Backlinks are one way links on a website. Any link on this page to another, is a backlink for the website I’ve linked to.
They’re super important when it comes to SEO. Backlinks formed the foundation of Google’s algorithm back in the day. In fact, despite the abundance of changes since then, Google confirmed they are still one of the three most important factors of its algorithm today.
A backlink kind of acts as a vote from someone else. It’s like someone saying, “Hey Google, this is good stuff if you haven’t seen it already”. So, the more backlinks you have, the higher your page ranking will be.
What’s important when it comes to backlinks?
As with most elements of SEO, you can’t just go adding a million backlinks from phony websites and think Google won’t know. It will! Quality over quantity is key here. You know the age old saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? Well, think of backlinks like that. One good one is worth a thousand not so good ones.
Domain authority is a big factor in the recognising of backlinks. The more prominent a website is, the better its link is considered by Google. A bit like the news, what do you trust more, ABC or the Daily Mail? These links aren’t easy to get, but they’re absolutely worth the effort you need to put in if you can get them.
Keywords – SEO and keywords go hand in hand, and your keywords still come into play here with backlinks. (If you’ve not brushed up on keywords yet, you can start here.)
Ideally, if you get a backlink, you want the anchor text, (the text visible to the user, underlined and highlighted in blue in most cases), to include your keyword. For example, if you were to link back to this page the ideal anchor would be something like ‘ find out more about, backlinks and why they’re important here’ because that contains what you’ve probably already guessed is a keyword here, backlinks.
But of course, links aren’t created by you, so you won’t have control over that. If your keyword is obvious enough throughout the text hopefully it will be chosen by the linker as the anchor text.
Related websites – Back to that thought about making a phony website and adding a link, or maybe paying people to add backlinks. Google finds your backlinks much more valuable when they’re from a related website. For instance, if a web design, photography, SEO or videography website links through to our website, Google will see that as a far more valuable link than say a fishing charter website linking to us. Someone on a related topic is more likely to click through from that link which is why it’s considered more valuable.
How do I get them?
Earning links takes time and effort. It’s not a quick process and you can’t just send a blanket email to a bunch of websites and ask them to add a link to your site. Well, you could, but there’s an extremely high chance it would get you absolutely nowhere.
You need to have content that people want to see, this is sometimes referred to as a linkable asset. It could be a blog post, like this one, a video, a great photo, a quiz, anything that people will want to see. Once you have that, people can link to it. If people won’t find it useful, funny or important, why would they link to it?
There are lots of things you can do to try and get backlinks to your website, here are a few;
- Guest posting – Finding guest posting opportunities usually comes with a little byline and a link to your website. A lot of people skip this option now but it’s still very valuable when starting out.
- Interviews – If you can find opportunities to interview, even if it’s locally, these often come with backlinks too.
- Link roundups – usually on a weekly or monthly basis, these are blog posts that contain links to other blog posts, something like, ‘10 best SEO posts of the week’.
- Testimonials – If you can give a testimonial for something, depending on how the website is set up, they may add a photo, name and link to your website.
- Link reclamation – If you come across, (or you can search for), someone mentioning your site but not adding a link, you can reach out to them and ask that they add a link. Not everyone will, but it can’t hurt to ask. Chances are they will, given they’ve already found your content interesting or useful enough to share in the first place, which is the hard part.
- Check your competitors backlinks – where are they getting the majority of their links from, can you dip your toe in that pool and put yourself out there?
As mentioned, gaining backlinks is not an easy process, but is it worth it.
Hopefully now you have a little better understanding of what backlinks are and why they’re important. If you’re looking for some help trying to build your backlinks, we can help.
We help with all things SEO and it’s completely tailored to you, so whether you just need help with this part or you’re looking for complete SEO training, we’ve got you covered.