What is a backlink?

image shows html code, I have been using HTML for more than 20 years.

Simply put, a backlink is any link that points to your website. It is quite literally linking back to you. They can point to your homepage or a page within your website structure like a blog post. Each backlink signals to the search engines that your website has value; it is almost like an up-vote to the algorithm. Although backlinks add value to your website in search terms, some major search engines believe they should only come naturally (i.e., you should not be actively trying to gain them).

What is link building?

Link building is the practice of attaining links to your website from other websites.  While frowned upon backlinks are far more important than just ranking signals for the major search engines, they let potential customers know about your website, and attracting new traffic is a big deal.

What are some methods of link building?

  • Broken link method – find pages with broken links and create content that fits that hole. Then, 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 competition link profile – knowing who links to your competition is 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, 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. The search engines consider it one of the many factors when deciding where to place your site in the organic search results. 

All the major search engines consider backlinks 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, and 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 hard on shady links and penalizes sites that 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. For example, some services offer links in related niche industries or well-established business directories. These can be valuable links that help with your long-term growth. However, 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.

Get organized!

Keeping track of 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.