If you own a business website, you might have stumbled upon search engine optimization (SEO) in your quest to market your business effectively. Four facets make up a successful strategy in SEO: content, keywords, meta tags, and backlinks. But what are backlinks and why are they important?
What is a backlink?
Have you ever noticed highlighted words in a blog that, when you click, take you to another website? That is a backlink, or inbound link. Backlinks help promote a blog or website from another website.
For example, if a cake and pastry shop (website A) links to a blog post about the source of their baking tools (website B), the baking tool's website will receive a backlink from the cake and pastry shop site.
While backlinks seem to work efficiently, writers and content creators should be careful about including links to their blogs because quality really matters when it comes to backlinks. The reason being is that some links may damage your business website more than you think.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks affect your search engine optimisation and search engine results page ranking. Search engines like Google use algorithms to rank pages.
Like a popularity contest, millions of websites battle for top positions on Google's search engine results page (SERP). Backlinks act as a vote of confidence from one site to another, indicating the value to Google.
The good and bad sides of backlinks
If you want to gain a vote of confidence from Google, use links from trustworthy sites. These websites tell search engines, like Google, that a trusted authority is vouching for your content, giving your website a boost in the top ranks of SERP.
However, backlinks from a suspicious site may not help at all. If you accidentally link to a spammy website, your rank may be affected tremendously and incur penalties. These types of backlinks are called ‘toxic’ backlinks.
How can you gain backlinks?
Now that you know backlinking to a trustworthy website boosts your SERP rank, it goes without saying that backlinks are an essential off-site search engine optimisation strategy. Here are three ways to earn backlinks.
There is no true definition of a, ‘natural backlink’ except that most call it a valuable backlink that is not given any action by the website owner.
You can obtain ‘natural links’ if the content is in a natural context, meaning the content surrounding the link is relevant to that on the target page, provides value for the audience, and has anchor text or the usually highlighted words that display a hyperlink.
You can earn manual links from link-making activities like guest blogging. For example, with the illustration above, if the baking tool's website requested a link from the cake and pastry shop site via guest blogging, the backlink would be manual. When guest blogging, make sure to link your website within the relevance of your content.
Site managers create self-created backlinks by adding them to a forum, online directory, or blog comment. While this is the easiest backlink to earn, it is also the one that experts advise you to stray from because most strategies tend toward black-hat techniques that can negatively harm your search engine reputation.
While backlinks are desirable, and some may be advantageous, not all of them are as valuable as others. Therefore, understanding what influences your backlink's value is vital for link building and assessing your backlink profile.
if you would like to improve how your website is ranking in organic search, get in touch to find out more about how we can help you.