We figured that now is a good time to get back to the basics and remind y’all why it is that backlinking is so highly valued as a search engine optimization and marketing tool. We’ll also cover the most effective means of backlinking and the techniques that can get you into trouble.

What Exactly Are Backlinks, Anyway?

Quite simply, a backlink is a link from one website to a specific page on another website. We call them backlinks because they’re linking from some other website back to yours. They’re particularly important because search engines – starting with Google way back when – consider them to be basically a vote of confidence from one website to another. Because of that, search engines give websites with good backlinking profiles a higher ranking in their listings.

Why Do You Need Backlinks?

On the web, backlinks are like street cred. If your website has a bunch of backlinks to a bunch of different pages, and they’re coming from quality sources, search engines take note and reward you accordingly. This is actually how search engines got their start; they needed a way to figure out how to rank the results they would display, and one of their key factors was how many other websites had linked to each site in the given search results. Today, backlinks are still a key factor when you search Google or your favorite search engine.

Varieties of Backlinks

Of course, the search engines found out real quick that they couldn’t just rank a site by the total amount of backlinks it received. That’s because, knowing that sites were ranked this way, savvy if obnoxious webmasters and search engine optimizers started throwing backlinks by the thousand at their sites in hopes that would pump up their ranking. So, there are now different types of backlinks that separate the quality from the junk: dofllow and nofllow. Nofollow links are links from things like blog comments, paid advertisements, press releases and forums. Google quickly figured out that these are generally junk and gave them this tag accordingly. So now, search engines won’t follow these links.

Dofollow links, on the other hand, are where it’s at as far as quality backlinks that will matter to search engines. These are the majority of links on the web, and loading your backlinking profile with quality dofollow links can reap huge dividends.

What Makes a Quality Backlink?

First and foremost, for backlinks to do you any good, they should include the keyword you’re targeting in their anchor text – the text that your visitor sees on the screen. That only makes sense, right? However, you don’t want to inundate a site with links that all contain the same keyword. Google and other search engines are hip to that practice, now, and if they detect it, they can lower your ranking, or worse. So, make sure your target keyword is sprinkled throughout your backlinks, but don’t go overboard.

Another critical trait of quality backlinks is that they come from websites that are authorities in their niche. In fact, there’s a term that measures this; it’s called “domain authority.” This works as you might expect. Popular sites that get lots of traffic generally have a high domain authority. For instance, if your website focuses on technology, and you get a link from TechCrunch, which is a very popular technology blog, that’s going to do wonders for your search engine ranking.

That brings up another aspect of a quality backlink: the site that the link is coming from needs to be topically related to your site. This is another requirement that was added after everyone went crazy with backlinks. Now, a search engine can tell whether the site linking to you is in the same general arena as your site. If it is, that link will carry much more weight in the rankings.

One more thing: It’s always best to sprinkle your backlinks among as many different websites as possible. Search engines are much more impressed if you have a thousand links from a thousand different sites rather than a thousand links from the same site. That’s yet another method they use to try to separate backlinks that are actually helpful from those created solely for the purpose of wooing search engines.

Done for You

Did you get all that? That covers the basics of backlinks and what separates the good from the bad. You can use this info to make your next backlinking campaign a success. Of course, if you’re not keen on putting in all the legwork involved in creating, executing and managing a results-oriented backlinking campaign, you can always Call On Us To Pump Up  Your Backlinking Profile The Right Way!

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