Backlinks are an essential component of search engine optimization (SEO) and a vital part of a website’s performance. If you are new to SEO, you may have heard a variety of terms such as “backlinks,” “link building,” and “internal and external links.” In short, a backlink is a link that points from a domain back to your website. Also referred to as incoming links, backlinks create a connection by using external links. The more backlinks you build from authoritative sites, the more of a positive effect that it has on your website’s search visibility and ranking.
Importance of Backlinks
Backlinks are very important to both the end user and the search engines. When reading content, a backlink can provide the reader with more information that relates to the topic at hand. For example, if someone is reading an article on “how to stop smoking,” they may find a backlink that links to a study on how nicotine patches can help smokers gradually cut down. In this case, the backlink provides an alternative source of information that the reader may want to click on to learn more about ways to stop smoking.
Backlinks are also important for the search engines as they help search engine “spiders” determine how relevant and authoritative your website is for the topic in which you are trying to rank. If multiple sites link to the same page, it tells the search engines that the content is worth linking to and should rank higher in the search engines. Although the number of backlinks you had used to showcase your site’s popularity, that is no longer the case. Due to changes in the search engine algorithm, there are other factors that help determine ranking, including the quality of links rather than quantity.
Good vs. Bad Backlinks
Not all backlinks are good. A ‘good’ backlink is one that comes from a relevant and authoritative domain from the same or a related niche. If a website has a high domain authority and is based on a topic that is similar to your own, the backlink is considered good. The search engines want to see backlinks from high-quality sites that are associated with the outbound link. If a website that is completely unrelated to your topic links to your site, it is not considered to be as valuable.
A ‘bad’ backlink typically comes from an untrusted or unrelated source. The search engines frown upon bad backlinks and may even penalize websites that use these tactics. Bad backlinks are considered to be spam and can cause significant harm to your domain. Although it reduces the number of backlinks you have in total, it is best to remove ‘bad’ links to improve your SEO efforts and place in the rankings. Remember that the more people that click on a link and remain on the page, the better quality the link is most of the time.
Effects of Good Backlinks
It is important to have high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites if you wish to steadily grow your website. The effects of building quality backlinks are plentiful, starting with your ranking in the search engines. Backlinks can help you improve your organic ranking which will help you rank higher naturally in the search engines. Backlinks can also help bots discover your website faster, resulting in speedy indexing. This is especially important for new websites as you want people to discover your website and you want the search engines to index it.
Another major advantage of having quality backlinks is the ability to gain referral traffic. Instead of finding your website directly in the search engines, backlinks allow web users to go to your website from another similar site. With referral traffic, your audience is usually targeted resulting in a low bounce rate. As links are viewable to users in addition to the search engines, backlinks can also be used for branding purposes. Building links on authoritative sites creates trust between you and your target audience. The more quality links you have, the more familiar and comfortable people will become with your brand.
How to Acquire Backlinks
There are numerous ways that businesses can acquire backlinks. Start by writing amazing content. If you write interesting and engaging articles or blogs, people will naturally link to them. There are various types of content you can write ranging from top-ten lists to detailed tutorials. Another effective way to build backlinks is by guest blogging. Guest blogging is usually free and can ensure a quality link back to your website. You may also want to try submitting your site to web directories to get backlinks. However, you want to avoid automatic direct submission websites as these can make your site appear as spam.
While external links are important, you do not want to forget about internal links. Interlinking on your website is a great way to enrich user experience and create a good internal linking structure. Internal links allow users to more easily navigate your website and find articles and blogs that they may otherwise pass by. Remember that articles and blogs are not the only way to share information. You can also create backlinks through other types of information, such as videos, photos, or infographics. In fact, infographics have quickly become a popular way to create valuable backlinks as they are easy to understand and share.
Learn More About Backlinks
While building backlinks is an effective way to reach your target audience and grow your business, it can be very difficult to achieve. To ensure that you are gaining quality backlinks and steering clear of ‘bad’ ones, it is best to seek help from a professional Northern Virginia Digital Marketing Agency. They are highly experienced professionals who can walk you through the necessary steps to building solid internal and external backlinks to create a structurally sound website. For more information about SEO or how to get backlinks, schedule a free consultation with a Northern Virginia SEO Agency.