Google and the other search engines can now recognize the purpose of our queries and give us the most relevant results. However, search engines are merely algorithms. They can’t tell a page’s accuracy or credibility without relying on backlink signals to give them insight. So what are backlinks exactly?
Backlinks are one of the primary building bricks of any SEO strategy. Although several factors contribute to your overall SEO strategy, backlinks should never be ignored. In fact, Google revealed that link building is one of the top three factors affecting search rankings.
This article cuts through the jargon to explain backlinks, why Google sifts through them, and how a thoughtful link-building strategy can increase your online visibility.
Whenever you read an article, you will likely come across a sentence linked to some additional sources. This refers to backlinks, links created when a website pitches to another.
Also called the “inbound links” and “incoming links,” backlinks tell search engines how trustworthy and authoritative your content is. The more links you get, the more Google considers you a valuable and legitimate website.
The term “World Wide Web” was named for this very reason. With millions of websites and pages connected through a series of links, it does resemble a web.
Short answer: Yes
Long answer: Backlinks are pretty valuable for SEO since they serve as a “vote of confidence” from one website to another.
They are viewed as a confirmation of your content by search engines like Google. The crawlers use these links to rank pages higher on SERPs. According to Moz’s study, 99.2% of all top 50 results have at least one backlink to their page.
Better search engine rankings benefit businesses by providing more organic traffic and discoverability.
Additionally, backlinks provide readers with related and helpful information. When a reader lands on a page that links to your website, they are likely to visit it in search of additional information.
Backlinks are so important to Google that they served as the foundation for creating the original PageRank algorithm. 20+ years later, backlinks are still critical to your online success.
Although backlinks are generally a good idea, some are inherently better to earn, and others should be avoided whenever possible.
Let’s look at four factors that influence backlink value.
One of the essential practices used by search engines is sorting links according to their relevance.
Their goal is to determine if certain websites or pages are related to each other. Google puts more weight on sites topically relevant to yours because people are likelier to click on them.
If a blog post on “how to golf” links to the homepage of your technology company, this is not considered a relevant or high-quality backlink.
Hence, if the content linking to your site isn’t beneficial for both sides, the result will be minimal.
Links from high-authority websites carry more weight and value than links from lesser-quality websites.
For instance, Google values a backlink from CNN as having more authority than one from an unimportant website. This concept is known as “Domain Authority.”
The more authority a site holds, the more it benefits you. Sites with an authoritative backlink profile generate more traffic and rank higher in the search engine results.
Anchor text refers to the clickable text that makes up a backlink. Generally, you want your links to have an anchor text that includes your targeted keyword.
You can significantly impact the ranking of your focus keyword by telling Google that your page is about that specific query or phrase.
A nofollow link is a link that doesn’t provide value to a page. They don’t boost PageRank and don’t help a page’s placement in SERPs.
On the other hand, Followed links tell search engine crawlers to follow hyperlinks and signal relevant and valuable links to crawlers.
Nofollowed backlinks don’t significantly influence the linked page’s rankings. It’s vital to prioritize obtaining followed links as link building requires time and work.
Now that we’ve answered the most prominent questions, let’s look at some of the most beneficial strategies for building backlinks for your site.
Generally, when writing, your goal should be to create something that other content creators and subject matter experts find valuable. Such information can be linked back to your site.
You could create content you are confident about or present pre-existing content better than your competitors.
Creating valuable and relevant content with high authority will generate backlinks. When you deliver high-quality content, it helps in creating equally high-quality backlinks.
Hence, start establishing assets that people are likely to share.
Another reliable way to gain backlinks is by using guest posting. It makes your content accessible to newer audiences and gives you the exposure you need to set your brand up.
Many websites offer contributor accounts or a write for us section where people can write their articles and get featured on the site.
Moreover, they allow you to link your website in the author bio section or within your article.
Guest posting attracts more traffic to your website by targeting a broader audience. Finding these audiences gives you an idea of all the new spaces you can target to make yourself more visible.
So consider reaching out to potential sites and try to land yourself a guest post opportunity.
Broken links refer to links that no longer work properly and need updating. Several websites have broken links hidden inside their sites, causing minor performance issues.
To find broken links, you can first look at your competitors and then move to other websites in your niche. Then use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to uncover all the broken links.
It is a practical strategy to maintain a positive user experience while gaining SEO advantages and backlinks.
It works so well because it adds value to a brand’s page. It helps them fix errors on their websites, allowing you to pitch your site as a replacement.
Infographics are a striking way to present chunks of information using graphics, images, and charts.
They help provide a quick and engaging overview of a topic and break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand visuals.
To create infographics, you don’t need a lot of tools. However, a significant portion of infographics is composed of images. Several websites offer high-quality stock photos. So take your time and find the right stock photos for your infographics.
Condensing niche and complex information into digestible graphics makes your website more shareable.
In short, Google considers over 200 factors or even more to rank websites. However, one thing is for sure: backlinks are one of the most significant SEO factors.
Backlinks can give your website the extra boost to get to the top and enjoy the benefits of 24/7, non-stop organic traffic.
But obtaining those valuable links is not simple. Web owners tend to devote all their time to building great websites. However, they don’t get the rankings they deserve because of a poor link profile.
You need the proper techniques and time to strengthen your link profile. Use the above guidelines to get started. Good luck!