Being long-time academics, they eventually decided to take the way academic papers were organized and apply that to webpages.

A quick and fairly objective way to judge the quality of an academic paper is to see how many times other academic papers have cited it.

This concept was easy to replicate online because the original purpose of the Internet was to share academic resources between universities. The citations manifested themselves as hyperlinks once they went online.

One of the nerds came up with an algorithm for calculating these values on a global scale, and they both lived happily ever after.

Of course, these two nerds were Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google.

And now you know the story of backlinks.

 

Source: Search Engine Optimization Secrets – Danny Dover