights, as well as solutions.

Since you’re building on something that’s previously been initiated by someone else, you must be aware of the importance of acknowledging your sources. These days, there are two different terms, but have similar purposes.

Citation Online

What Are Citations?

If you’ve ever written a research paper, you must already be aware of the significance of citations. These notes can be found directly in your content’s body or at the end. There are even different writing formats, such as the American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA), to make referencing consistent throughout your post.

Typically, a citation includes the book title and the author name. It also provides information on the publisher and the date when the work was published. Lastly, if you’re quoting directly from another person’s literature, you should provide the page numbers where you copied the quote.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks, on the other hand, are links that direct web users to other websites. This type of links is valuable for search engine optimization (SEO) as it can help boost your online visibility, particularly to your target audience.

Citation Online

If you’re still learning about how to start a blog, you’ll come across backlinks as one of the factors that you ought to give and receive. Linking to high-authority sites can verify the quality of your content, while receiving them can improve your position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Similarities Between Backlinks And Citations

Backlinks and citations relatively have the same function. Here are some of their similarities:

1. Inform Readers Of Your Sources

Their primary purpose is to let your readers know the sources that inspired your content. In today’s digital world, where there’s intense competition for web traffic, it might seem counterintuitive to reference other websites. After all, you want to position yourself as a leader in your industry by being an original source of information.

However, as mentioned above, there’s really no original idea in the world today, unless it’s about technologies that haven’t been invented yet. Even then, a few authors of fiction from years past have successfully predicted current machines and devices that are way ahead of their time.

On the contrary, you’re actually helping readers when you inform them of your sources by allowing them to learn more about the topic. Citations and backlinks also serve to protect you since you’re just reiterating the claims made by someone else, not your own views and opinions.

2. Enhance Perception Of Your Content

Citing your sources shows that you’ve crafted a well-researched blog post. It implies that you care enough about providing relevant and accurate information to your readers. This way, they can see that you’re not making things up willy-nilly, but putting a lot of thought into your content.

It’s so easy to create a blog these days. But, to truly set your site apart from others, you have to publish high-quality articles to keep your subscribers engaged and interested in your updates.

3. Build Credibility For Your Brand

In business and digital marketing, perception is everything. You have to be careful about what you publish online as one wrong move can easily topple down the reputation that you’ve worked so hard to build. This is particularly true for charges of plagiarism against your domain. You should include references in your content so that people can’t accuse you of copying their words or ideas without acknowledgment. 

Citations and backlinks can also boost your credibility if you’re on the receiving end. These can help show that your insights are relevant enough to inspire someone else to think hard about the issue or subject that they’re able to add their input on the topic.

Backlinks, specifically, can boost your brand’s authority through SEO since they are considered as votes of confidence for your content. Aside from the number of links that point users to your domain, you should also think about the quality when reaching out to potential sources. Low-authority sites can damage your ranking instead of supplementing it. Check backlinks in your website by using specialized tools so that you’ll know which areas to improve for your SEO.

4. Boost Brand Awareness

Again, if you’re the one being cited as a reference, it can introduce your brand to a new set of audience. The publishing domain’s reader base can be potential subscribers and, ultimately, customers.

As long as you produce high-quality content, it’s highly likely that other bloggers in your niche will link back to your pages when writing their posts. This can hasten your rise to the top of the SERPs and establish your website as a credible source of insider information.

5. Benefit The Industry

It benefits the entire community when you put citations or backlinks from other credible sources in your niche. This is because you allow people who are interested in the topics you publish to learn more about the field. You also encourage them to check out related blogs and brands, which can foster engagement within the industry.

Importance Of Getting Backlinks

Now that you’ve become familiar with the similarities between citations and backlinks, you should create a digital marketing campaign that can boost your acquisition of the latter. Inbound links are crucial to your online success, which is how you can reach potential customers in the first place.

These are the reasons why you should be getting backlinks:

1. Improves Your Site’s Ranking

Search engines, like Google and Bing, use the number of links pointing to your site as a ranking factor. This means that you’ll likely rank high in the SERPs if more people cite your pages in their content.

As stated above, backlinks are considered as votes of confidence for your content. The implication is that your website is a reliable source of information if people use your insights when producing their own blog posts.

There are a number of ways to acquire backlinks, such as:

  • Crafting Long-Form Articles – Content with over 700 words is considered long-form. This type of article can boost your online citations because you can provide in-depth information about a topic. With this, more people can find comprehensive solutions to their queries in a single blog post.
  • Creating Infographics – Informative content, like infographics, is one of the smart ways to earn backlinks for your website. Aside from being visually appealing, these images can make data easily digestible, but still thorough and accurate.
  • Writing Testimonials – Another technique to acquire backlinks is to write about your experience with these software programs and devices. Then, you can submit them to the companies and ask them if they can include a link to your homepage once the review gets published.

2. Allows Search Bots To Index Your Content

Search engine bots use links to crawl through millions of pages in the World Wide Web. Backlinks can quicken the process of indexing new content since these crawlers have already established a pathway within existing blog posts. 

Don’t forget to build internal links as well. Aside from helping search bots to find your content faster, these can also be used by human users to explore your domain and read more of your content. Having people stay for an extended period on your site allows you to market to them longer, which significantly increases the chances for conversion.

3. Lets You Gain Referral Traffic

Referral traffic pertains to the web users that arrive in your domain from third-party platforms, but not through search engines. Visitors that fall under this category can come from social media sites or other blogs. 

In this aspect, backlinks help by increasing the chances of gaining new followers and consumers. The primary advantage of referral traffic is that it boosts brand exposure and awareness. You get to introduce your company to people who are most likely to convert to paying customers since they’re already following a blog that’s related to your company.

4. Establishes Yourself As A Leader In Your Niche

Just like citations, people will see your blog as an authority figure in your industry if a lot of people use your website as a reference. Again, the premise is that you must be a reliable source of information since you’ve earned the trust of other sites in your niche.


Citations and backlinks are similar because they inform readers of where you gathered your data. This way, web users can have the chance to dig deeper about a particular topic since they know where to find more information. It also shows people that your content is well-researched, boosting your credibility as an author. Ultimately, you should prioritize getting backlinks or online citations for your website since these are considered as votes of confidence for your content.

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