For most people who know about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, you have heard of a “backlink” before. If you don’t know much about SEO, you may not know what a backlink is and what’s so great about them. Backlinks are very important to SEO, and in fact they are one of the foundations to effective SEO. After reading this article, you should know the importance of backlinks, why they matter and how you can get backlinks without getting penalized by search engines.
So what exactly are backlinks?
These are actual links that connect and are directed towards your site. Sometimes referred as “inbound links”, or IBLs, backlinks are more powerful in numbers. The more backlinks your website has, the more importance it is in search engines. Backlinks are also important because search engines like Google consider websites with a lot of quality backlinks as more relevant and important than other websites for a search query.
What is the importance of backlinks?
Search engines determine the relevance of a keyword to a website by looking at the amount of quality backlinks the website has. So although it is okay to get some backlinks, it is more imperative that they are of high quality.
How does a search engine determine the quality of a backlink?
Search engines look at the actual content of the websites that are pointing toward your site. Backlinks are considered relevant to your website if the content on their site is related to you. However, if the content is unrelated, then it is considered irrelevant. Basically, the more relevant the backlink content, the better quality.
Here’s an example: if you have a website about cell phones, and you have a backlink from another website about cell phones, then that will be considered relevant by search engines. On the other hand, if you receive a backlink from another website about dog grooming, then it will be less relevant. Again, the more relevance of the backlink pointing towards your site, the better quality.
Search engines consider natural backlinks added slowly over time more important. It is actually quite hard to get external backlinks from another site in order to influence a search engine. More recently, search engines’ criteria for what makes a quality backlink has gotten stricter. This is because of the massive amount of website owners attempting to get backlinks through deceptive measures like hidden links and automated generated websites whose single purpose is to give backlinks. Called “link farms”, these pages are harmful to your website; linking to a link farm can get your website banned from search engines.
You also want to entice people to visit your website, and quality backlinks can achieve that. In order to get people to find your website, you have to have ways for people to find you. Having backlinks help get the word out about your website. You can even use reciprocal back linking.
What is reciprocal back linking?
Some website owners agree to exchange links in order to increase each other’s website rankings. In reciprocal linking, one website owner places the link on his website that directs to another website and vice versa. Sounds good, right? The problem was, many of the link swapping weren’t really relevant to each other. So many of the inbound links that were irrelevant were ignored by search engines, the outbound links were considered, which diluted the search query. This caused a lot of sites to disappear from Google.
If you choose to do reciprocal linking, you must be careful. Google is coming out with a patent that determines the importance of the sites you are linking to, and how trustworthy these links are. This means that you can get penalized by search engines for linking to a bad website. You can prepare for this patent by being more selective with who you reciprocate your links with. If you choose only relevant and trustworthy websites to link to, and they don’t have an excessive amount of outbound links, and that do not practice in deceptive SEO techniques, you will have a better chance with reciprocal linking working to your advantage.
What if you have more than one site?
Are they related to one another, or not? You must be careful about linking your websites on one IP address. For example, if you have 10 websites that are related, then linking to each of them may not be okay. To a search engine, you can be doing something deceptive. Don’t try to take advantage of backlinks using this strategy as too many backlinks to the same IP can be considered “backlink bombing”.
Something for sure is that linking your websites together really doesn’t help. The only reason to link your websites would be to give visitors more sites and resources to visit. If you want to do this, then go ahead, but you should still try to keep the interlinking while using the same IP to a minimum. Only doing it once or twice may not hurt you.
Here are some more things to consider when starting your backlink techniques.
- Make sure you keep a list of your backlinks and know what sites are linking towards you. You should also keep track of the anchor text the backlink integrates keywords to your site. You can keep track of your backlinks using a Domain Stats Tool, which displays the backlinks while searching in Google, Yahoo and MSN. You can also learn more things about your website, like listings in Open Directory (DMOZ), which are backlinks Google deems important, your Alexa traffic rank, and the amount of indexed pages from your website and more.
- Here’s another tool that can help your backlink techniques: Backlink Builder Tool. Remember, having quality inbound links is super important. Backlink Builder Tool searches for sites that are related to yours, and will also add your link to their site. All you do is identify a keyword or phrase, and the tool looks for related sites. Using this tool may simplify your backlink campaign and will help to easily create quality backlinks pointing to your site.
- Another way to get quality backlinks is the use of anchor text. Anchor text is the keyword incorporated in the text or content of the hyperlink. Anchor text is a powerful resource! For example, when hyperlinking, don’t use something like “click here”; instead use some words that are related to your website, like “See our tips page for grooming a dog”. You can find the anchor text being used in your backlinks by using the Backlink Anchor Text Analysis Tool. From using your tool, you can tell if the anchor text in the backlinks pointing towards your site is properly utilized or not. If you find that the anchor text in a backlink isn’t utilized properly, you can request the website owner to change the anchor text to something more relevant. Doing so will increase your quality backlink ranking.
As you have read from this article, getting quality backlinks is the foundation to effective SEO. Since emphasis is placed so much on the importance of backlinks, getting them should be high on your priorities in your SEO campaign. By reading this article, we hope you understand more about the importance of backlinks, and which tools you can use to get them.