How Backlinks Can Increase Traffic To Your Website

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When building a website, business owners often focus so much on keywords and other on-page search engine optimization factors that they overlook the importance of backlinks.

Some industry experts estimate that backlinks can account for up to 80% of the weight that search engine ranking algorithms give to websites. When it comes to improving how your business appears in searches, cultivating links from other websites that point to your own site is too big an opportunity to pass up.

If you’re not actively building backlinks, here are some basics to get started:

What are backlinks?
Basically, a link is a connection between two web pages. You can have internal links between different pages on your site or external links that point from your site to other useful web resources. Links that go from another site to yours are called backlinks because they point to your pages.

Why should you care about link building?
From a search engine optimization perspective, links demonstrate the popularity of a site. Essentially, every time a site links to your pages, it means they find them worthy of sharing with their readers. When search engines find a site with many other sites pointing to it, they conclude that the site provides quality information that should be rewarded with high rankings.

There are backlink characteristics that matter in ranking algorithms. For example, a backlink from a high ranking site will have more than one from a lower ranking site. A link from a relevant site within your industry will also carry more weight.

But because search engines can’t manually assess the quality of each site, they rely on the number of backlinks pointing to a site and the relative quality of the links to determine a site’s overall value.

Related: What You Need to Know About Branding Vs SEO

How can you start building backlinks to your site?
If you’re posting engaging content, you’re probably already getting links to your site. But that’s rarely enough to make your site competitive in search results. You must be proactive in developing backlinks.

Keep in mind the following criteria:

  1. Backlinks should come from relevant sites that publish quality content.
  2. They shouldn’t be paid. This is a “black hat” strategy that Google does not tolerate.
  3. Backlinks should be built slowly. If you create them too quickly, you might look like you’re manipulating rankings and triggering penalties from search engines.

To find sites you might want to target for potential backlinks, start by seeing which websites are linking to your competitors. You can search for your competitors URLs on sites such as MajesticSEO or the Open site explorer. Once you find out which sites your competitors are linking to, visit those sites to find out if your content might be a fit as well.

Related: How Using Microdata Can Improve Your Website’s SEO

Another way is to track unclaimed link opportunities. Suppose another site mentions your site as a reference or cites one of your articles without providing a proper attribution link. By tracking your brand name and other branded keywords with a Google Alert, you can monitor these lost backlink opportunities and contact site owners to ask them to link to your pages properly.

Other backlink opportunities include:

  • Guest posting. Offer to write content for other people’s sites. It can help you gain additional exposure and backlinks.
  • Press Releases. If you have something interesting to share, an online press release can increase your number of backlinks.
  • Social networks. When you actively participate in social networking sites, not only do you brand yourself as an expert, but you can also get a number of backlinks.

While each of these backlink strategies can help your site climb search engine rankings, you need to track the results to see which techniques have the most impact. Over time, a consistent link building campaign should lead to significant improvements in your search rankings and site traffic.

Related: Five Effective SEO Strategies to Optimize Your Business Blog

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