Why Backlinks Are So Important For SEO
Backlinks have played a key role in successful SEO strategies for a long time and they’re as important today as they’ve ever been. But as always, the trick is making sure you prioritise quality over quantity.
This article discusses the importance and advantages of backlinks and provides some tips on how you can accumulate them.
Quite simply, backlinks are links back to your website that appear on other websites. They’re also known as inbound or one-way links.
Backlinks have remained an important and constant part of Google’s ranking signals, despite the search engine giant’s algorithm undergoing significant changes over the years. In fact, they’re still one of Google’s top-ranking factors, so clearly it’s crucial to keep them high up on your SEO ‘to do’ list!
Google sees backlinks as a ‘vote of confidence’ in your website. They add credence and authority to your website and the better quality they are, the better it is for your search engine rankings and your SEO.
But as mentioned earlier, the key is quality over quantity.
When the search engine bots and spiders are crawling sites, they pick up backlinks and aggregate the volume and relevance (ie authority) of the pages that have links back to your site. The more authoritative the page, the more weight it lends to your search engine ranking.
It’s like providing references on your CV. You choose people of good standing who command respect and who will make you look good. References from dodgy characters could cast doubt on your integrity and damage your reputation. In the same way, backlinks are ‘references’ for websites. Good ones are powerful and bad ones can be harmful.
A good backlink is one which appears on a website that has higher page authority. Backlinks that come from websites with which have good domain authority are good, if a website already has a good domain authority it means that other good quality high authority websites already link to them, this could be corporate websites or high authority news websites.
In conjunction with having a good domain authority, the more relevant a backlink, the more value Google places on it. Having backlinks from websites which are relevant to your industry means a better “vote” for your website, if you think about offline relationships, a recommendation from someone who is already in your industry would have more credibility than from someone who isn’t.
The placement of backlinks is also important. The higher up the page, the better. They tend to have less authority and be less valuable if they’re hidden in lower-level pages or in a footer.
- They improve your organic ranking
- They position your business as an expert and leader in your industry/market
- They enhance your online reputation
- They boost referral traffic
- They improve your page and domain authority
It’s really important to have a proper plan in place to acquire backlinks. If you go about it in a haphazard, unstructured way, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to gain a competitive advantage.
There are four main ways of getting good backlinks.
Organic backlinks are SEO gold and the very best way to earn these is through quality content.
An organic backlink happens when a user is so impressed by your great content that they either link to it or share it. They obviously only make that decision if the content is relevant, unique, useful, thought-provoking, authoritative, educational etc – and that’s why you need to make sure your content is exceptional!
Stay active on social media, regularly add to your blog pages, publish articles, reviews, case studies, user guides etc and create other types of content (images, videos etc) which are engaging, fresh and shareable!
Networking and relationship building is another way you can build backlinks. Again, you really need a plan of action here. Some suggestions include making contact with other website owners and managers and asking for a link to your content, writing guest posts for other blogs, methodically checking for unlinked mentions of your business or brand on other websites or broken links and then requesting that a working link be added.
Another way of accumulating backlinks is by creating inbound links yourself. You can add your website to business directories, comment on blogs where appropriate and reply to threads on industry forums.
4. Checking Out Your Competitors
One of the easiest ways of getting backlinks (which is often overlooked!) is by researching your competitors. All you need to do is literally Google their business names and see what websites they come up for. If those websites are relevant to your business, click through to them and see if the pages include a backlink to your rivals’ webpages. If they do, you should pursue the same opportunity for your website.
That said, acquiring backlinks does time a bit of time and effort and although it is not particularly technical, it is a crucial element of SEO.
If you are looking for search engine success and want all the insider tricks, tips and techniques, my new self-managed SEO course may be for you. I designed The SEO School on the back of decades of experience of SEO in Perth and it is specifically aimed at website owners and managers who want greater online visibility but who don’t have a huge budget to outsource the job. The SEO School is an easy to understand, hands-on modular course and is guaranteed to deliver results!
Find out more or book your course at The SEO School.
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