Backlinks are critical to any SEO strategy. Unfortunately, very few businesses leverage them to grow their websites. What are backlinks and why should you start paying more attention to them? Backlinks are basically a link from another website to yours. They are also referred to as inbound links. Consider them as a vote of confidence in your site from other websites within your niche.
For example, this link is a backlink to YouTube.
Backlinks are important because search engines such as Google use them as a ranking signal. It simply means that other websites vouch for your content as noteworthy. This helps to improve your website ranking and visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). If you consider the fact that 67% of search engine users click on the first five results, you will understand why you need to rank as high on the SERPs as possible. Backlinks are one of the ways of getting there.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
We have already mentioned that backlinks help in improving search engine ranking. But is that all that is there to it? Are backlinks just meant to get you as high on the SERPs and then that’s it? The answer is definitely no. There’s definitely more to backlinks than just search engine rankings.
For starters, it helps to improve the discoverability of your website. One of the ways in which search engines discover new content is by visiting pages they already know about over and over again to check if they have new links. If you get backlinks from the popular pages, it means that chances of your content being discovered increases. Popular pages will help you get discovered faster than unpopular ones.
Backlinks also help you to get referral traffic. Backlinks were created with one specific purpose- to help users get useful resources. The more backlinks you get, the higher referral traffic you have. This, in turn, establishes you as an authority within your niche. It also means more lead generation for your business.
Types of Backlinks
There are two types of backlinks- dofollow and nofollow. What are dofollow and nofollow backlinks? Let us look at them below:
- Dofollow backlinks:
Dofollow links are organic links from valuable websites to your site. They are high-value because it means the other site is vouching for the quality of content on your site and you didn’t pay for the backlink. Dofollow backlinks are key to improving search engine rankings.
But while everyone wants dofollow backlinks, some can also turn out to be toxic. This is especially if they are from websites that are flagged by search engines as suspicious or the links were gained by breaking the search engine terms of service. Toxic backlinks can lead to your site being de-indexed.
- Nofollow backlinks:
Nofollow backlinks are basically tags that instruct search engines to ignore a given link. They are less valuable and are therefore quite uncommon. Some of the most common sources of nofollow links include social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, Q&A websites like Quora, blog comments, content aggregation sites, and forums such as Reddit.
But nofollow links aren’t entirely useless to your SEO strategy. At times, they can be helpful. While Google is yet to share information on circumstances when it uses nofollow links for page rankings, it is believed that nofollow links from high-profile websites such as Wikipedia could help with SEO ranking. Nofollow links from websites with high traffic can also help you to improve the quantity of your dofollow links.
Why do people use nofollow links? The main reason is that if you are unsure of the quality of the website, it is better to use nofollow links so that search engines don’t think that you are vouching for the accuracy of the website contents. Other reasons include not having control over what is posted (for instance, the comment section of a blog), getting paid to promote a website, and to avoid crawl prioritization (for large websites).
What Makes a Good Backlink?
This means that the focus is on getting more dofollow links than nofollow ones. But not all dofollow backlinks have the same value. Some are more valuable than others. So what makes a good backlink? Here are a few attributes that you should look out for:
1. The relevance of the link
Google, Bing, and other search engines look to create value for their users. This means that they will prioritize backlinks that are more relevant to users so as to increase the chances of people clicking on them. For example, visitors on a page about installing boilers are more likely to click on a backlink to a plumber’s website than visitors on a page about pets.
The relevance of backlinks doesn’t only apply to the main content, it also applies to the domain name to a given extent. For example, visitors on https://www.plumbingproducts.ie/ will be more likely to click on a backlink to a plumber’s website than those on https://www.petstop.ie/.
2. Website traffic
Getting backlinks from pages with high traffic will lead to more referral traffic for your website. That is not even up for debate. The more traffic you get, the higher the visibility of your website
3. Page authority
The more established a website is, the more authority their backlink carries to your website. You establish your website as an authority within your niche by getting backlinks from equally authoritative websites.
Another way of contributing to a page’s authority is through internal backlinking. What is internal backlinking? It simply refers to linking a page to another on the same website. This link is an example of an internal backlink.
4. Placement of the backlink
How a backlink is placed also matters a lot. Some are more prominent than others and therefore carry more authority. For example, a backlink on the footer or the sidebar is unlikely to be clicked on compared to one on the main body of the page. Using different text colours and fonts also help in making backlinks to stand out.
Tips for Getting Quality Backlinks
As we have mentioned above, backlinks are quite valuable to your SEO strategy. Despite Google’s constantly changing algorithm, backlinks can still make a huge difference for your SEO. Going out of your way to get backlinks can be rewarding in the long run. Here are a few tips on how to get quality backlinks:
1. Create content
It has been said several times already that content is king in the SEO world. But when it comes to backlinks, it is not just about creating content. You have to create high-quality content that will be resourceful not only to your visitors but other websites as well. This way, you will gain backlinks organically.
You can also do guest posts on other sites and include one or two dofollow links back to your website.
2. Make use of the testimonials page on partners’ sites
You have probably done projects for or partnered with other businesses on service delivery. If they have a page for testimonials or case studies on their website, then you can leverage that to have backlinks to your website. Reach out and offer a testimonial or case study about their product. In most cases, they’ll insert a link back to your site within the testimonial.
3. Get included in listicles
Chances are that the internet has a listicle for almost everything imaginable. The Top 10 Dog Foods In Ireland. Best Content Management Software In 2020. Top 10 Celebrity Scandals Of The Year. Name them. You can find listicles related to your company, products, or website content and reach out to the other for inclusion in the listicle.
4. Get on Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a website that helps to connect journalists to experts in various fields. After registering on the platform, you will receive daily questions reporters are looking for answers to in your email. Replying to a question can get you a quality backlink. While it takes time and you have to provide the best answer, chances are that you will get both a backlink and media coverage.
5. Try broken link building
This is the most time-consuming way to get backlinks. It basically involves finding websites with broken links to content that is similar to yours, alerting the author about the broken link, then offering your resource as a better alternative. Every site owner knows the consequences of having a broken link on their website so it will be a relief that you are bringing their attention to it and offering a solution too.
You can use broken-link checkers such as Dr Link Check to find broken links on websites within your industry. Remember to keep off competitors’ websites. Their broken links are your gain.
How do you check whether you are getting backlinks? You can use platforms such as Google Search Console. It will give you access to insightful data on the performance of your website and organic search traffic. It is completely free. All you have to do is sign up and verify ownership of the website.
But we all know that to whom much is given much is expected. If you are getting backlinks from other websites, why should you not give them backlinks? You can backlink to other websites in two ways:
- Add a link through your content management system (CMS).
- Add a link through HTML.
It is important to find a balance between dofollow and nofollow backlinks as they are both important to your SEO. Search engines prefer a healthy backlink profile that consists of both. If you find backlinking too confusing to handle, you might want to consider hiring an SEO agency with experience and expertise on such matters.