Backlinks are what makes SEO strategies succeed. In fact, backlinks are one of Google’s top three ranking factors. They are like the bread and butter of SEO, increasing search ranking results, authority, traffic, and conversions (to name just a few!)
In this article, we will look at why backlinks should be part of your SEO strategy and the best ways to get started.
What are backlinks?
Before we get into this article, it’s important to understand what backlinks are.
Backlinks are URLs to your website that are published on other websites. The purpose of backlinks is to direct users from one website to another. They are an essential SEO ranking factor and can have a huge impact on the visibility, conversions, and overall success of your website.
Backlinks are also commonly referred to as “inbound links” or “incoming links” and are crawled by Google’s search algorithm and used to determine your website’s authority.
The more high quality backlinks you have pointing to your website, the more your website’s domain authority and rankings will increase.
Why backlinks are important
Backlinks play a prominent role in successful SEO strategies. Backlinks tell Google that your website is an authoritative source of information, increasing your position in the search results.
According to Ahrefs, the more backlinks your website has, the more organic traffic it will receive from Google.
Backlinks are an essential aspect of SEO and provide the following benefits:
- Build your brand authority
- Drive referral traffic to your website
- Build new relationships
- Increase your brand visibility and reach
- Boost brand and domain authority
- Build trust in your brand
Are backlinks important for SEO?
Yes, backlinks remain one of the most important elements of SEO. They help grow your website authority, improve your search engine rankings, and represent a “vote of confidence” from other websites to your own. The more high-quality backlinks to your website, the more Google will see your website as an authority and rank it accordingly.
If you’re still not sure whether you should focus your efforts on high quality SEO link building, let us convince you by outlining four benefits of backlinks for your website.
1. SEO backlinks help Google index your pages even faster
If you’ve been working in SEO for some time now, you will know that it takes Google time to crawl websites, especially newer sites. Sometimes, a newly published page won’t be discovered for weeks, or even months by search engines.
One of the fastest ways to overcome this problem and get your content noticed by Google is to obtain backlinks from high-authority websites. These kinds of sites are frequently crawled by Google and, as such, your website will become more authoritative and be in a position to get crawled and indexed faster also.
2. Boost domain authority and trust
As we have already mentioned, quality link building helps to boost your domain authority metrics and build trust. When your website is linked to by another site, it tells Google that you are providing informative and valuable information that their readers might be interested in. As a result, the authority of your domain will likely start to increase.
3. Increase rankings in search engines
Climbing your way up through the search rankings can be a difficult task, especially if your industry is extremely competitive. However, gaining high quality, relevant backlinks to your site will give you a competitive advantage. Backlinks are like referrals from other websites that let users and Google know you can be trusted.
4. Drive organic traffic
Backlinks are a fantastic way to drive more traffic to your website. As well as increased visitors to your website (which is obviously the goal) this traffic also serves as a measure of authority in the metrics and ranking factors. The right type of traffic visiting your website is a really, really good thing – and backlinks are a great way to achieve this.
Why bad quality links are damaging to your website
Many businesses fast-track their SEO strategies in an attempt to get ahead of the competition, faster. This often involves black hat practices, like buying links, publishing on spammy websites, and exploiting website loopholes.
While these strategies can offer short term success, in the long term they can be extremely harmful to your website, potentially resulting in being penalised by Google and even having your website scrapped from the search results altogether.
So, although organic SEO link building can take time and perseverance, in the long term you will reap the rewards.
What makes a quality link?
So, you know how important it is to gain quality backlinks to your website. But what makes a quality link? As expert link builders, we recommend backlink building that features the following:
Your backlinks must be topically relevant. They should offer a chance for the reader to find out more. One of Google’s ranking factors is based on the topical relevance of a website’s backlinks. Your backlink profile lets search engines know how relevant your website is to what people are searching for. The more relevant your backlink profile, the more you should be rewarded in SERPs for your key terms.
Organic and relevant inclusion
When it comes to building a backlink profile, you can’t just paste links randomly on the page. Links should be integrated within the content naturally. They should never look out of place. The more organic and seamless the link inclusion, the better. Why is the link there? What does it add to the piece?
Reputable and authoritative
Google is constantly looking for social proof highlighting the credibility of web pages. The higher the number of high quality backlinks your website gets, the higher your chances of ranking competitively for your keywords. What’s more, gaining links from reputable and authoritative sources tells Google that your site is credible and can be trusted. This is extremely beneficial for SEO and will help your website grow successfully over time.
4 different types of backlinks
As previously mentioned, not all backlinks are the same or hold the same weight in Google’s eyes. All backlinks are different, as is the value they pass onto your website. Below are some of the most prominent types of backlinks.
1. Dofollow links
These are the most valuable types of backlinks and (if gained from a high-authority website) will boost your website significantly. Dofollow links are more often than not the best types of links you can get for your website.
2. Nofollow links
It is widely reported that these backlinks don’t pass on any ranking benefits to your website. Although Google will see nofollow links, they apparently don’t pass on the value or ’link juice’ that your website needs. They are still useful for a multitude of reasons, including referral traffic and brand building to name a few. A natural profile would also have a portion of nofollow links, so they definitely have their place in your strategy.
3. UGC links
This stands for User Generated Content and is when a link is pasted within content, such as in the form of a comment or forum post.
4. Sponsored links
A sponsored link tells Google the link is explicitly for advertising purposes. Similar to nofollow, these links are not expected to pass on the full benefit of a followed link.
Best practices for SEO link building
So, you understand the benefits and importance of backlink building for SEO, but how do you get started? By taking small steps, being patient, and persevering, you can build quality links to your website. And here’s how:
Write high quality content
You’re not going to win high quality links, organically anyway, without writing some great content. Producing high quality content is one of the best ways to begin your SEO link building campaign. Whether you want to write a great blog post, infographic, or whitepaper, doing so to the highest possible standard will set you up for link building success.
A great way to gain links on reputable websites is by guest posting. Plenty of websites offer guest posting opportunities and it remains one of the best and most popular link building tactics. Guest posting involves writing high quality articles that contain a link to your website. If your work is high quality, topically relevant, and offering value to the reader, you could have the chance to be published on some excellent websites.
According to Neil Patel, infographics generate 37.5% more backlinks than a standard blog post, making them one of the best link building strategies for SEO. And what’s even better is that you can create infographics about pretty much anything. Visual content in this form is a great way to attract attention, encourage engagement with your brand, and share data/statistics in an interesting way.
Analyse your competitors
The more links you earn from authoritative websites, the better. But sometimes it can be hard to find those quality links. That’s where competitor analysis comes in handy. It is extremely useful to check your competitor’s backlinks as it provides inspiration for your own backlink building, and helps you identify different niches you may not have considered.
Round up your links
Link roundups are a great way to gain valuable new backlinks. After all, you can hardly expect other websites to generously hand out links if you’re not doing the same. Link roundups are where you link to other websites from your own, shout about bloggers, and generally promote other peoples’ work. It might sound counterproductive, but it’s not.
Link roundups allow you to share what your fellow bloggers have done and show your appreciation and, more often than not, this results in organic networking and the winning of some valuable links!
Backlinks are a vital element of your SEO strategy and are one of the most crucial factors to ranking well online. It’s important to focus on backlink quality and not become bogged down worrying about link quantity. Google ranks websites based on the value they provide to the customer.
If your website is clean and optimised, with a backlink profile that shows topically relevant, valuable, and high quality links, you should see the benefit in the rankings.
When it comes to SEO link building, the real challenge is finding high quality, trusted, and natural links that add value. We hope the advice above has given you some useful pointers and if you would like help developing a backlink strategy that will provide real value to your website get in touch today or find our more about our services. Our expert campaign managers would be more than happy to help.