Do you want to get your website to the top of the search engine results?
If so, then you need to understand backlinks–one of the most important factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking websites.
In this beginner’s guide, we’ll discuss what backlinks are, why they’re important, and how you can start acquiring them for your website.
How backlinks work
A backlink is an external or inbound link on another website that links back to yours.
When it comes to SEO, backlinks are like votes. Search engines view these as validation indicators from other sites that you offer quality content.
The more quality backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank in the search engine results pages. However, not all backlinks are created equal.
Google looks at a number of factors when determining the quality of a backlink, such as:
- The authority and popularity of the website that is linking to you
- The relevance and reputation of said website
- The anchor text of the backlink (i.e., the text that is linked to your website)
You’ll only want to receive backlinks from relevant, high quality sites. Otherwise, Google may actually penalize you.
Acquiring high quality backlinks
If you want to improve your website’s SEO, then you need to start focusing on acquiring high-quality backlinks.
But how do you do that?
Here are a few easy ways to do so:
- Reach out to other websites in your niche and ask for a link
- See who’s linking to your competitors
- Ask for a link back from sites that mention your brand
- Submit your website to relevant niche directories
- Pitch research to the press
- Write guest blog posts on other websites
- Create high quality content that others will want to link to
- Ask your partners or suppliers to place a link to your site on theirs
Types of backlinks
Because not all backlinks are created equal, it’s important to note the differences between the types.
These are links from low-quality or spammy websites that can actually hurt your website’s ranking. Toxic backlinks are a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can be anything from paid links that aren’t properly marked, an unnatural number of links using the same anchor text, or links from bookmark sites or other low quality directories.
User-generated content (UGC) links are backlinks that come from comments, reviews, or forum posts. These are generally seen as more valuable than links that come from the website itself because it proves that the readers are interested.
High authority backlinks
High authority backlinks are links that come from popular websites with a lot of traffic. These are generally the most valuable type of backlink because they’re coming from a website that is already trusted by Google.
Editorial backlinks come from news articles, blog posts, or other editorial content. They’re highly valued organic links that are not typically asked for, unless you’ve reached out to said site with a guest post. Google really likes these because their purpose is to enhance the user experience rather than finesse the search engine algorithm.
These are links that don’t pass along link juice (i.e., they don’t help improve your website’s ranking). The purpose of these links are to allow someone to link to your site without having to vouch for it. They look like this: <a href=”https://www.yoursite.com/” rel=”nofollow”>.
These are the types of links that you want to focus on acquiring. They pass along link equity and help improve your website’s ranking. Dofollow links are just your everyday link without a nofollow tag.
Paid backlinks are links that you’ve acquired by paying for them. These generally aren’t as valuable as organic backlinks because Google can easily spot them (they’ll include a rel=”sponsored” attribute) and they don’t necessarily indicate that your website offers quality content.
Backlinks aren’t the only determining factor of SEO success. Page speed, local optimization, quality content, site security, internal linking, on-page and off-page optimization, and mobile responsivity are all important factors as well. For help creating your SEO strategy, schedule a free strategy call with Bizzuka.