The internet is an open forum where anyone and everyone is allowed to have a voice. While this is a great asset to creativity and accessibility, it can be difficult to determine what content on the internet is true or false.
For search engines, crawling through the vast amounts of digital content can be a complex task. How is a search engine bot supposed to know the difference between legitimate and illegitimate material?
How they can translate what they know to searchers and ensure that the search engine results pages (SERPs) are accurate and well-curated?
Enter: backlinking. One of the most important digital marketing tools in your SEO toolkit.
In this post, we’ll explain what backlinks are, how they impact your SEO, how to build high-quality backlinks, and offer some simple tools to guide you.
Interested in learning more SEO tips and tricks? Check out our latest range of SEO guides:
What are Backlinks for SEO?
Backlinks are links from one page to another. This can be in the form of a hyperlink, in a blog or article, through a listing, such as Yelp, Google My Business, and so on, or even a tag on social media.
Every time you see a hyperlink that connects to another page, that counts as a backlink.
Backlinks are also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links”, and “one-way links”.
SEO Backlinking Glossary
Backlinking has been around since the early days of Google algorithms. That being said, a lot has changed since the early implementation of this tactic.
Here are a few terms you should be familiar with when diving into a backlinking strategy:
- Link Juice: Link juice is a term used to describe the lift in search rankings your website receives when it acquires a backlink. Link juice refers to the “juice” given to a webpage through a backlink.
- Anchor Text: Anchor text is the text you use to insert a hyperlink. By using words and phrases that are relevant to the link you are pointing to, you can improve your search results. For example, Woocommerce SEO is better anchor text than click here to learn more about Woocommerce SEO.
- Do-Follow Link: Links that pass link juice to another site are called do-follow links.
- No-Follow Link: Links that do not pass link juice to another site are called no-follow links. In order to use a no-follow link, a webmaster must input a no-follow tag when linking out.
- Internal Links: Links that connect to another page within the same domain are called internal links.
- External Links: Links that connect to a website or page out of the linking domain are called external links.
- Low-Quality Links: Low-quality links can have a negative impact on your SEO. They often come from low-authority sites or spam sites and cause search engines to doubt the authority of your site.
- Linking Root Domains: Linking root domains refers to the number of backlinks that are coming into your website. It’s important to note that each domain can only provide one linked root domain. This means that even if a website links to you ten times, you’ll only benefit from the link once.
Why Are Backlinks Important for SEO?
Backlinking is one of the best SEO tactics you can harness to improve your online traffic.
Search engines use backlinks to determine the authority of a webpage. They do this by assuming that the more people who link back to a page the more they enjoyed it, found it legitimate, and want to share it with others.
For example, if we publish an article about “The Hottest Web Design Trends for 2021” a search engine has no reason to believe that our claim is legitimate.
But, if three other websites link back to our blog, it shows the search engine that people enjoy our content and found it useful. Therefore, the search engine will position our blog higher in the SERP than a blog that has no backlinks aka no social proof.
You can think of backlinks as a vote of authority for your content that shows search engines what you’re saying is true.
According to Google, backlinks are in the top three most important ranking factors for SEO.
Data from ahrefs has also proved that the more backlinks a web page has, the more organic traffic it will receive.
Backlinks for Off-Page SEO
Backlinks are an important part of your off-page SEO strategy as they work outside of your website to improve your organic traffic.
The three main types of links that affect off-page SEO are:
- Natural links: Links that happen organically without any effort from the site owner.
- Manual links: Links that come from link-building activities such as influencer marketing campaigns or asking other sites to link to yours.
- Self-created links: Come from adding your business to an online directory, forum, or blog.
Here are a few more important off-page SEO tactics to consider when building out your strategy.
- Improve your website loading speed
- Make your website visitors stay longer
- Create a responsive web design
What is a Backlink Strategy?
Backlinking strategies are deliberate actions that you take to improve your websites rank, traffic, and reputation through SEO.
When designing your website for SEO, consider the types of content you’re creating and how likely it is that other sites will link back to you.
Adding a blog, creating infographics, and listing your business on directories from the start are all great examples of backlinking strategies.
Common Backlinking Questions
There are many questions around backlinks for SEO, some of which the answers leave people thinking it’s some sort of dark art and confused.
We answer some of the common FAQs below.
SEO backlinking FAQs
- What is backlinking in SEO? Backlinking refers to one site linking to another. In SEO, backlinks help search engines determine the legitimacy of online content through popularity.
- What is an example of a backlink? Backlinks can come in many forms, but the most widely used backlinking strategy is a hyperlink with anchor text. This looks like this: SEO mistakes to avoid.
- Does backlinking still work? Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in search engine results. Backlinks are the foundation of Google’s PageRank algorithm.
- How do you build backlinks? You can build backlinks organically by creating high-quality and legitimate content, or, you can use link-building strategies such as engaging with influencers, leveraging media partnerships, or paying for guest blogs.
- How can I get free backlinks? The easiest way to get free backlinks is to create great content on an ongoing basis and support it with digital promotions and marketing.
Are All Backlinks Created Equal?
No, all backlinks are not created equal.
Much like you would optimise images for your website, you need to optimise your backlinks to ensure high-quality results.
Bad backlinks, or backlinks that come from low authority or low-trust websites, can do real damage to your SEO rankings. This is because search engines like Google have systems in place to deter link-building schemes or black-hat SEO strategies.
In contrast, even one good quality backlink can offer a major boost in your search rankings.
What is a Good Backlink?
The best backlinks come from sites with high online authority.
Factors such as a site’s popularity, trustworthiness, the number of links on the page, and the anchor text used for the link can all affect the quality of a backlink.
Good backlinks are relevant to the content on the page they are linking to.
For example, if you’re writing about WordPress plugins you shouldn’t be linking to an article about giraffes.
Unrelated or distracting backlinks will be penalized by Google and hurt your SEO efforts.
How to Get Backlinks for Your Website
Successful backlinking is an easy SEO win that can continue to bring in revenue for your business for years to come.
Here are our top five backlinking strategies to improve your online traffic
1. Use Content Types that Generate Links
Certain content types are more “linkable” than others.
The most widely linked content is:
- Why posts
- What posts
- How-to posts
When creating new content for your website, leverage these well-known tactics and encourage users to share.
Promoting your content regularly and widely can make a huge difference in the quantity and quality of your backlinks.
Here’s an example of an infographic we used to show the top Google searches of 2020.
2. Write Long-Form Content
Long-form content is one of the best ways to get organic backlinks to your website.
According to Backlinko, content that is upwards of 3,000 words gets an average of 77.2% more backlinks than content shorter than 1,000 words.
There is also a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that Google prioritizes long-form content in SERPs.
In fact, a post on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog featured this quote:
“Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic.”
While the media may try to convince you that global attention spans are declining, there is evidence to support the idea that long-form content is valued by online users.
Try mixing up your blogging strategy with some long-form pieces and test your URLults.
You can also expand on existing content by increasing the word count and adding more shareable content, such as infographics.
3. List Your Business on Directories
Online directories are one of the easiest ways to get high-quality backlinks.
Why? Because directory sites are some of the most trafficked web pages on the internet.
Google My Business has a domain authority of 100 (the highest possible rating).
Yelp has a domain authority of 74.
Foursquare comes in at 92.
Having your business listed and linked in any one of these directories means a huge boost for your SEO score.
Not to mention, the investment is usually little to none.
4. Leverage Guest Posting
Guest posting refers to paid or free partnerships wherein your blog is featured on a competitors site.
Guest posting is a great way to get strategic backlinks on high-authority websites.
The catch? You have to convince them to feature your content.
When looking for guest posting opportunities, use search terms like:
- “Write for us”
- “Become an author”
- “Guest post”
- “Guest article”
- “In url: contribute”
You can also make your searches more granular by including your topic or market before the above queries.
Other tools, such as ahref’s Content Explorer, can help you sift through online content to find blogging sites that best match your style and content.
When you do find the right fit, be sure to check their domain authority to ensure you’ll get high-quality link juice to your site.
Generally, a site with a domain authority between 21 and 70 is a good call. Anything above 70 is a unicorn and if you get the chance to be linked by them, you’d better take it.
5. Pay Attention to Competitor Backlinks
Sometimes, the best tactics are the ones we learn from others.
If you want to improve your SEO rankings, what better way to start than to analyze and copy your competitor’s hard work.
Start by using a backlink checker to see what kind of backlinks your competitors have secured.
- ahrefs backlink checker
- Neil Patel backlink checker
- Small SEO backlink checker
- SEM Rush backlink checker
Once you see where your competitors are getting their links, reach out to those same sites and see if you can get your site listed.
You may find out surprising data, such as the fact that podcast features can act as great backlinks, or that your competitors have a bunch of black-hat SEO tactics going on.
Where to Buy Backlinks
We recommend against buying backlinks.
Buying backlinks is seen as a black-hat SEO strategy and Google ignores paid backlinks. In fact, they are particularly against the exchange of money for links.
Not to mention, most paid backlinks come from low-authority link farm websites, which won’t help your overall SEO score.
SEO Backlink Services in Birmingham
If you’re looking to improve your organic traffic and overall SEO ranking with backlinks, you’re going to need the help of an SEO expert.
If you’re looking to improve your organic traffic and overall SEO ranking with backlinks, you’re going to need the help of an SEO expert
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