With many websites vying for top position on popular search engines, anything you can do to rise through the ranks should be incorporated into your SEO strategy. After all, getting seen by the right audience can be tough, and you want to stay ahead of the competition.
Backlinks are one of if not the most vital factor of off-site search ranking, so if you’re not already making effective use of them, now is the time to look into doing so.
What Exactly is a Backlink?
Backlinks, also known as inbound or incoming links, are hyperlinks from one page or website to another. So, for instance, if another website connects to yours, you earn a backlink, and when you connect to another site, you are providing them with a backlink.
These can be a great source of valuable referral traffic. Being featured on other relevant sites introduces your brand to new audiences who could then go on to become loyal customers. Backlinks also enable search engines to find your new content more easily for speedier indexing.
That’s not all. Having other websites signpost their users to you acts as a form of endorsement. They are highlighting that your content has value. In this way, they boost your brand’s credibility and perceived trustworthiness. Such details are crucial to customers and search engines who infer authority from these “votes of confidence” and as a result, the pages get higher rankings on the SERPs.
How Are Backlinks Earned?
The process of obtaining backlinks is known as link earning or link building. This can be both challenging and time-consuming. While it’s good to make use of internal backlinks to bring together relevant content on your website, these don’t have the same kind of impact on your SEO. For this, you will need to acquire links from outside your domain. There are a few different types to choose from. These are the basic ones:
- Editorial backlinks are the search engine favorites. This is where other websites in your niche link back to you to support their content. The best way to acquire these links is with top-quality, industry-leading content that is engaging and shareable. Guest blogging on relevant sites is another great way to boost your backlink score.
- Built backlinks involve running manual link-building campaigns. You essentially reach out to other websites and encourage them to include backlinks to your site in their content. In doing this, you need to ensure that the content of your website will be relevant to the other site users, so it’s best to stick with brands in your niche.
- Created or “comment” backlinks refer to when you include a link back to your website in a forum in the comment section of another article. While this is permitted and even recommended if other readers are likely to benefit from being directed to your site, this was previously known as a commonly used black hat tactic and should be used with care.
Are All Backlinks Valuable?
While backlinks are something you definitely want, they are not all created equal. Some are incredibly advantageous, while others should simply be avoided. This is because search engine algorithms, wise to “black hat SEO” tricks, evaluate backlinks not just in terms of quantity but quality too.
The best backlinks come from reputable websites. High in domain authority, these are more trusted by search engines as well as being more popular among the kinds of audiences you’ll be looking to attract. These backlinks can be much harder to get, but they are definitely worth it. Whether or not users click through, just being mentioned on one of these sites is enough to give your brand a nice little boost.
On the other hand, backlinks from low-authority sites (often referred to as “toxic” or “unnatural” links) that search engines judge as spammy will do quite the reverse. Your website’s authority will suffer with too many of these, which could impact your SERP ranking. You’ll also want to steer clear of paying for backlinks. This practice is not looked upon favorably by search engines and could result in harsh SEO penalties.
Other Factors to Consider
While the authority of the linking domain is a crucial consideration when building your backlink profile, there are a few other things that can up the value of a link, including:
Search engine bots and algorithms are smarter than you might think. When evaluating the value of a backlink, they pay close attention to the subject matter of both websites. If they are not deemed to be related in any way, the link will be disregarded.
Architecture is another essential aspect. The best positioning is directly in the main content of the webpage. A link that is tucked away, in the footer of the page, for instance, will not carry as much weight for search engines.
Links from the same domain have diminishing returns. The first time a website links to you, you will benefit, a little less the second time, and the third, and so on…So it’s better to get a few links from different websites than a substantial number from the same one.
This refers to the text used for the hyperlink. From reading this, the user should be very clear about just what to expect if they do click on the link. Anchor texts that include your keywords are particularly useful and can be important for your brand growth.
DoFollow backlinks are the ones with all the SEO juice and should be the ones you work towards. NoFollow backlinks, often used for sponsored content, indicate to search engines that they shouldn’t be crawled and are mostly ignored in terms of SEO.
Backlinks, as one of the top ranking factors for search engines, are vital for enhancing the SEO of your website and getting your brand out there. However, acquiring the right kind isn’t easy. If you’re looking for support with this, Firon Marketing’s Organic Link Program can help you leverage the power of backlinks and watch your site grow.