Talking Tactics Today - Backlinks - What A Great Way To Build Your Website Traffic!
If you want to improve your website’s SEO ranking, you’ll want a full strategy that helps your site rank well. One of those great tactics a firm like ours will leverage is a focus building backlinks. (if you’re looking for some tips and tricks to help your site, check out our thoughts here!)
First question Backlinks as an SEO tactic, is it worth it?
Backlinks are exactly as you would think, links from other websites to your website, and they are a key factor In determining a site’s Search Engine ranking.
So why not just pay for as many backlinks as you can?
Not all backlinks are created equal. In order to get the most SEO benefit from a backlink, you’ll want to focus on links from reputable sites that share a common tie to your brand. Some SEOs regard these as High Quality backlinks. (Just don’t go discounting a smaller site that links to you as disreputable, we will discuss toxicity here in a bit which relates)
We will certainly discuss what backlinks are and why they’re important for SEO here in this post, but if you’re more interested in an audio piece about it, we talked about it here in our podcast, this is a similar take to what I write about below.
In our focus today, we’ll be sharing how to get quality backlinks as a DIYer, such as yourself, explain the importance of this tactic, and we will also discuss how to measure the benefits of your back-linking effort.
The goal here at Serenity Digital is to share our process so you can better understand how to use backlinks to improve your website’s SEO ranking, it also helps that you know our different tactics so we can have a deeper discussion of the process with you when we meet.
Serenity Digital had a podcast focusing on backlinks, Take a listen here!
What are backlinks and why are they important for SEO.
First, we start with the question "What are backlinks?"
A backlink is a link from one website to another, and is also known as an inbound link or an incoming link. Search engines like Google and Bing look at a backlink as important for a site as it’s a signal from one website writer referencing your site as a place to find good information. When you look at it this way, what a trigger! A website with more backlinks tends to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Backlinks are created when one website links to another. The linked-to website (also known as the target site) receives a backlink, while the linking site (the source site) will normally try to go for increased traffic through time as a newer source of information.
Are there different types of Backlinks?
There are two main types of backlinks: dofollow and nofollow.
Dofollow links are the most common type of backlink, and occur when a website links to another without using the nofollow attribute. Dofollow links are an important way a website will signal that information they are discussing is important to reference from another websites data. They trust it, so should you! Something you’ll hear in the SEO world is SEO Juice (which I believe to be a bit of an older way to view this trust) Websites looking for a lot of backlinks will be more “trustworthy” in the eyes of search engines.
Nofollow links occur when a website uses the nofollow attribute, which tells search engines not to count the link as a vote for the target site. Nofollow links can still be beneficial for SEO, though they don’t pass along the same “trust” as a dofollow. Think of it like a website writing content has referenced another site, but really they don’t want you to view this other site as being more trustworthy in a way. It’s not passing along the trust, but still signaling that it’s a good place to find information.
The vast majority of backlinks are dofollow, but it’s important to be aware of both types.
What is the difference between backlinks and other types of links
Backlinks differ from other types of links in several ways:
-They’re votes: Backlinks are like votes from other websites telling search engines that your site is worth looking at and ranking highly in SERPs. The more votes you have (i.e., the more backlinks you have), the better your chances of ranking higher for certain topics and queries.
-They’re permanent: Once a website links to yours, that link is usually there permanently unless the linking site removes it or changes it to a nofollow link. This is unlike other types of marketing or advertising, which you have to pay for over and over again to keep getting results (think about paying for ads on TV or radio). With backlinks, once you’ve got them, you generally don’t have to keep paying for them. Of course, this isn’t always true.
Also, a way to build your backlinks is to find broken links through trustworthy sites that haven’t updated their information in a while in a blog, writing the site owner and referencing the blog, broken link, and sharing the content that relates to what they’ve written about, making it easy for them, is a way to win a backlink from a site that may have changed or gone under. This is an SEO strategy commonly used to build backlinks.
-Backlinks are relatively easy to get: Unlike many other types of marketing or advertising, it’s relatively easy to get high-quality backlinks if you know what you’re doing. You don’t need tens of thousands of dollars; sometimes all it takes is a couple hundred dollars or even just some time and effort on your part if you’re willing to do outreach yourself
How do backlinks help SEO
Backlinks are important for SEO as you build links to your content, the website itself becomes more important in the eyes of a search engine.
When a website links to another, the linked-to website gets a backlink. The number of backlinks is one factor that search engines use to rank websites. In general, websites with more backlinks tend to rank higher in SERPs than those with fewer backlinks.
However, it’s not just the number of backlinks that’s important – it’s also the quality of those backlinks. A link from a high-quality, authority site carries more weight than a link from a low-quality or spammy site. That’s why it’s important to get links from websites that are relevant and have high PageRank scores.
Not only does it matter where the links are from other factors include the context the link shows up, what the anchor text says, how the site linking to your site views your site and search engines will also use A.I. to figure out a deeper connection between the content from one site to another.
How do I start working on my Backlinks?
Identify your linkable assets
Your linkable assets are the pieces of content on your website that other websites would want to link to. To make this easy, do you have any data that’s new or proprietary?
This could be a blog post, an infographic, or even just a helpful page on your website with information ideally that has a different view than most, or has more information about a topic, or just straight up data and charts that compiles good information that you’d like to share.
To find your linkable assets, start by doing a content audit of your website. Look at all of the different types of content you have and identify which ones are getting the most traffic and social shares. These are likely to be your linkable assets.
Create (more) great content around your linkable assets
Once you’ve identified your linkable assets, it’s time to create great content around them. This will make them even more valuable to other websites and increase the chances that they’ll want to link to them.
Write detailed and informative blog posts that provide valuable information about your topic. Create beautiful and share worthy infographics that people will remember. And make sure all of your pages are well-designed and easy to navigate.
Reach out to other websites and ask for links
Who is going to know about the content you make, unless you start sharing. This is some of the grunt work, but can really help people find you.
Once you have great content around your linkable assets, reach out to other websites and ask for links. Start by finding websites in your industry that have already linked to similar content. Then contact the webmasters of these sites and let them know about your own piece of content.
Be brief, polite and professional in your request, know that many people ask for links so be impactful but quick in your request. If you follow these steps, you should be able to get high-quality backlinks from other websites that helps your sites SEO.
I have Backlinks, but I need to know if they're working!
Check Your Website's Link Popularity
One way to measure the SEO benefits of your backlinks is to check your website’s link popularity. This can be done with a number of different tools, but some popular ones include Google Search Console and Moz’s Open Site Explorer. Companies like Serenity Digital have access to high quality tools we pay for that help us diagnose and monitor backlinks. If we are able to connect, I can certainly share a view of your site and your sites content. You can easily connect with us here.
Link popularity is simply a measure of how many other websites are linking to yours. The more links you have, the more popular your site is, and the more likely it is to rank well in search engine results pages.
There are a few things to keep in mind when checking your link popularity:
-First, remember that not all links are created equal. A link from a high-quality website will carry more weight than a link from a low-quality site. (low-quality links are also known as toxic links, more on that in a second)
-Second, beware of “link farms” or other artificial ways of artificially inflating your link popularity. These methods may get you short-term results, but they will ultimately hurt your long-term SEO efforts. Sometimes, these link farms can scuttle you as soon as you sign up, no good.
Analyze your website's backlink profile
In addition to checking your overall link popularity, it’s also helpful to analyze your website’s backlink profile. This refers to the specific websites that are linking to yours. Are these sites writing content that relates to you as a whole? Why did they link to you? Really take a minute or two to look at this, as well as the anchor text (the text that is linked) and the PageRank of those sites.
Knowing this information about why a site is linking to you is important in making sure you keep your backlink toxicity down.
There are a number of tools that can help you with this analysis, but some popular ones include SEMRush and Ahrefs.
What are toxic backlinks?
A Toxic backlink is a link that doesn’t make sense, or one that raises suspicion of a search engine signaling you might be trying to game the system.
We’ve noted a few times already here toxic backlinks. And truly they can be many things, but what makes them bad for your site? Google will penalize your site if it thinks you’re just trying to beat out the competition by cheating the system. Paying for links, trading for links (in a non organic way) or even building your own list of sites to bolster your SEO just doesn’t work.
In a time that Google, and other search engines, have been trying to catalogue and manage all the content on the web. There have been many companies, or people, looking for ways to trick their systems. When Google was working on ways to show good content to people asking questions, one of the ways they signaled content was basically a voting system.
A backlink was a vote from one site to another, you know that from above, but with simpler calculations, and when Google was younger, you could win by just having the most backlinks. They weren’t using the rating systems they have today, or A.I. to try and understand your content and why a backlink is there.
Companies would pay for thousands of backlinks from sites that had no business linking out to a business, and that business would rank number 1 for a question someone was searching for.
However, if someone searches on Google, “best running shoe for wide foot” and a site selling foot fungal cream showed up first, people would wonder why that site was there. Google is constantly trying to make sure that good content, that answers a persons question in a simple way will show up first.
One thing Serenity Digital is steadfast on, write good content, you will win long term answering questions in a meaningful way on your site. You don’t need to “play the game” so to speak to win.
Monitor your website's SEO progress
It’s important to monitor your website’s SEO progress on an ongoing basis. This includes tracking both your organic traffic and your backlink profile over time. Really, watching the traffic and where people are finding you are the end goal.
All this work you’re putting into this tactic is for one thing, more traffic that needs to know you exist, or remember that you have helpful information for them. There are a number of different tools that can help you with this, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are both great tools you can use to understand these metrics. (and having a great company help you understand the data like we do at Serenity Digital won’t hurt!)
Now, You're a Backlink Expert! Way to go.
If you want to improve your website’s SEO, backlinks are an essential tactic to an overall strategy. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They help search engines like Google find and index your site, and they can also improve your site’s ranking in search results.
Getting quality backlinks can be challenging, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success: identify your linkable assets, create great content around those assets, and reach out to other websites and ask for links.
Once you’ve built up a good number of backlinks, you’ll want to measure the SEO benefits by checking your website’s link popularity and analyzing your backlink profile. You should also monitor your website’s SEO progress over time to ensure that your backlinking efforts are paying off.
If you have questions, Serenity Digital is here to help. Drop us a line and let us help you understand what’s going on with your site, and help put together a strategy to drive good traffic your way.