What are Backlinks?
They are hyperlinks back to your site from another website, blog or internet page. Backlinks are also known as inbound links. So, for example, you own a website about SEO we’ll call it website A. Another website owner this time of website B stumbles upon your website and really likes your content. Isn’t that great!
Yes it is, what is even better is that he/she might go back to their website and link to the page on your website that he/she found interesting. This link from website B to A is called a backlink. The backlink is counted as a vote for your website by the search engines which means you will have more authority in the search engine’s eyes.
Why are backlinks so important?
Since the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask were invented they have tried to return the best search results for their users. Over the years they
have done this in many ways. In the beginning they mainly looked at the on-page criteria such as meta tags and keyword density. But they realised that these criteria could be manipulated by the webmasters or SEO experts. They also wanted to bring an element of users voting for their favorite websites just like Amazon and eBay do with their products….
There are actually four reasons I think backlinks are vital to your website:
1) They bring direct traffic: backlinks don’t only bring the search engine benefits but also traffic from people clicking on the links.
2) They bring link juice: the search engines see a link to your website as a vote for your website, the more votes you get from high-quality sites the more authority your site has this measure is known as PageRank
3) They inform the search engines: backlinks with anchor text tell the search engines what the page that is linked is about, the more they know the more likely you are to show up in the organic search results
4) Reputation: getting a link from a well respected site like the NY Times is a big accolade for a website. It not only will pass tons of traffic and PageRank but you can also advertise this link to your users as an endorsement of your website (that’s what it is). This makes you look more reputable to your visitors so they are more likely to buy from you.
How backlinks are valued?
Inbound links from major sites can be hard to get. That is why Google and the other engines treat an inbound link as a vote for your website. The more votes you get from high quality websites the more likely you are to turn up in the organic search results and get free traffic. It’s not quite as democratic as a vote for the president because each link is not worth the same amount of link juice. They are valued based on the site they come from. There are three main parts to valuing a link…
1) The PageRank or the authority of the website the link comes from. The greater the authority or the higher the PageRank the link comes from the more the link is worth. You can check the PageRank of a website with the Google toolbar or the PageRank checker. PageRank is Google’s way of rating all the backlinks pointing to a page. Every link passes PageRank. How much it passes is based on the PR of the page the link is coming from and the number of links on that page.
2) The relevancy of the site that links to you. If you get a link from a bowling ball site to your website about bowling shoes it will be worth more than a site about recipes linking to your bowling site. That is because it is better for a site that is like yours linking to you than one not at all like yours.
Think about it, if you can get your competitors to recommend you in a non internet business you must have a pretty good business. For example if you were a restaurant and all the local food stores recommended you then you must be a very good restaurant.
3) The link itself. If you link with a keyword in the link using some simple html then it tells the engines more about the page you are linking to. The text in a link is called anchor text. And if the engines associate the anchor text with your page you are likely to get lots of traffic. For example if you linked to that bowling site through a hyperlink with the anchor text bowling shoes then that page is likely to be associated with the keyword bowling shoes. So then when somebody searches on Google for bowling shoes then maybe the bowling site will turn up on the first page.
Backlinks bring direct traffic
People always focus on the search engine ranking benefits of backlinks, of which there are many. But what is often forgotten is that backlinks pass more than PageRank they also pass traffic. Some webmasters feel that backlinks from Twitter are useless because they are nofollow which means they pass no PageRank. But I have heard of some sites getting more traffic from Twitter then from the search engines. so when you are building backlinks it is important to remember the traffic benefits of building links.
Traffic through backlinks is often worth more than search engine traffic. People who follow a backlink to your site often know quite a bit about your site and already in a positive frame of mind when they enter the site. But people who follow a search engine result are more sceptical making them less likely to buy your products or services thus making them less valuable to you.
What you need to start building backlinks
1) A website with high quality content. There is no pint in driving traffic to your website if it is not up to scratch. You won’t make any conversions from the traffic so get your content and website design sorted first.
2) A passion for your website. If you find it mundane to write for your website then give up now. If writing articles, making video, answering questions etc about your topic excites you then you will have no problem.
3) Time. Natural backlink building doesn’t take much money if any at all but it does require a large time commitment that will be rewarded handsomely if you put it in.
Get started now
Websites are becoming more aware of the benefits of backlink building and more are trying to build them. This means more competition for you when you go out and try to build links.
This means as time goes on it will be harder to build backlinks so you need to get started now. As the graph shows it is getting harder every day you wait. There is one piece of good news for backlink builders. More sites are open to user generated content and ways for their users to build backlinks to their site once they contribute to the site. YouTube and Twitter weren’t around in 2004 and now they are integral parts of a link building campaign.
How do you get backlinks?
So if inbound links seem out of your control how do you get them? Well the way in which you get links is called a link building strategy. This strategy can comprise of many techniques. These can be found at the link building page. To build backlinks naturally the main thing is to have great content that people will link to.
You can also employ a number of other link building techniques. Things like article marketing, video marketing and blog commenting can be a great way to get links cheaply and easily from relevant websites.
Want to build a backlink right now?
Because this site is all about backlinks and how to get them. I thought you should be able to get a free backlink from us if you contribute to the site. You can write your own page with a link to your website in it. If you have a particular interest, knowledge or story about any section of the website then use the forms at the end of most pages to create your own page. Feel free to add one link to the end of your when you write it. It is open to anybody and even if you don’t know anything about backlink building yet you might have a story about a service you use or your experience with Twitter, YouTube etc. If you have a link building tip, technique or story about a service you use then write your story here and get a free backlink.
Inbound link strategies
So you have a website up and running and you have great content, that people will want to link to. But how can they link if they don’t know where your site is?
You need to get traffic by building inbound links that will get seen by the engines and the people interested in the theme of your site. This process is very much launching a new product off the web. But instead of paying thousands in TV advertising, flyers etc. you will use a few simple marketing strategies to build backlinks.
For example with the bowling site you might write an article and distribute it, make bowling tips video series and post the videos on YouTube making sure to link to yourself in the description. And then you might discuss bowling on the relevant forums and comment on the related blogs, always making sure to leave a link to your website.
Make sure that you are adding value to the site you are trying to get a link off. If you are leaving pointless comments on blogs just to get a black then you aren’t adding value. It may take a little extra time to write an insightful and helpful comment but it will get noticed and more people will click the backlinks and visit your site.
In the online business world, having a great product or service to sell will only get a company so far. If customers cannot find the website, they’ll buy from a competitor. The key to a businesses’ success on the Internet is being near the top of search listings. These days, most search engines take into account links that lead to a website, and rate them as more relevant than others. Developing links to the business website through social media can be one of the most effective ways to improve a site’s rankings.
The Importance of Social Media on building Backlinks
Using social media
Link popularity is the Internet’s version of word-of-mouth advertising. The more links that point to a website the higher the site will get ranked by search engines. Social media outlets provide many opportunities to increase the number of links pointing to a business website.
*Using Twitter – Originally designed as an easy way for co-workers to quickly communicate with each other, but now businesses, celebrities and sports stars use it to reach customers and fans. The site enables companies to receive and view comments, as well as trends. By gathering followers, a business is able to send messages directly to those who are likely interested in its message or product. Shortened links can be added to the message, which can lead clickers directly to the business website. Followers can also send messages to the company.
*Using Facebook – With more than 800 million users, Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool for any business. Like Twitter, the goal is to gain “fans” which can be reached instantly. The fans are able to see messages posted on the businesses’ Facebook wall and, again, links can be posted. Another benefit of Facebook is fans can post answers to problems other customers might be experiencing. This can help ease the burden on the customer service department.
*Help desk – Software that aids businesses with customer service is called help desk. Rather than call for help, patrons are able to e-mail questions to the company. Posting the link to social media sites can reach a larger audience and make it easier for current or future customers to visit the website.
*Trading links – Find other online companies that sell similar products or services that are not in competition and work out a system of trading links on the business websites. For example, someone selling sunglasses could trade links with companies selling suntan lotion or swimsuits. Mention them on social media sites and ask that they do the same.
* Help a good cause – Sponsor a charity event or non-profit group. Not only will it help a good cause, the organization likely will list the company as a link on their website, thus possibly attracting more customers.
Patrons often develop a better rapport with companies on social media sites than through conventional means. Links on social media can not only drive new customers to a businesses’ website, they can offer new and inexpensive ways for companies to offer better customer service.
Checking the quality and accuracy of backlinks
Also known as inlinks or inbound links, all incoming links to a website are called backlinks. A website which has a substantial number of backlinks is always ranked higher by search engines. In addition, if two sites have the same number of backlinks then the one with better quality links is given a superior grading by search engines. So, the quality of backlinks is as important as their count. Backlinks are an indication of a website’s popularity and therefore keeping track of them is very important. However, checking for backlinks around the web is a time consuming process. Thus, many people opt to use a backlink checker. A few good quality backlink checkers that you can use are provided below.
1. Webmaster console
This is a handy package that can be used if you want to scrutinize backlinks on your site. You can even find out who is linking to your website. But this tool can check only for your site, similar statistics cannot be obtained about other sites.
This one is an easy to use backlink checker that gives you an exact estimate of the number of backlinks on your site. This online checker is the improvised version of the previous offering from this brand line and is touted to be the most accurate checker available. It provides accurate information about the quantity and quality of backlinks.
3. Get rank
There are many tools available online to check backlinks for free. The checker on getrank.org uses yahoo to search links on any particular domain. You can specify the number of links you want in any query, the range includes a minimum of 250 to 1000 links.
4. SEO pro’s link
This tool churns out a lot of statistics for you along with the backlinks. It gives you the PageRank, anchor text for the link and also lets you know if the link uses nofollow. You can obtain backlinks either for a single page or only the main domain name of your website.
5. BackLink PageRank check
This instrument has been provided on the URL smartpagerank and you can even select the number of URLs enlisted on a page. Use this one if you are the impatient sort as its delivery is quite speedy.
6. Tricks to check for backlinks on the web
An innovative and easy way to locate backlinks is Google alert. But this method is not very accurate. Google alert does not always give relevant results and many times your domain page turns up in the reply instead of a backlink. Some people also use search engines to trace backlinks but locating relevant results with it can get tedious.
Checking for backlinks to your websites is a good way to track your progress. In fact, you should check for the number of backlinks on a timely basis to monitor the improvement in your site. Select a few checkers that you are comfortable with and run results on them once in a week or month, whatever suits you better.