Perhaps you’ve just set up your website, and maybe it’s time to think of investing in an SEO strategy. You have several key SEO areas to focus on to run a successful site, and building backlinks is one of them.
But what are backlinks? When other websites link to your site, the links created are what we call backlinks. You’ll come across the terms incoming and inbound links used interchangeably for backlinks.
WHY DO BACKLINKS MATTER IN SEO?
Backlinks remain a fundamental part of a rewarding SEO strategy because Google recognizes them as a vote of confidence.
In other words, Google’s algorithm essentially gets a signal that whatever content you’ve published on your website is valuable.
Such content would be considered worth ranking well, especially if the websites vouching for it have a high domain rating.
The more backlinks a webpage receives from reputable websites, the more Google thinks highly of it. Therefore, inbound links play a critical role in improving your organic rankings on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
CATEGORIES OF BACKLINKS
Your website can earn backlinks in three different ways:
- Natural backlinks
- Self-created links
- Manual backlinks
NATURAL INCOMING LINKS
With this category of backlinks, any website owner can link to your site if they find your content worth referencing. So, you don’t need to lift a finger. However, it’s the best-performing website likely to earn natural backlinks. As such, you must strive to create top-notch quality content and establish yourself as an authoritative brand.
MANUAL INCOMING LINKS
When it comes to manual inbound links, you have to work hard to get them. The most popular strategic way to earn manual backlinks is by guest blogging. You publish a blog post on someone else’s website, with an agreement that you’ll feature a link to your site.
SELF-CREATED INCOMING LINKS
With this option, you manually add a backlink into a blog comment, forum, press release, article directories, etc.
While self-created backlinks are still worth your attention, don’t overboard with your tactics. Otherwise, you’ll get your site penalized and hurt your search rankings.
DO ALL BACKLINKS ADD THE SAME VALUE TO YOUR WEBSITE?
Logically, you’ll want to have as many backlinks as possible. But the truth is, having many backlinks doesn’t essentially mean better. Not all incoming links offer the same amount of link juice in SEO.
For example, even though search engines recognize self-created backlinks, they give it the least amount of link juice. That’s because they know you’re in charge of creating these links for endorsing yourself.
Natural and manual backlinks are inherently more valuable. But there’s more to a healthy backlink profile. In line with that, you’ll need to consider the following factors:
A) FOLLOW VS NO-FOLLOW BACKLINKS
Not all links pass link juice (value or equity) from one site to another. It’s easy to declare the follow backlinks as the ideal option, as they offer link equity.
While there’s no link juice passed if a website manager opts for the no-follow links, these backlinks can have a place in your SEO strategy. Although, you would likely benefit if the no-follow links originate from high domain authority websites.
B) DOMAIN AUTHORITY (DA) OF THE LINKING WEBSITES
The DA scores matter a great deal. Search engines put a lot of trust in high DA sites. When a site is associated with linking domains with an excellent rating, it receives more link juice. Make sure you stay away from new and spammy websites.
C) LINK RELEVANCY
The quality rating of backlinks is also subject to relevancy. You could lose some points for irrelevant links. Suppose you operate an eCommerce pet store and get backlinks from a cheese-making website. Those links are likely to be flagged as unrelated to your business or readers.
There should be a relation between the linked topics, fields, and industries. For example, a pet care site would be relevant in this case.
D) LINK LOCATION
The positioning of the backlink on a webpage also dictates the amount of link juice passed to your website. Ideally, backlinks within paragraphs of a blog post offer more value than those listed at the bottom of a page. A visible link to even a random user is likely to earn a high rating.
E) NUMBER OF LINKS ON A PAGE
You’ve probably come across a single page with hundreds of links. Did you click all of them? Probably no. Including a backlink among many links might not be rewarding, as readers will feel burdened to check out every link. Well, this reduces the value of the link. Even a few carefully targeted links will do the trick. So, it’s better to prioritize quality over quantity.
F) ANCHOR TEXT
As mentioned earlier, putting backlinks in the footer is not SEO-friendly. So, let’s talk about anchor text. To link within a paragraph, whether it’s inbound linking or outbound linking, you need to work with an anchor text. Simply put, an anchor text could be characters or words that display hyperlinks within a content.
An SEO-friendly anchor text provides relevant contextual information about the target destination. Avoid generic anchor text, such as:
- Click here
- Read more
- Visit this page
WHAT TO AVOID IN YOUR BACKLINKING STRATEGY
While backlinks can give you a boost in your organic rankings, some habits can put your website at risk.
You’ll want to avoid randomly buying a large number of backlinks. It pays to grow your website steadily. Strengthening your online presence and achieving success takes time. You’ll attract reputable and trusted partners in your niche when the right time comes.
Some website owners tend to forget that backlinks are the most fundamental part of their website rankings. As such, Google carefully manages it. Don’t settle for low-quality backlinks in your attempt to make your site more visually attractive.
Keep in mind that search engines like Google can spot when you’re trying to manipulate your rankings with shady SEO tactics. It’s not unheard of websites getting banned from surfacing on the SERPs after Google discovers their attempts to cheat the system.
Backlinks are crucial in any SEO strategy. They can make a difference in your organic rankings, enabling you to get more eyes on your website. However, make sure you earn those inbound links without essentially going against Google’s guidelines.
Creating an authority brand online doesn’t happen overnight. Prioritize creating epic content and establishing a relationship with best-performing players in your niches.
Even though the process may appear slow, you can be sure you’ll be on the right path to success in your SEO strategy.