The backlink is a commonly used word in search engine optimization or SEO. Many people that have started blogs or websites have always struggled to have a clear understanding of backlinks and how they work. The aim of this post is to provide you with a clear idea as to what backlinks really are, why they are important, and how you can get the best out of them. Ok, let’s start.
Backlinks – What Are They?
The link from one web resource to another web resource is referred to as a backlink. A web resource could be a website, web directory, or web page. If you have a blogging site or a website, then the backlink to your site is a reference made to your website or one or more of your web pages on some other website(s). In simple terms, backlinks are inbound links to your webpage from other web resources.
Backlinks – Why Are They Important?
Backlinks are one of the metrics used by search engines for ranking web pages. Typically, a page with several backlinks often ranks higher on major search engines. The number of inbound backlinks to your site gives an indication as regards the importance or popularity of your website. Major search engines such as Google often give more credit to those websites that have several good quality backlinks and mark them off as more relevant compared to others shown up in the search results pages for a specific query. This means that using backlinks in SEO is helpful.
Prior to April 2012, it was easy to achieve higher search engine ranking just by adding more links. Google’s Penguin update to the search engine algorithm which works in real time has changed the scenario. Links can pose a risk now because all links are not created equal. In the past, one of the major link building techniques employed was going out there, writing a set of articles, submitting them to article submission sites, and getting external links back to your website.
After the Penguin update, this approach does not work. High-quality and relevant inbound backlinks are essential to growing your Google search rankings, brand, and revenue. Your site may be penalized if there are many irrelevant and incorrect inbound backlinks. Therefore, effective link building strategies are all about enhancing the popularity and trust of your site. Only quality backlinks work now and according to Copyblogger, the influence of domain authority in Google’s ranking algorithm is about 23.87 percent.
Backlinks – Types
There are different types of backlinks and they include the following:
1] Editorial link
It refers to the links that are acquired without paying any money, requesting, trading or exchanging. If you provide good content and follow good marketing strategies your website will attract this type of links.
2] Resource link
They can be one-way or two-way links. Typically, they are hyperlinks to either a website or specific web pages containing content considered to be useful, beneficial, and relevant to the visitors of the particular site that is establishing the backlink. The importance of resource links has grown in the recent times.
3] Acquired link
Links acquired by paying money or through distribution are referred to as acquired links or organically obtained links. They include link advertisements, article distribution, directory links, paid linking, and comments on blogs, forums, and social media.
4] Reciprocal link
This is a link between two websites to improve mutual traffic. This type of link is no longer relevant to search engine optimization because of Google’s 2005 Jagger 2 update.
5] Forum signature linking
This is a technique employed for building backlinks. It involves making use of forum communities that enable outbound hyperlinks on the signature of a member. This may be a faster way of building inbound links to a website.
6] Blog comment link
If you leave a remark on a blog, it can lead to the creation of a relevant dofollow backlink to your website. However, most often it becomes a nofollow backlink and is not considered by search engines. If you provide a good and relevant comment, readers may click on it.
7] Directory link
Website directories list website addresses under various categories. Owners of websites can submit their addresses to these directories. To get listed in some directories, you may have to make a payment. Some directories do it for free.
8] Social bookmarking
This involves categorization and saving of web pages in public locations on the web. Anchor texts form part of bookmarks and are scanned by search engines. Therefore, they have some value in search engine optimization.
9] Image link
It involves submitting images, for example, infographics, to various image directories and then linking them back to your URL.
Backlinks – How To Get The Most Out Of Them?
Acquisition of backlinks is not only expensive but also time-consuming. It is, therefore, important to get the most out of each and every backlink you acquire. In order to achieve this goal, you must make sure that your website is technically optimized, the site architecture is strong, and you are providing valuable content.
Technically Optimized Website
As technical errors reduce user experience, Google often limits the growth of organic traffic to your website. Some of the technical issues you need to set right are:
Site loading speed (Google’s PageSpeed Insights will be helpful in this regard)
Mobile friendliness (make use of Google’s Mobile-Friendly test for the purpose)
Duplicate content (Siteliner will be helpful in identifying duplicate content)
In addition, find out issues like 302 redirects, 404 errors, Redirect chains, Duplicate META data, Canonical errors, and Incorrect directives usage (nofollow, noindex, etc) with the help of Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
Strong Site Architecture
Strong site architecture enables link equity to be distributed on your website. The better the site architecture, the lesser will be the number of backlinks required. If the content has a key role to play in your SEO approach, then a reverse silo works best as it builds site authority naturally.
Provide Valuable Content
Content makes or breaks your SEO campaign irrespective of the number of backlinks you have acquired. It doesn’t also matter how well your site has been optimized. Your SEO effort will fail if you do not attach enough seriousness to the content. You need not be perfect, but avoid publishing garbage content.
How To Build High-Quality Backlinks?
Building high-quality backlinks are not very easy, but you can employ a few backlinking strategies to make it happen. Here are a few tips for building backlinks:
1] Ask for backlinks
You can start by asking for backlinks from your friends, relatives, partners, clients, and colleagues having a site or a blog that is related to your niche if you are a beginner in this field. Instead of sidebar/footer links, ask for links within content.
2] Get your site listed in trustworthy directories
Choosing niche directories and those that provide information related to a specific industry make it easier for your site to be indexed by major search engines.
3] Build relationships
Building good relationships with niche-related communities such as forums, social groups, and blogs are important for link building. Start by contributing interesting and relevant posts or comments and adding contextual value to discussions. When you give, you will get back some quality backlinks.
4] Provide a testimonial
Many businesses allow you to share your experience with respect to using their products. It presents you with an opportunity to acquire a backlink and generate traffic from that site.
5] Start a blogging site
Write relevant and useful content at set intervals, focusing on your niche area and your clients’ needs. Page authority will build up over time. Make sure the content is structured properly.
6] Write guest posts
Many websites and blogs accept good quality and relevant content. This helps you to build backlinks that have a positive impact on your website. Make use of backlink analysis tools to evaluate the trust and power of a domain, page authority, and link building opportunities.
7] Research competitors’ links
Identify the helpful links you have not acquired yet. Make use of backlink analysis tools for this purpose.
8] Get indirect backlinks from key competitors
Your competitors might have links to authority sites related to your industry. If you succeed in getting backlinks from such sites, your competitors will link to you indirectly.
9] Revive your dead backlinks
Some backlinks might display a 404 error due to various reasons. You can redirect such backlinks to another page. You should then strive to revive the power and trust of those links by recreating the web page or redirecting it to an existing page.
10] Convert mentions about you into backlinks
If someone has written something about you and mentioned about your brand/product, contact the webmaster to get mention converted into a backlink. Use a link research tool to identify mentions about you.
This is not an exhaustive list of things you can do to get high-quality backlinks. There are many other options as well. However, what is important to understand is that you need to invest some amount of time and effort to if you want to achieve high-quality backlinks. You will get the desired results in the end.