Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links, are incoming links to a website or web page. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node.
It is out of question that quality backlinks are crucial to SEO success. More, the question is how to get them. While with on-page content optimization it seems easier because everything is up to you to do and decide, with backlinks it looks like you have to rely on others to work for your success. Well, this is partially true because while backlinks are links that start on another site and point to yours, you can discuss with the Web master of the other site details like the anchor text, for example. Yes, it is not the same as administering your own sites – i.e. you do not have total control over backlinks – but still there are many aspects that can be negotiated.
Getting Backlinks the Natural Way
The idea behind including backlinks as part of the page rank algorithm is that if a page is good, people will start linking to it. And the more backlinks a page has, the better. But in practice it is not exactly like this. Or at least you cannot always rely on the fact that your contents is good and people will link to you. Yes, if your content is good and relevant you can get a lot of quality backlinks, including from sites with similar topic as yours (and these are the most valuable kind of backlinks, especially if the anchor text contains your keywords) but what you get without efforts could be less than what you need to successfully promote your site. So, you less than what you need to successfully promote your site. So, you will have to resort to other ways of acquiring quality backlinks as described next.
- Article Posting – Posting an article in article directories allow you to link back to your site.
- Guest Posting/Blogging – Other websites may invite you to post a blog on their site and allow a link back to yours.
- Blog Comments – You can always cite your website URL to invite people to view further info about the topic.
- Forum Postings – Same as blog comment, you may cite your URL if it’s pertinent to the thread or post your URL as a signature. Just a heads up, some forums use the nofollow attribute to negate the value of this backlink
- Forum Profiles – Most forums allow you to post your website URL on your profile and/or signature area.
- Social Bookmarks – If your site has great content, it will tend to be bookmarked and the your link uploaded to several social bookmarking sites.
- Social Outreach – Works like a press release. A successful community outreach can land you an interview that will be published in interested sites.
- Directories – Submitting your website to local, industry and niche directories will net you backlinks.
- Press Releases – these get published in news sites with backlinks to your site. Even better they might be picked up as by a news outlet earning you additional links
- Contests – Will get you press coverage and of course, back
- Business Network Profiles – LinkedIn profiles, for example, allow you to post your URL and so may other industry sites
- Classified Ads – Are opportunities for putting in your URL as backlinks
- Reciprocal Links – tit-for-tat links—your friend has a blog post that links to your blog post which links back to your friend’s blog post. While reciprocal links are seen by some to be effective, it’s kind of in the gray area where they can be used both honestly and solely to improve Google ranking. Be careful.
- Social Media – Could be valuable especially since most social media sites prominently display a profile owner’s website URL. However, since Facebook, for example, don’t allow Google’s crawlers to index its profile pages, backlinks from Facebook will not affect Google SERPs directly.
- Internal Site Links – Surprise! Links from one page on your site to another count as backlinks. Strictly speaking, internal site links are not backlinks but well made internal links can also increase the Google pagerank of your internal web pages.
- Brand Driven Links – Well crafted articles that strengthen a brand or enhance an already strong brand are newsworthy items that people would want to post in their own sites.
- Paid Ad Links – Google frowns on this because this can lead to link farms. This is grey/black hat area, but can be very effective.
- Link Bait(s) – Infographics, videos, embedable content, music and any ear/eye catching content that can’t help but be shared.
- Maintaining Squidoo and Hubpages – These are special community sites that allow you to create articles on specific subjects (with backlinks to your site to credit you).
- Donations – Is very similar to social outreach, but nowadays charity can be used as another form of marketing and obtaining links.
Importance of Backlinks with Search Engine Optimization
What is a backlink and why are they important? Backlinks or Inbound Links (IBL’s) are links that are directed towards your website and are the building blocks to good Search Engine Optimization. The number of backlinks a website has is in a good indicator of its popularity or importance with search engines. Search engines, namely Google, give more credit to websites that have a larger number of quality backlinks and consider those websites more relevant in a search query.
It is not sufficient to just have a high number of inbound links; they need to be quality links. For search engines to determine the quality of inbound links the content of the site is critiqued. The content of the websites you have inbound links with needs to be relevant to the content on your site. The more relevant the inbound links are to your site helps determine the quality of the links. If your site is about breast implants than linking to a site about German Shepherds is not relevant and is therefore not a quality link.
It is easy to get a higher ranking using backlinks than it is to influence search engines with external backlinks from other sites, which is why backlinks matter so much in a search engines algorithm. Recently search engines criteria for quality inbound backlinks has gotten harder. This is due to people using deceptive tactics like hidden links or automatically generated pages whose entire purpose is to generate inbound links to other web pages. These pages are called “link farms” which aren’t ousted by search engines. Link farms could be harmful to your site if you backlink with them and may cause your site to be banned.
By having quality backlinks you are attracting visitors to your site. You can’t just build a website and expect that people are going to find you without being pointed in the right direction.
Hope it Helps You!