In Search Engine Optimisation, lots and lots of factors are influential and leave their impact on the results. One of them is the “BackLinks”, if used well and implemented strategically could be a huge difference-maker. SEO gurus from across the globe to agree to this fact that if you really want to grow the website for your business, “BackLinks” are something that you need to pay more attention to. The popularity or the importance of “BackLinks” can be determined by the fact that back in 2016, Google said “BackLinks” along with the content, will be a big signal to rank a particular website.
Therefore, for an SEO team, it has always been very important to pay undivided attention towards the “BackLinks” and this actually gets missed in a majority of new SEO projects. The reason is that the businesses first try and do SEO by themselves without knowing the importance of this step. Therefore, we have come up with a small guide that would tell new businesses and new SEO professionals, everything that they should know about these “BackLinks”. We have tried and shared even the minutest of the information regarding this subject matter by discussing the following topics.
- Understanding Backlinks & Their Role in Your Strategy
- Types of Backlinks
- Why are backlinks important?
- How to Check Your Website’s Backlinks
- How to Get Backlinks to Your Site
- Debunking Common Backlinks Myths
Let us elaborate more details on the pointers that we have listed above.
Understanding Backlinks & Their Role in Your SEO Strategy
When we talk about SEO, one has to understand the details of “BackLinks” that they are more commonly known as “Inbound Links” and “External Links”. They are basically the links that point from a page on one website to another page or another website. In other words, they are basically the links from third party sources that point to your website. They are way better performers in terms of SEO that inbound or internal links that exist between two pages within the website.
They are important for a number of reasons and one is that Google and in fact, all other major to minor search engines use them as a way to understand the reputation and authority of the page. This is the biggest reason why search engine optimisation experts say that if you are seriously behind the success of your SEO campaign, you need to pay undivided attention towards these “BackLinks.
In other words, they can be called as an assistant in the online reputation management of a website because a link from one website to another generates the impression of a website being trustworthy. Understand this in a simple way that if five people who don’t know each other in a restaurant recommend you one particular hotel to stay and dine, there must be something great and worth-experiencing about that hotel.
Apart from generating the trust of search engines on a particular website, they can also be assumed as a “Votes Of Popularity” for a particular website. Websites having been backlinked together leave a strong impression that there must a strong correlation between those with a higher number of links pointing to them and higher rankings.
As a business owner, you should understand that any website’s link to your website can be defined as a “BackLinks”, but at the same time, there is a huge difference in the types of “BackLinks”. The fact is that Google would trust a backlink received from a trusted and authoritative website more than the links received from websites that are less trustworthy and lesser authoritative.
The factor of “Trust” that we discussed above comes in the form of PageRank, i.e. one of Google’s many algorithms used by this search engine to evaluate the quality as well as the authority of the “BackLinks”. This algorithm is prepared to determine a relative score of that page’s importance and authority.
Types of Backlinks
We have already revealed this fact that these “BackLinks” are of different types and thus, are all different from each other entirely. From this point onwards in this post, you will learn about some types of “BackLinks” and their features, etc.
We discussed above how these “BackLinks” are linked a vote of trust from trusted resources, but the main question here is what if you don’t want to vouch for a website, but still want a BackLink? In such circumstances, the savior would emerge in the form of “No-Follow Links” that uses an entirely different attribute to inform the search engine about not passing the PageRank algorithm. It would be interesting to know how “NO FOLLOW BACKLINK” looks like, so here’s a preview.
<a href=”https://www.domain.com/” rel=”nofollow”>this is a nofollowed link</a>
“NO FOLLOW BACKLINK” doesn’t pass the PageRank algorithm and as a result, they will have no role to play in improving or damaging the present rank of a website in SERPs. But here it is important to go through the update that came from Google and stated that they will evolve the overall concept of “NO FOLLOW BACKLINKS” entirely. The statement goes this way, “when no-follow was introduced, Google would not count any link marked this way as a signal to use within our search algorithms. This has now changed. All the link attributes are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search.”
This update was taken in a very strange way by some and they started assuming that this as a hint given by GOOGLE that this search engine will now pass trust through NO-FOLLOW LINKS in some instances.
This one is the totally opposite form of the type of the link discussed above and “DO FOLLOW LINKS” easily pass trust (PageRank) algorithm and because of this, there is no “NO FOLLOW” attribute added. Just in case, you are curious to know about how they look like, here is a short demo.
<a href=”https://www.domain.com/”>this is a followed link</a>
Sponsored or Paid Links
The next type is given the name of “Sponsored Or Paid Links” and to implement them, you might have to shed some dollars from your pocket. This happens quite often that a website or a company pays some money to a blogger or an influencer to promote its brand name or a particular product or service or just review it is a positive manner. However, if the money or a product or service has changed hands in lieu of a link, this would be given the name of “Sponsored Or Paid Backlink”. In such cases, a rel=”sponsored’ attribute should be added to inform Google and other search engines about the same.
Using this version of “BackLink” is a good idea, but its usage has to be within the set terms and conditions of Google otherwise, this could be a violation of one of the many rules related to “BackLinks” and search engine optimisation.
Here is an overview of how sponsored or a paid BackLink would look like.
<a href=”https://www.domain.com/” rel=”sponsored”>this is a sponsored link</a>
This is a relatively new kind of “BackLink” made by Google and UGC stands for USER GUIDED CONTENT. There are generally the links that come from areas such as comments made on forums, blog posts. However, the attribute used here tells Google that the link was placed there by a random user and not by the webmaster.
A UGC Backlink Looks Like This:
<a href=”https://www.domain.com/” rel=”ugc”>this is a UGC link</a>
High Authority Links
In a majority of cases, you would be recommended that you should aim to go with high authority BackLinks for quick success and ranking your website higher in search engines. But, at the same time, let’s not forget the fact that all these “BackLinks” are created equal and also that Google trusts easily and more on those coming from trusted and authoritative websites.
Coming back to high authority backlinks, they are basically those coming from too much-trusted sources like established newspapers and also from very trusted websites.
This is where, it becomes important to reveal a fact regarding this algorithm called “PageRank” that yes, it was used by Google to assess the exact authority of the source. But, it has no longer been a public-facing metric because updates stopped coming, and apparently, Google stopped using it back in 2016.
PageRank was doing its job incredibly by assessing the overall authority of the website and for this, it was noting down several important points. This mainly included the credibility of the website and the originality of the content. One more thing that it was taking under the scanner was whether the website shared high-quality content to the real users.
Toxic Links (Unnatural Links)
Another very important type of “BackLinks” to go through is the toxic BackLinks that are known as utterly harmful for a website. Yes, they can leave negative feedback regarding the website in front of Google and as a result, Google will not entertain the link as well as the website. These bad links are often given the name of “Toxic” or “Unnatural” links.
They are generally the links that come from “Not so trusted” websites, “Low-Quality” websites, “Suspicious” websites or those having a record of being penalised because of violation of rules.
Another source of these “BackLinks” are those websites that are using this feature of “BackLinks” while violating the rules and laws of usage set by Google and other search engines. They are like Black Hat BackLinks that are solely there to manipulate the SERPs through illegal and unlawful steps. This could mean paid links that aren’t marked with “nofollow” or “sponsored” attributes, those from low-quality directories or bookmark sites, widely used footer links, or an unnatural number of links that use exact match anchor text.
Editorially Placed Links
The next in the list is the name of Editorially Placed Backlinks that are known as the highest authority backlink and in fact, Google too acknowledges them as of the most vivacity of all kinds of BackLinks. This is an editorially placed or earned BackLink in a situation, where an editor or webmaster decided to link to the websites after getting impressed by the quality, traffic and their consistent performance in search engine rankings. This type of link is given to the website with the sole motive of increasing traffic, enhancing user-experience, and providing them a better platform instead of just manipulating the SERRPs.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
As far as SEO is concerned, we have discussed it right in the beginning that backlinks have a huge role to play and they are very important. Here in this segment, we will go through some points that will reveal before us, why they are so crucial for the SEO.
They Will Help You to Rank Higher
Yes, the primary motive and benefit of using these BackLinks are to increase traffic on the website and rank it higher on search engines. The fact is that by not using them in your SEO campaign, the SEO company chosen by you is missing a very crucial and fruitful tool that could swiftly enhance your search engine ranking. These BackLinks assure search engines that you are trusted by several websites on whom Google trusts and thus, it is your right to be trusted by search engines and getting higher ranked.
There is a strong connection between better quality backlinks and higher rank in search results. A study revealed this fact that a higher number of BackLinks correlates with higher rankings on Google. But as said in the beginning, to ensure that the website is receiving a good response in lieu of using BackLinks, it is important to use high-quality BackLinks. This means attempting to get high authority BackLinks and staying away from toxic BackLinks or those that violated the rules of search engines at least once or twice. Finding high quality and high authority BackLinks is an art that you will have to learn if you seriously want your website to excel further. Different strategies can be used for the same and we will learn about some in this post only.
They Are One Way That Google Finds New Pages
Google Bot is the name of Google’s spiders that crawls and uses these links to find new pages and this is one way through, which these spiders trace out new content and thus, better service providers. This is where the BackLinks from trusted sources will come into the act, as they will let this spider believe that your website is of really high quality to be placed on Page 1 of search results.
They Boost your Trustworthiness and Credibility
Another benefit of using high-quality BackLinks is that they will make your website more authoritative and trusted by search engines as well as other websites. This is a beneficial deal from the search engine’s point of view and helps in improving the rank of the website. In this regard, experts say that even if we ignore the SEO related benefits for a moment, still, the backlinks of really high quality will be useful and take your website up in terms of ranking as well as website traffic.
They Send Referral Traffic to Your Page
This is what has been stated in the last line of the previous paragraph that they will send really high-quality traffic towards the traffic. The main purpose of having BackLinks in the simplest of forms is that they take traffic from one website to another. When Google realises this, it starts realising that there must be something really impressive in the website that needs to be checked. Google will realise this and as a result, it will also start sending really good traffic towards the website. Remember that no matter how advanced, SEO strategies would get, the basic principles will not change at all that quality backlinks send quality traffic towards the website.
This will also benefit in another way that by sending the traffic, you would be introduced to new audiences who may turn into long term customers. Other than this, you will also achieve the ability to add this traffic to your remarketing list and as a result, the referral link would become even better performers.
However, it is important that you don’t discount the potential of the link to drive traffic as then, you would be in a better position. They will then become a great way to qualify for high authority backlinks.
How to Check Your Website’s Backlinks
Checking the backlinks is immensely important for a number of reasons irrespective of whether you want to build a campaign related to search engine optimisation or not. Checking the backlinks coming on the website will help you look at the tactics that could be further used to earn more and better backlinks. This would also help you have an in-depth analysis of how your competitors are performing in terms of BackLink campaign. As far as checking the backlinks to your website is concerned, experts say that numerous tools can be used and one of them is the “GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE”.
Using Google Search Console to Understand Your Link Profile
This very versatile tool would give you an in-depth insight of how your link profile would look like and at the same time, it will not render any information to the competitors. Another very interesting feature is that it is absolute “Free Of Cost”, but to use it to its best, you will have to learn how to use it.
The Steps Of Usage Go This Way –
First, open this tool and log in using your username and password and using the menu present on the left, use the legacy tools and reports and then, links.
From there, you will get a full overview of the website’s backlink and read the “External Links” heading. By doing this, you will also get an insight into the following points. –
- External Links – How Many External Links Point To Your Site?
- Top Linked Pages – The Pages On Your Site That Have The Most Backlinks Pointing To Them.
- Top Linking Sites – The Website Which Links To Yours The Most Times.
- Top Linking Text – The Most Common Link Anchor Text Used For External Links.
All the reports that you can see there can also be downloaded in.CSV file format from the top-right corner.
According to the experts, GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE has been a very impressive tool to determine the quality of the BackLinks coming to your website. This is a dedicated tool to use just in case, you want to use link insights that would help you build great links and achieve really great backlinks for the website’s search engine optimisation. This tool will help you to understand your own “link profile” as well as your competitors, all of which can offer valuable insights to utilize in your strategy.
By using this GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE, you will get immense help and moreover, you would be able to use it to collect valuable data on the BackLink profile of your domain, as well your competitor’s domain. This way, you will be able to develop a better strategy, and as said above, using this tool is extremely easy as you will only have to load the domain into the tool.
But Just What Insights Can You Actually Gain From The Tool And How Can You Work These Into Your Strategy?
There are actually so many things that you would be able to discover with the help of these analytics tools and here in this segment, some of them have been discussed.
Categories Of Referring Domains
This means that you will be able to see how the domains that link to the site are typically classified. This will also help you identify the sectors and opportunities to target with your own campaigns.
According to the experts, you can very easily minimize the risks associated with using toxic backlinks by understanding the most common link anchor texts. Using this approach will also make you immune and ensure that using your own strategy, you will successfully target natural link text.
Using some dedicated tools, it would be very easy to understand the quality of the link profile. These tools will also help you get an overview of how your website performs and where you would stand in this intense competition.
Remember what was said above in the post that the higher numbers of domains of good quality are differently correlated to the higher rankings.
This can be used as a competitive benchmark to identify the true link gap and how this gap would impact the overall performance of the search engine optimisation.
It is very important to understand the split between the follow, no follow, sponsored, and UGC links, as this will help you a lot as far as strategic planning is concerned.
This way, it would become very easy for you to actually plan a strategy that would replicate the strategies of those profiles that outranked you in the competition.
A very important step is to analyse the backlinks of the competitor and study them deeply to find out how they could help you get some useful backlinks for your domain. This will also help you understand and keep an eye on whom and what quality of the website is getting linked to you.
You will be able to easily analyse the TLD distribution of the link profile and according to SEO experts, this is actually a great way to get an insight into a business’s wider strategy. By analysing the TLD distribution of the link profile, you will also get an overview of whether the links coming to you are from your country of operation. The same analysis will also help you get an idea of whether there are global opportunities to build links that are working for your competitors or not.
This option present there will give you the caliber to delve deeper into your competitor’s link profile. This can be done easily by using the option, “similar profile” as they will be a great example of how other domains are working so that you would implement new opportunities to use.
Here you will be able to see as to which pages have the highest number of links pointing to them and then, plan as to how you would be able to utilize the link as a part of your internal linking strategy.
All in all, you need to understand that competitor analysis has more opportunity than anything else and you should never under-estimate its power. Using the right set of tools, you are able to get high-quality details regarding competitor analysis and as a result, you will use the reports to build the right links, which will help you to increase rankings and drive organic growth.
How To Get Backlinks To Your Site?
The simple answer regarding this is that there are several ways to achieve this, but again, not all of them are equally influential. Not all of them come with a higher success rate or help you build better quality links than others. Moreover, there has always been a myth that to get quality backlinks, you will have to pay hefty payments to the digital marketing agency. There are several other ways that you can implement to get high-quality backlinks, but amidst everything, you need to understand that earning them is way better than buying them because buying means going the black-hat way. Here are some useful steps that would help you get the highest quality backlinks.
Ask Your Suppliers To Link To You
If you are a seller of products and services, you will observe that many websites have this section of “Where To Buy?” or “Stockist” and you can use them for your benefit.
If you find that your business’s name is not included in the list, you can get it added by updating the list. This simply means that you will have to find these sections on a website and reach out to your contact and ask to be added.
Use Haro To Respond To Requests From Journalists
HARO or Help A Reporter Out is a firmly established platform, where journalists seek resources and quotes for upcoming stories. You will simply have to sign up and receive three source requests on a daily basis for 5 working days. If the requests are there that match your experiences, you can respond to them back with the help of a stated deadline and if yours has been in use, you will get a good opportunity to earn a link.
However, here an important thing to understand is that it is not necessary that every link submission would be successful to earn you a link. Therefore, it is very important that you only respond when you can add value through your experience and be clear that you would expect to be credited with a link.
Write A Guest Post For An Industry Publication
Google says that guest posting became an ineffective way back in 2014, but experts believe it as an influential tactic of earning links and sharing insights and experience from relevant industry publications.
Use Niche-Specific Directories
A very handsome method of earning some crucial backlinks is using industry-specific directories that are designed to showcase companies operating in that sector.
According to the experts, from this source, you will find local variants of these directories in local areas too and this is very similar to guest posting, where Google can be used to trace and use these strategies.
Turn Brand Mentions Into Links
Experts say that it is always a better idea to turn the brand into mentions because with media covering the company or the brand, most of the hard work would be done. You would be able to easily secure the coverage and for this, experts recommend following up with the journalist or editor especially when you have been mentioned by the press. Remember that these mentions can quickly turn into a very fruitful backlink and as a result, the businesses can move further without any issues.
There are numerous highly advanced and free-to-use brand monitoring tools available in the markets that can be used to monitor the brand mentions. Using these tools would be as simple as creating a campaign around your domain, brand terms, and target country. On these tools, a feature allows you to set “report frequency” and get the report delivered right in your inbox so that you don’t miss out on any opportunity of getting high authoritative backlinks.
Then, there is another feature within the dashboard of these tools that you can use to filter mentions that you like and that you don’t like at all. This feature will also help you organise your link reclamation efforts, connect your e-mail account and send e-mail pitches and keep track of mentions you successfully turn into links.
Become Cited As A Resource
If you are the creator of good meaningful content that has been published on the Internet, you can use this as an opportunity to get links by being cited as an “AUTHOR”.
Publish Research And Pitch It To The Press
In terms of high authoritative backlinks, SEO professionals believe that a unique search is a sure-fire way to achieve some very impressive and highly authoritative backlinks. This is followed by another fact that not at any point in time, you should assume it as an easy and quick task, because this takes time and dedicated efforts. Journalists and publishers absolutely love sharing research studies and surveys and this can be a great way to earn fantastic links if you are prepared to put in the time and effort.
Analyse Your Competitor’s Backlink Profile To Identify Opportunities
Not to mention that by monitoring and analysing the competitor’s profile, you will definitely get some idea of how you can earn the links that will help you grow as much your competitors are growing. However, this has to be done only with the competitors who are challenging you really hard and in fact, surpassing you easily in the competition.
For this too, you can use several tools that will help you analyse your competitor’s profile and find out the opportunities to get more and more and better and better backlinks.
On the majority of these tools, you will simply have to enter your domain alongside your main competitors to get started. Experts believe it as a very handy way of identifying gaps in your competitors’ link building strategy and prioritize opportunities.
The More Links You Have, The Higher You Will Rank
This may be a fact, but another very important point is that it is not necessarily true. The reason is that not all backlinks are equal and they don’t even perform equally. For example – one great link from a newspaper or top industry publication could be worth hundreds of low-quality links from blog comments on unrelated posts.
The fact is that link building is not about the number of links or the number game, but still, there is a strong correlation between the number of backlinks and their quality. However, you should never fall in this trap of focussing only upon the number and not their quality. This will result in yielding low-quality links that harm, not help your rankings.