What they are and how to get them

Your website needs traffic – the more the better. And to do that, you need to rank well in search engine results.

How do you do this?

With search engine optimization, of course.

So what happens after you’ve skimmed through your content, added keywords, and beefed up your technical SEO, and you’re still not ranking the way you want?

What do you do then?

There is one key area you need to focus on: building backlinks.

But how do you do that? And what are backlinks, anyway? Are all backlinks good backlinks?

To find the answers to these questions and more, read on.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are simply links from one website to another.

Sometimes called “inbound links” or “inbound links”, backlinks are one of the most important parts of search engine optimization.

Useful tools for web page creators, backlinks make it easy to cite statistics, claim sources, add context, or make recommendations, among other things.

There is also another type of link called internal links, which are links between pages on the same website. These also play a role in SEO, but we won’t go into details here.

If this is something you are interested in follow this internal link to an excellent Search Engine Journal article on best practices for using internal linking in SEO. (See what we did there?)

Why are backlinks important?

Now that we’ve covered what exactly a backlink is, it’s time for the $10,000 question: why are they important?

The most basic answer to this question is that your site’s backlinks pass PageRank, and search engines then use this in their algorithm (along with many other factors) to help determine how good your website is and where it should rank in the results pages.

They indicate how popular your site is with users and are a essential part of any SEO strategy.

Backlinks also play an important role in your visibility, as users and search engine crawlers will follow links from external sites to your page.

“Awesome”, you might be saying right now. “Let’s go ahead and start generating as many inbound links as possible, so that we start skyrocketing in search results.”

To slow down. You didn’t really expect that to be all it took, did you?

If search engine optimization were that simple, there would be plenty of SEO professionals looking for a new line of work.

Let’s talk about good and bad links first.

What makes a good backlink?

In 1998, when Google was just getting started, it implemented an algorithm called Ranking. One of the things it took into account when deciding whether a web page matched a user query was backlinks.

But even in those early days, not all backlinks were created equal. And while the quantity of your inbound links is factored into your search ranking, the quality also plays an important role.

Let’s break it down: in terms of quantity, the more sites linking to your web page, the stronger the signal sent to Google that your content is valuable and, therefore, worth having. related.

And generally speaking, if your page has more backlinks than a similar page, it will appear higher in organic search results.

This is because whenever a site links to your content, they are essentially vouching for its accuracy and truthfulness.

But don’t think for a second that just any site pointing to your web page is a good thing. Not only can some links do nothing for you, but some can even hurt your search rankings. This means you need to be concerned about the quality of your inbound links.

It’s the internet’s version of judging someone by the company they hang out with – which makes sense if you think about it.

For example, which site would you trust more: a site linked to a government agency, a reputable university, or a respected foundation — or one that your Uncle Joe’s conspiracy blog only links to?

Obviously, the former will carry much more weight, not only for visitors but also for search engines. So, it should come as no surprise that a page with fewer links from high-quality sites outperforms a competitor with more links from disreputable sources.

And speaking of disreputable sources, if your site receives backlinks from link farms or other unnatural links, you may actually be penalized by Google. If you have spam sites linking to your pages, the best thing to do is to disown them to avoid being considered guilty by association. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.

But it’s not just domain reputation that tells Google that inbound link A is more valuable than inbound link B. It also looks at the relevance of the referring site to the topic.

Why are backlinks important?

If your Fantasy Football blog has an inbound link from ESPN and one from Crochet.com, Google will (logically) deem the former link more valuable.

We can track multiple wormholes on link placement, anchor textand the impact of no follow links on your search rankings, but let’s leave that discussion for another day.

For a detailed explanation of determining the value of a backlink, be sure to read this piece.

How many backlinks do I have?

Now that you know the importance of inbound links and their value, it’s time to start thinking about the ones you already have. How do you know which sites are directing traffic to you?

There are two ways to do this: one that only tells you who is linking to your site, and one that you can use to spy on incoming links from competitors.

Checking your links with Google Search Console

Google Search Console should be your best friend if you are a webmaster. It has all sorts of useful tools and reports to help you track performance and troubleshoot issues – and it’s free.

Once you have created an account and verified your site, you can use it to track your backlinks. In the sidebar, there is an option called “Links”.

Screenshot of Google Search Console, October 2022

If you click on it, it will show you the details of your internal and external links. The externals are the ones that interest us at the moment.

Under External Links, you can run three reports: Most Frequent Linking Pages, Most Important Linking Sites, and Most Important Link Texts. Using these, you can determine who is linked to you and from where.

Checking links with a third-party tool

The only downside to using Google Search Console link tracking is that it only allows you to see your site details.

But using third party backlink checkers like Majestic SEO, Semrushand Ahrefsyou can also see what your competitors are doing – and maybe steal some of those links.

Now that we’ve discussed what backlinks are, why they’re important, and how to track them, let’s get to what you’re really here for: building backlinks.

How can I get backlinks?

There are several ways to get other sites linked to yours, but most of them require a bit of effort on your part.

The first and easiest way to get links is to pay for them. But before you pull out your credit card, pay attention to this important caveat: if Google catches you participating in a paid link building scheme, you will be penalized.

Buying links has long been a topic of debate among SEO experts, and some swear by it, while others insist it’s not worth it.

You make your own decisions, but we recommend giving organic link building a try before determining if paid links are an avenue you want to explore.

The next way to build backlinks is to build them. This usually means submitting your website to business directories or commenting on blogs and forums with a link to your site in the signature. These links can be of variable quality. For more information, watch the video below.

A better way to generate inbound links is to earn them. But, of course, it’s a bit trickier.

To earn backlinks, you must have useful content that provides value to others.

For example, you may have a webpage that lists your five favorite immersion blenders. This page can provide value not only to blender makers, who will appreciate the shout out, but also to people buying a new blender or kitchen appliance website.

Content of statistics is always a good way to attract quality backlinks. Statistics are a great way to prove a point and overcome objections.

By providing relevant statistics about your niche, you will establish your site as authoritative and generate many inbound links. Or, you can run polls and post the results to your blog as news.

Then you can promote your news through social media, where others may find your survey data useful and access it from their articles.

If your content is good and caters to a niche, it will slowly start generating backlinks on its own.

But what if you can’t wait that long? What if you wanted backlinks now?

Promote your content through social or paid campaigns to the target audience. Someone may find your article useful and link to it.

Or use one of the third-party tools mentioned in the previous section to find a relevant page with lots of inbound links. Then create better content than the competition and ask the linking domains to direct their links to you instead.

You can also look for broken links or those that redirect to a 404 pages. Once you find one on a relevant site, email the webmaster to let them know. And don’t forget to suggest that they replace the broken link with your page on the same subject.

For more detailed information on these strategies, as well as others you can use, be sure to read This article.

Start building those links

So there you have it: a crash course in link building. At this point, you should have a good idea of ​​what backlinks are, why they are important, and how to build them.

Remember, like everything in SEO, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You are extremely unlikely to see results overnight.

But be patient, create quality content, and look for opportunities to build links; you’ll have loads of inbound links in no time.

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