If you have a website and are interested in more people visiting it, then you most likely want backlinks. It is foundational to effective SEO strategies and can make or break your rankings when competing, but this doesn’t mean you should be spending all your time on backlinks, or that you should be building them up willy nilly.
In short, a backlink is really just a link to your website that comes from another website. These are valuable because they are perhaps the most important factor in where your site ranks in search engines. They are basically indicators that people believe your website is worthy of sharing with other people and being referenced. Backlinks that are highly visible may also send traffic to your site directly, since people may click on them. Google accurately believes that if your site is backlinked, and by relevant and authoritative websites, then your website is more likely to be a good result for relevant searches.
Are all backlinks useful?
Excellent question, and honestly the answer is no, but whether or not you have to worry about this is actually subjective. Websites have different aspects that affect the quality of their backlinks. A domain with a higher authority of its own is way more impactful than one without much authority, and domains that are relevant to the content and audience of your site will also be more effective.
Also, some can actually be toxic. Think of it as being associated with a bad person, if a website is considered to be spam or some type of scam, and they link to you, this may actually affect your ranking negatively. This is why it’s important to audit your links and to be selective if you do decide to purchase them. As a general rule, for long-lasting and stable results, avoid what is known as “Black Hat SEO”.Thankfully, you can actually ‘remove’ these bad links by disavowing them.
How do I get backlinks?
There actually are a lot of different ways to build your link portfolio.
- One of the simplest ways is to have referable content on your website —
If you create pages and posts that are worth linking to, then people may link to those resources to assist in the content that they create. The higher your authority is the more likely they are to do so as well. They will hope that you return the favor.
- Business Directory submission —
If you are a business owner, or someone builds websites for businesses, directories are a simple and often free way to get backlinks and potentially direct traffic to your website. There are more than you or I know, and altogether they can be a very impactful step towards ranking. This does depend on your competition and industry. A Lot of these directories may sell you on a premium spot or package, but these won’t be necessary to get the backlink, and I suggest generally avoiding these, especially if you’re trying to save some money.
- Give Backlinks to others —
While some people won’t care or notice that you’ve linked to their site, others will, and they may return the favor. Also, it’s important to note that having links to other sites is also favorable in Google’s eyes as well, and it maybe is useful to do so rather than explaining or proving everything you create content about.
- Simply Ask —
Of course, this works much better when you have some type of leverage. One thing that many people often do successfully is replacing broken links. You find websites that could potentially link to the content you have, and see if anything they already link to doesn’t work. You can notify the Webmaster and offer your link as a replacement.
- You can actually buy them…
Hey hey now, this isn’t as simple or as easy as it may sound. You have to do your due diligence and ensure that the backlinks you receive won’t do your website harm and that they are actually impacting your website’s ranking. Always vet the source and the results, and make sure you are holding them accountable.
Of course, all of this information might be useless to you if you can’t even determine what your backlinks actually are. If you read this, it’s probably important to you to know how and why you’re ranking the way you do, so you should try to implement and understand google search engine, Search console, and potentially invest in some SEO reporting tools so you can understand and improve your website’s ranking. It may also be useful to those of you who have hired someone and want to ensure the results of their work are real.
In the meantime, here are some free ways to check your backlinks:
There probably are hundreds of tools like these, but these tools are consistent with the paid software I use, and with what backlinks I know I have.
Tip: make sure to check both the http:// and https:// versions of your domain, as they may produce different results in the checker, but they both affect your ranking overall.I hope this information helps you, and more importantly that you act on it if it applies, good backlinks won’t come if we aren’t proactive.
I’ll be expanding or updating this and topics like this as I see fit, stay tuned for more content on improving and ranking your website.