Backlinks are an important factor in building up your website’s reputation within search engines. They’re also a vital element of any search engine optimisation strategy. If you’ve never heard of a backlink before, or if they have you confused, fear not – it isn’t as complicated as you might think.
In this post we’ll introduce you to backlinks, explain why you need them, and highlight how you can get them.
What are backlinks?
A backlink is a link from one website to another. The website that links out (in this case, the one that contains the backlink) is called an “outbound link” and the other website, which is receiving it’s backlink, is called an “inbound link.” The inbound link acts as a vote of trust or confidence in the page from which it comes.
Put simply, a link that goes from another website to yours is called a backlink because they point away from their page and back to your page.
Why do you need backlinks?
Firstly, your website needs backlinks to help improve how Google will rank it within search engine result pages (known as SERP). Google uses backlinks in two ways:
- To determine the quality of the web page
One of the important factors Google uses to determine the quality of your web page’s content is how popular it is on the internet. In this case, “popularity” refers to how many references, mentions or backlinks the page has from other related pages on the web.
However, it’s not a numbers game. It’s not about the quantity of backlinks you have as much as it is about the quality of where those links are coming from. Links from websites that have good domain authority and are seen by Google as an authority site will serve you better.
- To determine where your page should rank within a search page
Google then uses the number and quality of those backlinks to your page to determine where it ranks within its search result pages. Google sees each “inbound link” as a “vote”. The more quality votes the web page has the more valuable Google considers the page. This will then contribute to the rank order of the page within its search results.
Secondly, the more backlinks you have pointing to your web page from different websites, the better chance you have of increasing traffic to your website.
- Links in blog posts and website content pages creates more traffic
As people are reading content pages with links to your website there is the possibility they will click the link through to your website.
- Links in directory/listing websites sends more traffic
Links within website directories like business listings and membership sites will direct more visitors to your website when they are looking for products or services in your field.
Finally, if the linked text and its surrounding content includes your name, business name and your area of expertise, that can all work together to create an increase in your brand awareness and position you as a person of expertise in the mind of readers.
How do you create backlinks to your website?
Create engaging content
The best way to build backlinks is to create valuable, helpful and engaging content on your own website that other website administrators will want to link to. In time, you will get other sites linking to your content. You can reach out to website owners, let them know about your amazing content and invite them to link back to it. This is called natural link building and is a safe way to build links.
List in business directories and membership sites
Directory websites for local businesses also create backlink opportunities. When creating your listing make sure you choose relevant business categories and where possible, choose directories that specifically serve your local area or business niche.
Create content for other websites (guest blogging)
You can offer to create engaging content for other people’s websites. This helps increase your exposure and a link back to your site.
Build strategic alliances
Building strategic alliances with other businesses creates an opportunity for reciprocal links between both company websites. This is helpful if their website shares valuable information about your topic or business niche.
Keep in mind the following criteria when creating backlinks:
- Backlinks should come from relevant sites that publish quality content.
- The backlinks should come from websites Google trusts.
- They shouldn’t be paid for. Google does not condone bought links.
- The link should add value to the user of the site (quality content).
- Backlinks should be built up slowly. If you create them too quickly, search engines may penalise you for appearing to be manipulating the rankings.
Backlinks – the hidden key to boosting your business
Backlinks are important in SEO. They’re a sign of popularity and authority in the eyes of Google, and they can help boost your search rankings.
The key to success in generating a high volume of internet searches is building links with many other related sites and content providers. The greater number of good QUALITY connections that link back to your site on credible pages or directories, the higher probability of increasing online visitor referrals for your web page and higher rank within search pages.