Simply put, a backlink is any link that points to your website. They can point to your homepage, or to a page within your website structure (a deep link). Each backlink is a signal to the search engines that your website has value, it is almost like an upvote to the algorithm. As an SEO, building quality backlinks is one of the more tedious tasks.
What is link building?
Link building is the practice of attaining links to your website from other websites.
What are some methods of link building?
- Broken link method – find pages with broken links and create content that fits that hole, reach out to the webmaster of the site with your link.
- Resource page method – find websites with resource pages
- Guest posting – find similar websites and trade guest posting opportunities with them.
- Replicate your competitions link profile – knowing who is linking to your competition is just good knowledge to have, getting those links for yourself is even better.
- Reclaim your lost links – if you follow your links in a tool like Ahrefs then you can see what backlinks are lost, reach out and see what has changed and if you can do anything to get that link back
- Steal links – find links that would suit your website and reach out to the webmaster to see if you can provide that content. Your content should be 100% better than what you are trying to replace.
Why bother with link building?
Without a doubt having quality links pointing to your site is beneficial and helps you rank higher in search. It is one of the many factors that the search engines take into account when deciding where to place your site in the organic search results.
All the major search engines take backlinks into consideration when ranking websites for their SERPs. However, they all deal with them differently. For instance, Google does not place that much importance on backlinks anymore while Microsoft Bing likes to see lots of them. Google wants to see relevant links from trusted sites, Microsoft Bing does not really care as much.
The most important question to take into consideration when seeking a backlink is “Is this link relevant to my website?” If the answer is no you might want to consider skipping the link altogether, sometimes they can do more harm than good.
What about buying links on popular pages and in directories?
Buying links is certainly frowned upon by the major search engines and is largely thought of as a means of gaming the system. Google cracks down pretty on hard on shady links and penalizes sites who they believe are trying to game the system. This is rarely an issue with backlinks that look like they happened organically.
But does it work? The answer is, sometimes. Some services offer links in related niche industries or in well-established business directories, these can be valuable links that help with your long term growth. If a service is trying to sell you hundreds of backlinks, you can guarantee those links are coming from sites that will get you penalized by Google. They may work to get you a quick boost in the SERPs but the long-term damage can be difficult to recover from.
Keeping track who links to you and vice versa is the first step to growing your backlink profile.
For help getting more backlinks feel free to contact me.
I write short easy to digest articles on SEO and website performance. My goal is to help clients better understand what it is SEOs do.
Michael Winchester is a website designer and search engine ranking specialist in Southern California.
Michael Winchester Design | (562)283-5688