To stand out in a competitive online market, you must develop strategies to bring in new clients. Most visitors to your website come in as part of organic search traffic through search engines like Google.
You may already be familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) and how it may help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPS).
However, SEO is complicated, and many website owners may struggle to fully wrap their heads around every ranking factor that could potentially influence where they appear on those all-important SERPs.
Backlinks are one of the most significant components of SEO since they show search engines that your website is a trustworthy one that has authority, especially if it is linked to by other trustworthy and authoritative domains.
Having an efficient and successful strategy for building backlinks is vital to your position in the SERPs. The more quality backlinks you collect, the higher your search engine ranking will be. But how does that actually work?
Let’s take a look at the world of backlinks and find out.
Table of Contents
If you are new to SEO, you might be wondering, “What are backlinks?” SEO backlinks are an important building block in all SEO strategies.
At their simplest, they are external links from other websites to yours. High-quality backlinks may boost your search engine rating and improve search visibility, resulting in more visitors to your website.
Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”) are hyperlinks that connect a page on one website to a different page on another website via anchor text.
Backlinks are considered “votes” for a given website by Google and other search engines, indicating that the website being linked to has high-quality content, relevance, and authority in its field.
Pages that have a high number of relevant domains linking to them typically score well in organic search engine results.
Backlinking is only one component of SEO. Because backlinking occurs outside of your website, it is referred to as off-page SEO, as opposed to on-page SEO, which relates to the content on your website.
High-quality backlinks are similar to endorsements in that they are a suggestion from another website that users should click through to see your material in order to learn more about whatever topic they are discussing.
External Links vs Internal Links
There are two main types of links that you need to be aware of external links and internal links. These are very different things, and it is important to know the difference.
An internal link is a link that points from one page of your website to another page that is also on your own site. So, for example, a link from your homepage to one of your own blog post pages would be an internal link.
An external link, on the other hand, is a link that points from one page of a website to a page on a different website. So, if you include a link on your site that points to a completely different site rather than a different page on your site, that is an external link.
An external link from your site to someone else’s site is generally referred to as an outbound link: it is going out from your site to someone else’s. An external link pointing from someone else’s site to your site, however, is an inbound link.
Incoming links, or inbound links, are what backlinks to your site are. These are what we are going to be focusing on in all our link building efforts.
Backlinks are essentially votes cast by other websites. Each of these votes conveys to search engines the message, “This content is valuable, credible, and useful.”
As a result, the greater the number of these “votes” you have, the better your site will rank in the results pages on Google and all of the other major search engines.
This has always been the case: in fact, Google’s earliest algorithm for search engine rankings, PageRank, was primarily built on measuring how many website links pointed back to each site.
Let’s break this down and look at the numerous ways in which backlinks might help your SEO efforts.
Improving Search Rankings
Backlinks are one of the most important indications used by Google when ranking content.
Because Google considers external links to be popularity votes for a website’s content, there is a significant association between sites with a high number of quality backlinks and higher ranks.
Backlinks from spammy or low-quality websites might be common. However, they are unlikely to have the same impact as a few backlinks from authority sites that are relevant to your topic.
In fact, they can be actively harmful: if Google thinks you are trying to manipulate the algorithm with fake links, you will be penalized.
Essentially, if a large, trustworthy website with high domain authority like Wikipedia, a government website, or one of the really big leaders in your niche includes a link to your web page on their site, Google is going to see that as a big vote of confidence that an industry leader thinks you have relevant content worth linking to.
That’s why it is important for any site owner to try to build backlinks from authoritative websites.
Increasing Your Credibility
Take note of your referring domains or the number of different domains that link to your web pages. Having a diverse range of backlinks from a variety of sources demonstrates your trustworthiness.
Backlinks are, therefore, important for SEO. Backlinks are also advantageous when significant websites in your sector link to and acknowledge you for reasons beyond the Google algorithm, which we will get to shortly.
Consider it to be a sort of online version of word of mouth. You are more likely to be inclined to trust a company that multiple trustworthy friends have suggested to you. Google sees things the same way!
If just one website is linking to you, that does not count for very much, even if they are including loads of backlinks to your site. In fact, that might even start to look suspicious.
If lots of different reputable websites are linking to you and using a wide range of different anchor text in those links, that looks much more like many people like and respect your work, so your credibility will rise in Google’s estimation.
Sending Referral Traffic To Your Site
Referral traffic is a term that refers to traffic from visitors who find your website from another website rather than looking for it on Google. They were “referred” to you by another source, such as backlinks.
Referral traffic can bring a wide range of benefits for your site and your SEO, including increased brand awareness, easier introduction to new audiences, tremendous chances for new qualified prospects, and higher authority from backlinks. New referral traffic can attract interested individuals to your website, perhaps resulting in new customers.
If you want to monitor your referral traffic, all you have to do is go to Google Analytics. Google Analytics, along with Google Search Console, is a vital tool for all site owners.
Navigate to “Acquisition,” then “All Traffic,” then “Referrals” on the left-hand navigation pane. This will show you your referral traffic and how it has changed over time.
More importantly, you will also see a table with all of the external sources that are referring people to your site.
Helping Google Find Your Content
Backlinks also make it easier for Google to locate your material. When Google follows a backlink to a new page, the page is crawled to find all the links on it.
As a result, you should employ an internal linking structure as well as work on external link building. That means that pages on your own website should link to one another.
This means that Google can simply follow a backlink to your website and then follow internal links to find new pages.
If you do not have internal linking, the Google crawlers will only be able to find each page separately from individual backlinks from other sites, which can take much longer.
This is an important technique to ensure that Google can comprehend the structure of your site. Google crawls your site and then indexes the pages it finds.
All of this increases the likelihood of your site appearing in search results – and if you do not appear in search results at all, you are not going to get much organic traffic!
When we are talking about link building and domain authority, not all backlinks are equal.
Any relevant link is good, but in the eyes of search engine algorithms, some types of links are more useful to your link building strategy than others. This is where something called “link equity” comes in.
There are two different link attribute categories you need to be aware of for your Google rankings: dofollow and nofollow.
A dofollow link is the most important type of link for your search rankings. This type of link passes link equity, often known as link juice.
What that means is that if high-authority websites link to your content, some of their authority will trickle down the link from the high-authority sites to you, increasing the authority of your site as a result.
A dofollow link is what you really want when you are pursuing relevant backlinks for your site. The link juice you gain from these types of backlinks will help you rank higher in the SERPS, as it will make you look more authoritative.
Most high-quality links are of the dofollow variety, but they are not the only high-authority backlinks out there.
A nofollow link is the opposite of a dofollow one: it does not pass any link juice down to you from authoritative websites.
That does not mean that nofollow links are worthless, though. The number of backlinks to your website is just as important as having high-quality links.
Buying paid links that are nofollow is a bad idea, but any seasoned digital marketing professional will tell you that having a high number of backlinks from multiple sites will help your SEO ranking significantly, even if they are of the nofollow variety.
There are many different ways you can get backlinks, from link exchanges to paid link building to just waiting for a link created organically.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to get more backlinks with high link popularity and avoid the scourge of spam links.
Write Good Content
The first and most basic tip is simply to create the best content you possibly can. Creating content that people naturally want to link to is one of the most effective ways to gain backlinks.
This material can be informative, thought-provoking, humorous, or anything else that people want to share a link to on their site.
Provide detailed, helpful information such as blog entries, infographics, and video material designed to educate. Use keyword research to determine the sorts of content that consumers are looking for in your field.
You could, for example, produce a case study or a blog article that demonstrates how to do something. There is a reasonable likelihood that people in your field may want to reference your article.
To generate really effective link bait content, however, you must ensure that it is search engine optimized.
Search engines determine what material people tend to find, and if nobody can find your great article through a Google search, nobody is going to link to it!
In SEO, guest blogging is the process of producing a blog post or similar online piece for another website and providing a link back to your site in the article. Guest posting is beneficial to SEO since it boosts your website’s visibility, authority, and backlinks.
Usually, you will do this as part of an exchange: you will write a guest post for someone else’s site, and they will write a guest post for yours in return.
Make certain that the website on which you are guest writing is related to your niche. It is preferable to have an article on a topically related website for SEO reasons as well as to receive targeted traffic from consumers interested in your business.
Check that the website on which you are guest posting has a high domain authority and good regular traffic. Typically, the higher the domain authority, the more useful your backlink will be.
In addition, try to acquire a post on a site with at least a thousand visitors per month. This signifies that the site is well-regarded by Google and may deliver you high-quality traffic via backlinks.
When linking back to your website from a guest post for off-page SEO, use your anchor text carefully. The text you use to link a word or phrase to your website is known as anchor text.
Anchor text with keyword stuffing may appear spammy and may result in Google penalizing your page. It is important to be careful with anchor text when you build backlinks.
Overall, guest posts are probably the single most popular method of link building around at the moment – and for good reason! Take a look in Google Search Console after you have done a round of guest posting, and you will see just how much your metrics are improving.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a strategy that makes use of broken web pages. It entails locating a dead page and requesting that linkers switch the links to a functional page on your site.
They will usually be happy to do this since they donot want to direct users to a defunct resource.
Without SEO tools, it is hard to detect highly linked broken pages. Even if you locate defunct pages manually, a backlink checker will be required to determine how many links they have. Fortunately, there are plenty of free tools for finding broken links.
Because every site owner inevitably moves, deletes, and otherwise modifies the content on their site over time, many of your rivals will have at least some dead pages.
If they fail to redirect outdated URLs, their backlinks will refer to broken pages. And that is something you can take advantage of if those broken links relate to your target keywords. Remember, it is only relevant dead links that are worth your time and effort!
Your next task is to search through these pages for topics on which it makes sense for you to write content.
It is also worth checking for dead links on resource and Wikipedia sites, as these are pages that specialize in guiding visitors to helpful information. They also tend to include more backlinks on each web page than other types of web pages do.
It is fruitless to pursue a dead link building opportunity if it is unlikely to result in high-quality links.
So the first step is to perform a quick check to determine whether the dead page has any worthwhile backlinks that might help you with organic traffic or link juice. If there are broken links from valuable referring domains, it is time to pounce.
If you already have a page that is a good match for the missing one, then that is great. It is time to contact the referring domains and ask about links.
If not, then you are going to need to write something that is close to the broken web page but not identical – you do not want search engines to assume you are cloning other people’s work!
Then, you are going to need to do outreach to the owners of the sites with the dead links. This is the worst part of link building and the part that takes the longest.
Do not expect all of them to get back to you! But if a few people respond to your emails, that means you are doing well. Do not get discouraged!
While there are many bad backlinks, understanding the characteristics of a good backlink will help you design the best backlinking strategy.
Backlinks that are relevant, authoritative, and provide referral traffic to your site are the best and are what you should always aim for.
Relevance is one of the most important factors to bear in mind. Your backlinks should be on sites or pages related to the page you are sharing.
If you offer kitchen supplies, for example, you may want to look for backlinking prospects on cooking blogs. Similarly, viewers of a cuisine blog are more likely than readers of a gaming site to click your link.
Another crucial factor to consider is authority because backlinks from high-authority sites are of higher quality and pass on a little bit of their authority to your website.
Admittedly, this is not always the case because authority is distributed over all the various hyperlinks on a single web page.
Traffic should also always be considered since the more traffic a website receives, the more probable it is to send referral traffic to your page.
Search engines care about backlinks a great deal, so it is important for all SEO professionals to care about them, too.
Hopefully, this guide has given you a good basic grounding in what backlinks are and why they matter, so you should now be able to get started on your link building campaigns with solid knowledge of what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Just remember: do not buy backlinks, do not spam people, and be prepared for this process to be a long, slow one!
Searcharoo is a Link Building & Content Marketing company run by SEO’s based in the UK.
Our goal from the start has been to provide premium links and content services, at fair and affordable prices.