Improve your SEO with Backlinks
As if there wasn’t enough to add to SEO best practices, we want to touch on backlinks.
Okay, no- we really want to dive into backlinks, because they are just that important.
As Kelowna’s leading premier WordPress marketing agency, we work around the clock to boost our clients search engine ranking. Our toolbox is full – website development, content creation, keyword research, social stacking- but backlink building is always directly on our radar.
We’re not going to lie to you; even as SEO professionals, backlink building is hard. Backlinks are a huge part of SEO best practices, but take time and knowledge to build.
What are backlinks?
Referred to as “online citations”, backlinks are simply links to your website, or web resource, from an external website, or web source. Web sources can mean articles, directories, online archives etc. They act as a vouch of confidence for your website and content, both to users and search engines.
Backlinks are typically the hyperlinks you see in articles (you know, the clickable text underlined in blue) but can also be image tags, social stacking or listings.
Rad- we’ve got the textbook definitions out the way.
Now let’s talk about how backlinks are super essential for your website- and why.
Do Backlinks Improve SEO?
Yes. 100% they do.
Good quality, reputable backlinks boost your SERP pretty aggressively and actively contribute to your overall online marketing.
That’s why prior to Google’s Penguin algorithm update, SEO professionals around the globe were doing anything they could to gain backlinks.
Take a wild guess how Google felt about that. Let’s back up a little.
The obsession with backlinks began in response to Larry Page’s algorithm contribution- PageRank. This particular algorithm basically determined the order of search results- so who would show up or not. PageRank was the first algorithm ever used by Google to index sites and use this index to determine websites rankings.
Guess what PageRank focused super, super heavily on?
Backlinks. Once the cat was out of the bag, the frenzy of every SEO professional around to get as many backlinks as possible to boost their SERP ranking began.
It was seriously like wildfire. Experts starting bypassing the natural requirements of the algorithm- clean, quality backlinks, and creating backlink farms (as we cover later.)
So, how do backlinks help your SEO?
They are a prime example of speaking both to the user and search engines.
Backlinks and Linkjuice
Backlinks indicate trust, relevancy and authority to search engine crawlers. By another reputable site linking to yours, they are vouching for your site and letting Google know that “hey, they’re great.” It accelerates your exposure to Google bots and get your site indexed faster. Good quality backlinks produce “linkjuice” which is credible equity from one site to another. The more juice you have given to you, the stronger your site will perform in search results.
Kind of like, Redbull giving you wings. Popeye and spinach. You get the idea.
Boost Referral Traffic with Backlinks
Backlinks provide you with referral traffic. And who doesn’t want extra traffic to their website? Better yet, the traffic coming from these high quality backlinks is going to be pretty targeted and relevant to you. Free traffic is pretty rad. Search engines think so too- the more quality traffic you drive to your site, the more they notice you and the more likely they are to index you with a little love.
Rank Higher for Keywords with Hyperlinks
Hyperlinks, our little blue text links (or anchor links) even help with your specific keyword ranking. Google crawlers go as far as to see how much “support’ you have for any given keyword on your website’s pages. If they find your keyword relevant to the rest of you, it will boost your exposure on that single key term as well.
Backlinks aren’t all for the search engine though. Remember- there’s a user on the other end of the computer.
Backlinks Help You Get Seen
Backlinks give you great brand recognition and exposure. They act as somewhat of a review- a link to your site from a credible site will not only promote your brand but also – again- vouch to the user that your website is A-Okay. Repeated mention of your website throughout credible sources just adds to brand recognition; people see your brand and begin to recognize it within their online experiences.
Don’t Resort to Backlink Farming
Backlink farming is the very reason Google’s Penguin update ever came into effect.
Like we mentioned earlier, SEO experts were desperate to get hundreds of backlinks for their site once the ball dropped on PageRank- Google’s first algorithm for ranking that focused lots on backlinks.
Of course, deceptions of this algorithm were pretty easy to brew up (likely why Google stays so hush-hush about their algorithms nowadays.) By creating networks of spam websites and directories with the sole purpose of all linking to each other, paying your way into hundreds of unearned backlinks became a widely used tactic in every level of SEO out there.
That’s where the ability for site crawlers to determine the quality of the links, not just the number of them, was born.
And it’s fair. Reputable backlinks are built on trust, relationship building and genuine online presence.
Backlink farming is still a grey area. While giant networks and rings are easy to define as backlink farms, there are operating businesses out there that offer backlinks in return for pay. Crowned “black hat SEO”, buying backlinks poses as “backlink strategy growth” and still remains…..questionable.
Buying backlinks might grab you some short term SERP rankings. You might even get away with it for a while and see a huge change in your website analytics and rankings. But once Google figures you out, you can kiss goodbye to your growth – buying backlinks is a direct violation of Google’s advertising code.
Listen, don’t shoot the messenger, ok? Buying backlinks is so much easier than organically building them and can seem like a great option for those wanting to really boost their site.
We get it, honestly we do. But it’s really not worth it.
Organically growing backlinks takes time and effort, but it will pay off.
How to Build Backlinks- Naturally
Now, we can’t let our own cat out of the bag and give away all the secrets.
But, here’s some practices you can undertake to start building an army of reputable backlinks:
Add links on all your social media profiles – (hey, social stacking!)
Monitor your best performing posts and pages, and expand them routinely.
Create content that is useful and exciting to a reader- content that helps them solve a problem and share it among their networks for the same reason
Off page, build relationships with influencers, industry leaders and bloggers to trade valuable backlinks. Believe it or not, you can also strategically work with your competitors to do the same thing!
Monitor your competitors backlinks, and look to see if you can also be placed within those sources as well.