What is a backlink?
A backlink refers to a hyperlink on one website that directs users to another website. If you’re a website owner, you want reputable websites to backlink to yours. They’re a crucial part of an effective content marketing strategy, as Google uses them as a factor for search engine optimization (SEO).
Google uses backlinks as a ranking factor because they act like “votes” for your site. If someone links to you, it’s usually because you provide more valuable information or are a subject matter expert. Both reasons for linking are a “hey, this site is great” signal for search engines.
While the definition of a backlink is simple, acquiring them for SEO gains is fraught with misunderstandings and disagreements, plus a lot of manipulation in the early years of SEO. Because of that, many SEO myths still exist today.
Why are backlinks so important?
Backlinks are a vote of confidence, indicating that the linked website is trustworthy and valuable. The more high-quality backlinks a website receives from reputable sources, the higher its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
They also play a role in the indexing of your website. When search engine bots crawl websites, they follow backlinks to find and index new pages. Backlinks from well-established websites can expedite the process of getting your content discovered.
You also want to invest in a strong backlink strategy to establish your superiority over your competitors. By landing more high-value sites, you can outrank competitors in search results, attract more traffic, and show your brand as a leader in your industry. Your competition won’t stand a chance if your site is always the first in line when people search for products in your field.
The real value of backlinks is when you get multiple links around a certain subject pointing to your content. That’s a strong indication that you’re the subject matter expert, and Google can be confident about serving your content higher in search results around said subject. Read up on Google’s E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) for more on subject matter expertise.
- Backlinks aren’t just there for Google — they’re for users! A user will follow the link to gain more knowledge or resources around their query, meaning you’re getting referral traffic via those links.
- They can be either Dofollow or Nofollow.
- Google also provides a link tool within Search Console, although it doesn’t offer as much data as other tools.
Not All Backlinks Are Created Equal
Unlike most things on the internet, search engines prioritize the quality of backlinks rather than the quantity. High-quality backlinks come from other reputable websites relevant to your industry or niche websites with authoritative content. Low-quality or spammy backlinks from dubious sources can harm your website’s reputation.
No Follow links
“No follow” links contain a special HTML attribute called rel=” nofollow.” The major search engines introduced this concept to combat manipulative link-building practices. No follow links are commonly used for user-generated content, comment sections, paid advertisements, or any other situation where the website owner wants to prevent potential penalties for unnatural linking.
Do Follow links
Do follow links refer to any backlink not marked with the HTML attribute rel=”nofollow.” These allow search engine crawlers to follow the link and pass SEO value from the linking page to the linked page.
How do I know if my backlink strategy is effective?
The following methods will help you check your backlink effectiveness.
- Analytics Tools: Such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush provide comprehensive insights into your backlink profile, including the number of links, referring domains, and anchor text distribution.
- Keyword Rankings: Search consoles and webmaster tools are online platforms that can help you monitor keyword positions and track changes.
- Organic Search Traffic: Google Analytics can help you monitor your website’s organic search traffic. If you notice a steady growth in organic traffic, your backlinks positively influence your website’s visibility.
- Referral Traffic: Web analytics tools can provide insights into the traffic sources, including websites that are referring visitors. If you notice a significant amount of traffic coming from relevant websites, it indicates that your backlinks are generating referral traffic.
What are some ways to improve backlink strategy?
Quality counts, and getting the right, high-value sites to link to yours requires strategic thinking. Remember, no matter how easy it may be, don’t be spammy when soliciting backlinks. The following methods will help you generate the right partnerships to boost your strategy.
Many businesses and individuals leverage guest blogging on other sites to earn backlinks. By creating high-quality content in your industry, you can include relevant links to your website within a guest post. It not only helps build relationships with a new audience but generates valuable backlinks that enhance your SEO.
You can benefit from their existing audience and credibility by partnering with industry experts to create content such as interviews, expert roundups, or collaborative blog posts. These influencers often link back to the content they contribute to, providing valuable exposure to your website.
Creating linkable assets, such as comprehensive guides, research papers, infographics, or interactive tools, can attract backlinks naturally. These improve your SEO, drive targeted traffic, and establish your brand as an authority.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves finding broken links on other reputable websites and offering your content as a replacement. This technique benefits both parties — the website owner fixes their broken link, and you earn a new backlink.
If you’re still struggling with your backlink strategy, talk to a content specialist at ClearVoice today about creating optimized content for your brand that will help you build a high-authority backlink profile today.