What are Backlinks?
Links on other websites that are pointing at your website are called backlinks. However, just having a large number of links pointing at your site does not guarantee success. You need several quality backlinks in order to rise to the first page of results. Without quality links your site will likely never achieve higher keyword ranking.
Good Backlinks Improve Website Ranking
In order to gain better keyword ranking you need to not only have quality content on your website but also focus on getting quality links from relevant websites in your own niche.
What are Quality Backlinks?
- Your link comes from a site with relevant content
- The other site is considered a quality site
- The other site is an authority site in your niche
- Your link is on a page with few other links
- Your link is within the content of the page (not the footer or sidebars)
You Need a Balance of Link Types
Google recently changed it's algorighym so that if there is an excess of traded links, an in-balance of links from directories, blogs or forums, obvious purchased links, or if you get involved in triangular linking schemes, or buy hundreds or thousands of links, then it will draw a red flag for Google which may then apply a filter to your site to prevent it from ranking well.
An occasional, relevant link trade is ok and having to buy a link in a relevant directory that is human reviewed, where you have to pay for the review (and not the submission) is OK. However, anything in excess can cause problems with your ranking in Google because they can tell when you gathered the links yourself vs others linking to your website. Google also keeps a record of your link profile which affects your trust rank so if you have bought a lot of links in the past your trust rank may never improve.
Google is having to do this due to too many marketers finding some new trick that helps their keyword rank (like hidden text) and then everyone else follows suit and then Google has to clamp down on that practice, until next time someone comes up with a "bright idea" to boost their ranking.
Google prefers that others promote your site and not yourself, so anything you do to try and manipulate your rank in Google can draw a red flag and your site could be banned, penalized or have your keyword rank filtered out, i.e., you won't be able to rank for anything no matter what you do.
Best Linking Practice
Providing information that is useful to your visitors, that other people will link to without your asking, is the best method to gather links because they will often mention your content with a link to your website on their website or blog. If you sell auto parts offer tech tips on how to fix autos, if you sell furniture offer free building plans, if you provide a service write up a FAQ about your service, etc.
On this site I provide a lot of:
How does Google rank sites?
The two main things Google looks for is the quality of the content on your site (is it in-depth and cover the topic completely), and also the user experience (i.e., do people find it hard to navigate your site or order your products or services). Google also looks at the age of the site, how many backlinks are pointing at your site, if you are active in social networking, along with 200+ other factors (page rank is not as big a factor as it once was because it's too easily manipulate). So, unless you want to PayPerClick for the life of the site, you will want to make sure you focus on all of those.
Finding Backlinks For Your Website
- Find friends, businesses associates, individuals, or organizations who are willing to link to your website as soon as it's online, then you won't need to submit to search engines because the search engines can find your link on a site they have indexed already.
- Relevant Links: Look for websites focused on what your site offers but have a different focus and submit original unique articles (but not to article directories).
- Competitors Links: Run your competitors through a link quality program to see where they are getting their quality links and try and submit your website there.
- Directories in Your Own Niche Submit to relevant directories in your own niche, i.e., for cabinet makers look for authoritative woodworking sites.
- Submit to Local Directories This only applies if you only serve customers locally. These likely won't provide a followed link but they always list your site name (citation or mention) and these help ranking a little bit.
- Using Brand Name vs Keywords Since Google's Penguin update, Google has been penalizing sites for over-optimized backlinks, i.e., using keywords in the link name (anchor text) for a majority of links, instead of the brand name or domain name.
- Submit Press Releases Only submit press releases when you have a valid reason for one, like any new development on your site or an original focus with your products that customers on the press release site will be interested in.
- Blogging Post messages in relevant blogs related to the topic of your site with a link to your website within the post or profile where appropriate. Try to get links that are NOT "no followed", however, even those will help your rank a little due to your site being mentioned (it's called a citation).
- Participate in Forums Find forums related to your website's focus and post often so you will get noticed and build up trust so people will click on the link in your profile or signature and possibly link to your site from their own site or in other forums showing where they found valuable information. Most forums put nofollow on all outgoing links so this may not benefit you with ranking but may bring some traffic and provide citations.
- Guest Blogging This used to be a good way to get links but Matt Cutts stated in January 2014 that "guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy" (in other words, article directories, where their content is shared on multiple other sites, no longer pass much benefit). So write articles and only post each article one time only and on relevant, quality sites or put them on your own website instead.
- Internal Linking Google also consideres links from one of your pages to another of your pages as a valid link, but only if it's within the content of your pages (not the menu, sidebar or footer), like the following link that should be of interest to those that are reading this page.
Directories that Pass PR
How Many Backlinks is Enough?
That depends on your major keywords. Are they popular? If so, you will have a struggle to beat your competition and may have to resort to PayPerClick along with backlinks.
If very few websites advertise the products or services you offer then you may not need very many backlinks to rank high in the search engines but your traffic may still be minimal because of your site being so specialized. In that case diversify and add more information.
Your backlinks need to be replenished each year because some websites along with their links to your site go offline (or are taken down by Google's algorithm). Your competitors may be more aggressive in seeking links than you so you should check your rank occasionally.
Pay Per Click is only temporary
Getting good quality backlinks is a lengthy process and can take several months, unless you want to utilize PayPerClick (Google's AdWords) and then it can achieve almost immediate results but those results will end as soon as you quit paying so it's a good idea to gather links at the same time.
Technology that Blocks Some Search Engines
Dynamic Pages vs Static Pages
Maximize the Title Tag
How to Get Good Backlinks
Submitting websites to Search Engines and Directories
How Long Does It take to Rank in Google
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