What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links found on other websites that are pointing at your website. Without quality links your site will likely never achieve higher keyword ranking. However, just having a large number of links pointing at your site does not guarantee success. You need quality backlinks in order to rise to the first page of results.
Good Backlinks Improve Website Ranking
In order to secure good backlinks 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 because search engines rank websites according to how many quality backlinks they find not the total number of links.
What are Quality Backlinks?
- Your link on a site with relevant content
- The other site is considered a quality site
- Your link on a page with few other links
- Your link 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 Yahoo directory or another quality 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 PracticeProviding content that other people will link to without your asking is the best method to gather links. 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 LWD, I provide a lot of:
The most effective way to encourage people to link to your content is to provide information that is useful to your visitors.
Finding Backlinks For Your WebsiteGoogle uses the quality of the content, age of the site, backlinks, social networking as well as Page Rank to rank sites (along with 200+ other factors). Unless you want to PayPerClick for the life of the site, you need to gather a lot of links and write a lot of content to get ranking as high as possible. It's doubtful that your competitors will be sitting still and doing nothing, so keep an eye on what they are doing also.
- 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. Some of them may require a link trade but try to get mostly one-way links.
- Relevant Links: Look for websites focused on what your site offers but have a different focus, i.e., submit to a gardening site if you sell garden tools.
- Competitors Links: Check to see where your competitors are getting their links and try and submit your website there also but run the links through a link quality analysis program first.
- Find Directories in Your Own Niche Submit to relevant directories in your own niche, i.e., if you sell or offer information about vitamins then look for directories focused on health products.
- Submit to Local Directories These likely won't provide a followed link but they always list your site name (citation) and these help ranking a little bit also.
- 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 title for a majority of links instead of the brand name.
- Submit Press Releases Only submit press releases when you have a valid reason for one — any new development on your site or an original focus with your products that the 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" but 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 now put a rel="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 no longer pass much benefit). So write articles and only post each article one time only and on relevant, quality sites that accept articles or put them on your own website instead.
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 backlinks go offline (or are taken down by Google's algorithm). Your competitors are probably eagerly seeking more backlinks to outrank you so unless you actively seek more backlinks each year your keyword rank may drop.
Pay Per Click is only temporaryGetting 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.
Also see Search Engine Optimization Tipss for more linking ideas.
Search Engine Faq
Technology that Blocks Some Search Engines
Dynamic Pages vs Static Pages
Keyword Ranking FAQ
Maximize the Title Tag
How to Get Good Backlinks
MACs are not dead and buried yet!
Submitting websites to Search Engines and Directories
How Long Does It take to Rank in Google
Return to Search Engine Optimization Tips
Copyright © 7-5-01, updated 10-23-14
All rights reserved.