While perusing the internet for ways to further promote and grow your website, you may have come upon the term "Backlink."
Backlinking is a subject so complicated that it may often become overwhelming, yet it can be the difference between having a successful business website or not.
In this article, we will cover what backlinks are, their importance, and how you can use them to show up higher in search results.
As defined by the SEO Glossary from Searchmetrics, "Backlinks are links from outside domains that point to pages on your domain, essentially linking back from their domain to yours."
In other words, a backlink is a clickable link on someone else's site that leads to your website. The more credible backlinks lead to you, the more credibility and visibility your site will have.
These domains will typically add backlinks to your website if its content is relevant to their own, much like we have done with Searchmetrics above. Backlinks, also called "inbound links" or "incoming links," are powerful despite their simplicity.
In many ways, backlinks work as a vote of confidence from one website to another as to say, "we vouch for the usefulness of this website's content and want to associate ourselves with it."
Inter-domain relations aside, backlinks are also a great SEO tool as most search engines take them into account when sorting the ranking of the links in Search Engine Results Pages(SERP's).
For search engines like Google or Bing, backlinks are an excellent way to measure a page's authority and relevance with others.
It used to be that this measuring only took the number of backlinks into account. However, more recently, the linking domain's reputation has taken a more significant role in fighting back this system's abuse.
In recent years companies have bought and sold thousands of "fake" backlinks from spammy websites. Search Engines started penalizing these sites as a result. Therefore, the more reputable the site you're getting a link from, the better.
On the user side, backlinks are useful for finding more content on the related research topic, without having to start a new search from scratch.
For example, suppose you are researching the inner workings of a combustion engine. In that case, the articles you read may take you to content relating to different fuel types, the function of different parts, or even the uniqueness of various brands.
Simply put, a backlink is directing the reader to an outside source. An internal link is linking to another page on the same website.
Wikipedia is an excellent example of internal linking. Instead of pointing the reader to an outside source, it hyperlinks text wherever possible to another one of its pages. Wikipedia is so good at this that you can often reach any topic without having to search again just by clicking through its internal links.
Both backlinks and internal links are important for optimizing your site for search engines.
As you might have already guessed, backlinks are applied in various contexts and functions. However, some have shown to be better than others, according to Backlinko, which ranks them as follows:
"Would you rather get a backlink from Harvard… or a random guy's website?" A perfectly reasonable question with a clear answer, backlinks from reputable platforms can be one of the best things to happen to your website, as they transfer some of this authority to you. On the other hand, receiving a link from a website that isn't in good standing with search engines can negatively affect your authority and search rankings.
This is a great place to touch on Domain Authority. When a website with high authority gives you a backlink, it can do great things for your site's reputation.
Think of authority sites in your niche that consistently rank within the top 10 on Google keyword searches that people may also use to find your website. The more quality backlinks from these trusted sources that you earn, the more Google will recognize your site as noteworthy for searchers and boost your site further up the search page. Google uses backlinks as a measure of your website's credibility.
Keywords are at the very core of any SEO strategy as they significantly boost your site's ranking in SERPs. Receiving a backlink on a relevant keyword, further increasing your visibility.
As we have established earlier in this article, backlinks are a great way to signify your authority in a particular subject. As more and more people run into backlinks to your website, you only solidify this position.
For example, if your website is commonly associated with history articles, people will be more prone to search for you when they have a history related question.
When selecting links for a search result, Google ignores links marked with the tag "nofollow," which won't count for SERP's. However, this type of link is a particular minority in internet links, most of which are marked as "dofollow."
Links marked as "nofollow" also tend to be worthless, being things like Comments, press-releases, and paid advertising. In short, commenting on other blogs will not give you a valuable link back to your website.
Linking to other sources is the internets equivalent of a nod of approval; there is a certain finesse involved with getting more backlinks to your site that entails proper personal branding and SEO techniques.
The personal branding aspect is about establishing yourself as an authority in your field, which requires quality content and constant interaction with your visitors.
As for the SEO part, whenever a content maker is preparing a new post, article, or review, their first step will always be researching the topic, mostly through search engines.
By improving your ranking in SERPs, you increase the possibility of being quoted in other sites' content, which will likely come with a backlink with your domain as a source.
You also have the possibility of contacting the people behind your favorite domains and arranging a mutual promotion deal, where both sides compromise to backlink to each other.
Now that you have a good idea of what backlinking is and how it can help you further promote your website, here are some tips on making your backlink profile stronger.
1. ) Create Linkable Assets:
People will not add backlinks to your website in exchange for nothing. You first need to give them something worth linking to. This can be an article, a video, a quiz, or anything worth sharing by incorporating it into their content. The best way to build backlinks is to create great content consistently and network with other writers.
2.) Write Thorough, Helpful Guides
Think of topics that relate to your business. Then, write the best, most organized, and engaging guides and blog posts on those topics. This may include infographics, HowTos, or a simple informational post.
The key here is to outperform other sites for the subjects that are already on the web. While it may take time to show up in search results, if you're providing value to your readers, they will want to share it with others.
An excellent first step is to check what's ranking well and read other posts to see if they are outdated or need improvement. You may be surprised at the quality of posts showing up on the first page of Google. You can then create content that will provide even more value to the reader.
3.) Guest Posting
In the last paragraph, we spoke about the benefits of making arrangements for mutual back linking with other domains. One arrangement is guest posting, where you invite someone to post content on your site while promoting their own and do the same on their domain. This is one of the best methods for new website owners as it allows them to be introduced to new readers by someone with a bigger audience.
4.) Collaboration With Other Website and Writers
This strategy takes months or even years to develop. However, just like knowing the right reporters to send a press release to, knowing bloggers and website owners who are willing to link back to your content is priceless. A good relationship can mean the difference between having your site rank, or show up on page 100.
While all of these are great options to organically boost your site's backlinks, keep in mind not to overdo it.
1.) Excessive Commenting and Guest Posting
Excessively posting comments and guest blogging in an effort to gain backlinks can actually get you penalized, and your site won't see the benefits of your work.
2.) Buying Links
Another surefire way to be penalized is to buy links from vendors — sites that existed solely to link to other sites. Google polices link-buying very closely, and buying links is a sure way to incur a Google penalty or drop off the index entirely. If you want to build useful links, you've got to do it cleanly and organically. (Note - this is different from paying someone to get backlinks for you organically. You will be penalized for giving money to a site in return for backlinks.)
3.) Irrelevant Backlinks
And beware: Irrelevant backlinking can hurt you. If a blog post about sneaker trends links back to your article on the best credit card for new cardholders, that link won't help you (and could hurt if it happens a lot).
There are plenty of other lousy link sources you should avoid, like dofollow links in irrelevant comments sections or links from spammy sites with spotty content. Please don't bother with automated link building tools either, as they often leverage disreputable sites, and be wary of links in sidebars or footers.
With all this in mind, start making backlinks a key part of your business' SEO plan, and you'll see your site jump up search engine listings.
Although building a proper profile may be difficult, backlinking is one of the best ways to get your website out there, especially if you are a small business seeking to expand beyond your neighborhood.
Of course, you don't necessarily need to be an expert on online marketing to reap these benefits. All you need to do is contact the right people.
Small Business Mentor can help in building a successful website while using backlinking and advanced SEO techniques used by the most prominent companies. So, take your first step to a successful website by contacting us!