Backlinks from larger, authoritative sites can boost your website’s SEO and Google rankings. A strategy that increases the number of backlinks to your site is an effective way to increase traffic.
Backlinks show search engines your website content is a worthwhile resource that should be shared.
A backlink, also called an inbound link, is like a vote for your website’s content over others in the same niche. Each vote helps drive your website higher in search rankings.
The numbers support link building as a dependable and important SEO strategy. A top ranking page on Google boasts an average of 3.8 times more backlinks than the nine results beneath it, and 92 per cent of marketers believe links will still be a key Google ranking feature in five years.
The importance of backlinks for SEO
A backlink is a link to your website that is included in a mention of your company, your products or a related topic on another website. When a trusted and authoritative website links to yours, it helps Google validate the quality and legitimacy of your website.
A backlink can also drive traffic your way. When a visitor to the other site comes across the linked text, they may click on it out of curiosity and find your content.
There are different types of backlinks you may be able to garner for your site so you can enjoy a cumulative benefit.
1. Organic backlinks
An organic backlink is a recommendation made by a website publisher who finds your content helpful or interesting for their audience. The best way to get these kinds of links is by creating valuable content that’s timely, widely shared or evergreen.
2. Press release and media links
You may earn some coverage from media outlets when you have major news or company updates to share. You can reach out to journalists looking for a local contact or expert to quote. These opportunities can get your name in the media with a link to your business website.
3. Guest posting and other contributor links
Many websites offer experts the chance to contribute to a corporate blog or resource library. Author credits can include a link to their website. You may have valuable experience or insights for another website’s audience, who may follow links to your site to learn more.
4. Discussion forum and platform links
While dropping massive numbers of links across multiple forums and discussion boards is discouraged for being too spammy, the chance to offer a helpful response to relevant questions in your industry or niche can help draw users to your website. Be mindful to offer value and include a link to your site when and where it’s allowed.
5. Sponsored links
Sometimes you can pay for your website or company name to be mentioned with a link. In these cases, the link will be flagged as paid or “sponsored” to clearly disclose the nature of the relationship between the two companies or websites. Paid ads and placements often require this type of link.
6. Dofollow versus nofollow links
Dofollow backlinks are regular links you may be used to seeing in content. They send traffic to your site and offer a direct boost to SEO. However, because of their value, they may not be available from all sites.
Nofollow links don’t contribute to Google rankings. They may direct some traffic but don’t directly influence your SEO. Nofollow links are common when spam may be an issue or when a popular website doesn’t want to appear to endorse another site.
To build more opportunities for backlinks that will help your SEO, look for genuine ways to have other websites link to your content. You’ll have better luck if you make value for the user the focus of your strategy than if you just go looking for a high number of links.
Try these tactics to gain high quality backlinks:
- Ask to guest post or contribute to a company blog in your niche.
- Talk to business partners or suppliers about displaying your company name with a link.
- Consider working with influencers who can link to your website as part of a campaign to reach their audiences.
- Create and publish relevant industry data and share it with your network to encourage a broader audience to link to your research.
- Publish helpful guides, how-to videos or valuable resource articles that others can link to.
- Respond to media requests or “ask a reporter” callouts to act as an expert or resource to get your name mentioned on larger media platforms.
- Set up a Google alert for your company name and ask for a link if another site mentions your company.
- Identify broken links on relevant sites and offer your website as a potential substitute.
As with any other traffic building strategy, you should proceed carefully to ensure that backlinks to your site are desirable and of high quality. Remember, Google’s goal is to find high-value, useful content for its users when they go searching.
In the same way Google will measure valuable links to your site, it will also measure and respond to low quality links. Use caution when evaluating link building strategies to avoid backlinks that hurt your search rankings.
High-volume, low-quality links could hurt you, so avoid plans and schemes that seem too good to be true. If there are suddenly many links directed to or from your website, Google may downgrade it in search results for your niche.
Watch out for plans that insist on excessive amounts of links between sites or that create pages full of links that aren’t connected to valuable content, such as relevant articles, product pages, items or services for sale or other information a user might be seeking.
Links can appear in different locations across a website, and each can offer different value to you as the linked site. A link to your website could appear within text content (often considered the most valuable), as well as in embedded images, widgets or a website footer.
Why is a text link important? Google assigns more value to links surrounded by relevant information, as there’s a higher chance the link will be useful to a searcher.
Understanding Google’s search rules can be tricky and may take some trial and error, but making your brand more trustworthy is key to showing up in online searches. Building backlinks for SEO is important, and it’s worth enlisting help to plan and execute a successful strategy. Book a consultation with a Postmedia expert to learn more.