Link Building

What Do I Need to Know About Backlinks and Link Building?

If you are up on SEO, you are probably familiar with the terms backlinks and link building. But if you don’t know how to use these tools effectively, it can all be for naught. This article will explain what’s involved with backlinks and link building so you can use these strategies to attract visitors to your website.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks may sound techy, but they are nothing to fear. They are simply links that go from another website to your website.

Why are Backlinks Important?

Backlinks are one of the most important elements to your SEO strategy. If a site that Google determines is a trustworthy source links to your website, it can make your SEO increase substantially. And the more links you get from quality websites, the higher your site will rank.

If your site gets a link from a site that’s considered spammy, it can hurt your rankings.

How Does Google Determine Which Links are Quality and Which are Not?

So how does Google figure out whether the site that’s linking to you is a quality site? It uses a tool called PageRank. This determines the quality and quantity of links going to a page to determine their authority.

What are the Various Types of Backlinks?

There are various types of backlinks as follows:

No-Follow Links: No Follow links have the attribute rel=”nofollow”. In the past, no-follow links did not do much for a website. But this may be changing as Google is looking to add trust to no-follow links from sites that add an authority news platform.

Follow Links: Follow links have follow attributes that allow Google to see them as trustworthy sources.

Sponsored or Paid Links: Sponsored links are links that you might pay another company to put on their website to advertise your products. The idea is to get their customers to check out your products. Adding a rel=”sponsor” attribute to the link will stop Google from ranking you lower because you are paying for traffic.

UGC Links: UGC stands for User Generated Content. They come from forums or blog content. Adding the ref=”sponsor” attribute will let Google know the link was placed by a website and not the webmaster.

How to Determine the Quality of Your Links

We already discussed how Google determines whether the links you are getting are high quality. But how can you tell? This can be done using a tool known as the Backlink Audit Tool.

The Backlink Audit tool will show you how many links you have and the quality of the sites they are coming from.

The overview page will give you a general summary of how you are doing. But if you want to dive deeper, you can view metrics like the Authority Score and Toxicity Score of each page.

You can also use the Google Search Console to find any links to your website online.

Your rankings will go up if the link comes from a high-quality site. But that’s not the only factor that will boost your SEO. Here are some others that will make a difference:

  • The number of websites that are linking to your site
  • The position of the link on the page- generally, the higher up the better
  • If they are contextual, i.e. if they are surrounded by related content on the page
  • If they contain relevant anchor text

Toxic Links

If you get links from trusted sources, it can boost your website rankings. But if you get links from toxic sources, it can work against you. Toxic or unnatural links come from low-quality or suspicious websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and exist solely to manipulate search engine rankings.

If you have one or two toxic links leading to your website, and lots of quality links, it won’t do much to your rankings. But it can hurt if your toxic links greatly outweigh your quality links.

So how do you deal with toxic links? One strategy is to use the Backlink Audit Tool which will help you find the toxic links that are out there.

Once you have completed your search, you can submit a disavow tool to Google. This will let the search engine know that you don’t want to be associated with the company linking to your site so they will not count it against them.

You can also use the Backlink Audit Tool to contact a site and ask them to remove your link.

Editorially Placed Links

Editorially placed links are links you didn’t ask for. These links are good for your website because it means someone saw your business as an authority and linked to one of your pages even though you didn’t request for them to do so.

Benefits of Backlinks

Backlinks provide several benefits including the following:

Improves Rankings: If you get a lot of backlinks from trustworthy sources, your SEO rankings will increase so your company will bring in more traffic which can lead to a boost in conversions.

Helps Google Find New Websites: With so many websites on the internet, it can be hard to get Google’s attention. One of the ways the search engine finds sites is by searching for links. So, if you get a link from a trustworthy site, you are more likely to get discovered.

Improves Trustworthiness and Credibility: Quality backlinks will not only look impressive to Google, but they will also look impressive to anyone who sees them. For example, if you are a tech company and you get a backlink from a high authority site like Wired magazine, it can change your world. It can increase your customer base; get you press coverage and establish you as a thought leader in your field.

Gets More Traffic to Your Site: Higher SEO rankings will bring more traffic to your site. But people may also see your link on another site and click over. If they like what you’re about, you just might get a new customer out of the deal.

How to Get Backlinks to Your Site

Now we know how important backlinks can be. But how can we get more of them? Here are a few suggestions.

Ask Suppliers and Partners to Link to You: The simplest way to get something is to ask for it. If you have supplier and partners with websites, and it’s likely you do, ask them if they will include a link to your site in one of their blogs. Offer to return the favor to make it a true win-win.

Use HARO to Respond to Journalist Requests: HARO is an online service journalists use to get feedback from the public. They may be looking for a specific quote that you are able to provide. If they use your quote, they will link to your website in their story.

Do Guest Posts: Another way to get backlinks is to write guest posts for other sites. You can write posts for companies that offer products or services in your industry so you can offer expert advice and the relationship makes sense. Once they post your blog, they will link to your site. Allow them to do the linking and don’t stuff your blogs with links to your own site. That’s just bad manners.

Use Niche-Specific Directories: A directory is a website that offers links to different websites so they can find ones that are right for them.  A niche specific website will specialize in a certain niche or industry. Submitting to these directories will help with link building. You can also automate the process with Semrush.

Turn Brand Mentions into Links: If a website gave you an unlinked shoutout, contact the company and ask them if they will turn it into a link. You can find brand mentions with a Brand Monitoring Tool or through Google alerts.

Create Informational Content: If you create informational content like case studies, eBooks and original research, websites will be more likely to link to you. Back the content up with plenty of data so you look like a reputable source.

Pitch Your Research to the Press: You can take your informational content creation a step further by pitching it to the press. Turn your content into a press release and then use a tool like HARO or Prowly’s Media Pitching tool to find members of the press to pitch to.

Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlink Profile: You can use the Backlink Gap tool to determine what links your competitor has that you don’t. Results will come up when you simply enter the name of your site and the name of your competitor’s. Once you determine the links they are getting, you can figure out how you can add them to your backlink list whether it be through guest posting submitting to directories, linking to partners or any other methods that may apply.

Backlinking is a very powerful tool when it comes to boosting SEO. Now that you know how to make it work for you, you can attempt to improve your rankings. What methods will you be using to increase the backlinks to your site?
If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.