Backlinks are a crucial part of any SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy. They help your website to rank better in search results which makes your website, and ultimately your business, easier to find online.
To help you get the most out of your website we’re going to explore what backlinks are, why they’re important, and how you can start to create them yourself.
What are backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as one-way links or inbound links, are where another website has linked to your website. This could be a link to a blog post, to a services page, or even to your home page.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks are important for more reasons than you may expect. Here are some benefits that come with hight quality links:
More website traffic
Every backlink is a new link to your website, making it easier for people to find your website. To put this into context, if there are 1,000 websites out there that people are visiting, and each one of those websites has a link to your website, you could be getting traffic to your website from 1,000 different sources, and potentially a lot of future customers.
Better search engine rankings
Backlinks are also recognised by search engines, such as Google, as evidence that your website is sharing valuable content that people want to see. If websites are linking to your website, your website must be sharing useful information that people are looking for, and therefore search engines recognise this. As a result, search engines rank your website higher in their search results for your specific keywords.
Better website reputation
If your website has lots of links from other reputable websites, search engines will take note of this and recognise your website, and the content on your website, as trustworthy.
Improved digital presence
Backlinks help to improve your digital presence. To learn more about why a digital presence is important, read our blog post.
What makes a quality backlink?
Backlinks are slightly more complicated than just building links as there are a few different factors that can change how good a backlink is.
A great way to visualise this is to imagine that a link has weight. If a website links to your website, and that website has a good ranking in the search engines, then that backlink will carry more weight than a backlink from a website without a good ranking, making it a higher quality backlink.
In summary, the more weight that a backlink has, the better quality it is and ultimately, the more beneficial it is for your website.
To help you understand what adds weight to a backlink, we’ve included a few pointers below.
#1 The reputation of the site that’s linking to yours
If a website with a poor reputation is linking to your website, this backlink won’t carry much weight and therefore won’t be very beneficial for your website.
#2 The naturality of the backlink
For backlinks to work best, they should come naturally. This demonstrates to the search engines that your website is full of valuable content, and therefore people should be visiting your site, rather than if you’re buying backlinks to try and one-up the search engines.
#3 The relevance of the backlink to the original page
For a backlink to be effective, the page that it’s coming from should be relevant. As an example, if your company is an eCommerce store focusing on plant care, and you receive a backlink from a blog post titled “Top 10 ways to keep your plants healthy”. Because this link is relevant, people are more likely to find the link to your website helpful and therefore the search engines will recognise this, increasing your website rankings.
#4 The length of the original page
Search engines use ‘web crawlers’ which search the web for new web pages. Based on information from Victorious SEO, the minimum number of words on a page to make a backlink a quality backlink is 500.
Other things factors impact how much weight a backlink has; however, the above are some great pointers to help you ensure you’re obtaining quality backlinks.
How to build backlinks & best practices
Now that we know what makes a quality backlink, we can start to look at ways of building quality backlinks. There are some good methods and some not-so-good methods which we’ll cover to help you avoid making any easy-to-avoid mistakes.
How to build backlinks
Let’s look at some ways of building backlinks for your website.
Creating a guest article for another website is a great way to build a backlink to your website. By creating a guest article, many companies will link back to your website, creating a backlink. Don’t forget to approach companies with a good search engine ranking!
Be interviewed by other companies
Similarly to guest articles, being interviewed by other companies can create a backlink for your website.
Tap into your network
If you have a good network, reach out to them and see if they would be happy to link back to your website. They may offer an opportunity to be interviewed, or for a guest article, so it’s worth reaching out and asking the question.
Promote your content on social media
When you have something of value on your website to share, share it first! Share it across your social media channels so more people can see what you’re sharing on your website. It may just find itself in the right hands.
You can pay for ads to help your website appear more frequently for users. This helps to increase your visibility, but more importantly, it increases your chance of building your backlinks.
Write testimonials for other websites
If a company you use has a testimonials page, see if you can write one for them. This can then create a backlink to your website from your testimonial on their website.
Research competitors backlinks
If you have a good idea of who your competitors are, research into the backlinks that they have and how they have come about. Then, you can decide if those websites are worth approaching for your business.
Create great content!
The ultimate way to gain quality backlinks is to share great content that people want to read. As people read your content, they may find it beneficial to point their audience towards your posts, building your backlinks.
How NOT to build backlinks
Now we know lots of great ways to build backlinks, it’s important to highlight some key things that you shouldn’t do if you want to build quality backlinks.
Pay for them
Paying for backlinks will get you backlinks, but not good ones. In fact, bad backlinks can actually hinder your SEO efforts, rather than helping them, and paying for backlinks very rarely brings good results. It’s important to note here that paying for backlinks can be beneficial if you’re using PPC advertising, but any other form usually brings negative results.
Not providing value on your website
If your website doesn’t offer anything of value to your audience, people aren’t going to link to it.
There are lots of good website directories out there, but some are designed to build links, which is something that search engines now see as a negative.
Backlinks can be very powerful for your website and can be very beneficial if done correctly. As part of our SEO services, we help our clients with building quality backlinks to their website. If you’d like to learn more about building quality backlinks, contact our team today.