As of June 30, 2019, more than 4.5 million people viewed the more than 1.5 billion websites that exist on the internet. So, if you have a business website or a blog, how do you drive traffic to your particular corner of the web? The answer to that question is through search engine optimization (SEO). One way to optimize your SEO is to cultivate relationships with other websites to generate backlinks.
What is a Backlink?
Simply speaking, a backlink on a website is a link to your website from another site. When another website links to you, creating a backlink, the other website is essentially endorsing your site for quality content.
For an example of a backlink, imagine this: you have a travel blog, and you want your readers to be able to navigate to the website of a particular travel service, airline, or hotel chain. You would embed a link to that business’s website onto your own website, thus creating a backlink for the other website. If your travel blog is doing well, this can create an influx of traffic for whatever business you have endorsed with a backlink.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
Backlinks are important for SEO. Have you ever wondered why some websites rank higher on search engine platforms like Google, Bing, or Yahoo? There are many reasons for higher rankings, but one factor in determining a website’s ranking is the number of relevant backlinks. The more relevant backlinks a website has, the higher the website will rank in the search results on search engines.
Let’s look at the above example in a different way: you have a travel service, and someone with a travel blog has used your services. The travel blog is happy with the service you provided and has provided a link to your website in their blog. This link is a backlink for your travel service website, and it can make a difference to the traffic visiting your website. This potential increase in visits can make a difference in your business’s profitability.
Keep in mind that the backlink from another website should be relevant in terms of content. For instance, a backlink from an auto repair website to a gardening blog will likely not affect SEO rankings, or the search engine could completely disregard this kind of non-relevant backlink.
Types of Backlinks
There are two main types of backlinks: a no follow backlink and a dofollow backlink. When a website links to another website, it can add a tag that tells a search engine’s web crawlers to either count the link when determining SEO rankings or not count the link. When the website adds a “no follow” tag, web crawlers ignore the backlink because the website has essentially told them that the linked website is not necessarily a trusted, authoritative website. However, when the website adds a “dofollow” tag, the web crawlers note that the linked website can be trusted. The “dofollow” backlink tags are the way to increase a website’s search ranking.
How Do You Build Backlinks?
The easiest way to build backlinks is to pay someone to generate them for you. Unfortunately, search engine platforms are aware of this practice and have ways to identify this non-organic way of generating backlinks. Paid generated backlinks can actually work against you.
According to Backlinko, you can get high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites in the following ways:
- Create a “linkable asset” that people will want to link to (blogs, informational graphics, videos, etc.)
- Ask a blog if you can be included in a link roundup in your field
- Suggest your website to sites that are linking to outdated websites (a.k.a. The Moving Man method)
- Let websites know about broken links (404 results), putting your own website on their radar
- Write a guest post and include a link to your website in your bio
- Submit testimonials and include a link to your website in the testimonial or comment
- Reclaim links from sites that cite your website without linking to it—ask the site to link to your website instead of just citing it
The Take-Away About Backlinks
Individuals and businesses that want to increase their internet web traffic and SEO rankings should understand and utilize backlinks on their websites. With some research and a little work, building a quality website that is well-regarded and recognized by other websites as authoritative can earn you the backlinks you need to affect your overall search rankings. A bump in your search rankings can mean an increase in visitors to your site and, ideally, more followers for your blog or more paying customers for your business.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Teresa Street.