Even if you’ve only just started your website building journey, you’ll already know how important SEO is for increasing traffic to your website. Several factors influence your SEO ranking. One of the main ones is a technique called backlinking. But what is backlinking?
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links from one website to another. If you refer your users to a website by linking to it, that website has a backlink from you. Backlinks are also called one-way links, incoming links, or inbound links. Search engines depend a lot on backlinking to rank websites. When someone links to a website it means that they believe that content is trustworthy and worth paying attention to.
So, as you can see, backlinks themselves are a very simple concept. But despite this simplicity, backlinks are one of the most effective SEO techniques you can use to increase your website’s traffic.
What Is Backlinking in SEO?
When it comes to SEO, a backlink from another website means that they believe your site is a trustworthy source of information. The better-quality backlinks your website gets, the more authority your page has. The authority of a website is one metric that search engines, like Google, use to determine the ranking of results on the search engine results page (SERP). So, quality backlinks boost your website’s SERP ranking, helping users find your site more easily.
Did you notice that I said, “quality backlinks” and not “more backlinks”? When it comes to backlinking, you should focus on quality over quantity. Let’s take a look at the different types of quality backlinks and how they affect your site’s SEO.
Types of Backlinks
A “nofollow” HTML tag on a backlink tells search engines to ignore it. It’s used when you need to link to a website that you don’t want to necessarily vouch for, or if it’s an affiliate link. Nofollow backlinks don’t improve the linked website’s SERP ranking and authority.
Here’s an example of a nofollow backlink:
<a href=”https://www.yourdomain.com/” rel=”nofollow”>
“Dofollow” backlinks are preferable to nofollow backlinks because they can help improve your website’s traffic and SERP ranking. There are no HTML tags used for these types of backlinks. They’re simply a link to the specific webpage. For example:
Not all dofollow links are beneficial for your SEO. Backlinks are “toxic” when they come from low-quality, suspicious websites or websites that violate the search engine’s terms of service. Backlinks from these sources may even result in a penalty for your website, including being removed from the search engine results entirely. So, focus on generating backlinks from larger, well-respected websites.
Sponsored backlinks are backlinks that you’ve paid for. For example, you might pay a blogger or influencer with a large audience to promote your page or some of your content. Since paying for backlinks violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, adding the sponsored HTML tag stops your website from being negatively impacted by these types of links. Here’s what a sponsored backlink looks like:
<a href=”https://www.yourdomain.com/” rel=”sponsored”>
As you can see, backlinks can vary in quality and value. Let’s take a look at some tips for effective backlinking.
People are more likely to click links that are more visible on a web page. A bolded backlink in the substantive content of a page generates more traffic than one placed in the footer or sidebar.
Backlinks from larger, more popular web pages usually generate more authority than those from smaller pages. For example, if you write a science blog, you’re more likely to benefit from a backlink from Nature.com than from one created by a newer website with a smaller audience in the same niche.
It’s important that backlinks come from relevant websites. Let’s imagine that you own a website in the agriculture niche and you get backlinks from both a gardening website and a construction website. Given that the gardening website is more relevant to your niche, its readers are more likely to click your link than those from the construction page. Thus, relevance is key when it comes to effective backlinking.
How to Get Backlinks?
Building an effective network of backlinks takes time and effort, but here are some simple tips to help you start:
- Use social media to create backlinks for your website. According to this article by one of the most successful online marketers, Neil Patel, social media is great for building backlinks. Simple techniques, such as including your website in your social media profile and promoting existing content across your social media profiles can really help to grow your backlinking strategy.
- Try guest posting. There are always bigger websites in your niche that are looking for other people to contribute with posts. If you have good ideas to pitch, guest blogging is a sure way to get relevant backlinks.
- Ask your suppliers for backlinks. If you sell someone else’s products on your website, a good way to get backlinks is to ask your suppliers to link to you on their “where to buy” pages.
- Search for websites in your niche with outdated links. If you see an article on a relevant topic that needs updating, reach out to the website and ask them to link to your more recent content instead. You’ll be helping them stay current and getting backlinks at the same time.
That’s Backlinking in a Nutshell
Backlinking is crucial to improving your website’s traffic and SERP rankings. Not all backlinks are the same, and they vary in quality depending on the source, placement, and relevance. Plus, some backlinks can even be harmful to your page, so you always need to pay attention to who’s linking to your work.
Building up an effective backlinking strategy can take a while, but it’s worth it for the SEO benefits!