“What are backlinks?”
It’s a question we often ask in SEO forums, in our offices, and pretty much everywhere else.
But we’ve noticed there aren’t a lot of complete and informative answers out there. For example, even good definitions don’t explain why backlinks are essential or offer much advice about getting them.
You can’t create a killer SEO strategy if you don’t understand these terms!
That’s why we’ve created this rapid-fire “What are backlinks?” guide.
You’ll learn all the basics of backlinking in a single post!
First Thing’s First: What Are Backlinks, Exactly?
We know one more SEO industry term you have to learn. Still, we’re also tired of reading content that assumes you know the ins and outs of content marketing terminology.
So, let’s finally get you an answer to the age-old question, “What are backlinks?”
Though it may sound like backlinking means linking back to your old content, that’s not what backlinking means.
Instead, backlinks are links from other websites that link “back” to your website!
But hold on: we’re not done answering this “what are backlinks” question just yet.
Backlinks can’t just be from any old random site – they need to be directly related to the “content at hand.” They also need to be from the big players in your industry.
Backlinking isn’t the time to try to “game the system” of Google (and let’s be honest, when has that worked out?)
For example, if someone is writing a post about the history of coffee beans, it’s not exactly going to look “seamless and organic” if they link to BMW’s website just because it’s a popular site.
Instead, they’ll need to link to another website about coffee – a distributor, a site dedicated to promoting Fair Trade in coffee, or a blog post about preparing the best espresso.
Google can tell when someone is just randomly linking to your content to boost their backlink game. Doing that won’t just waste your time “connecting” you with people that probably aren’t interested in what you’re offering.
It may also hurt you in the rankings.
However, the more quality links you have, the higher you’ll fly in search results. Plus, you’ll get additional visitors. Some website creators have reported that thanks to backlinks, they’re getting over 500,000 visitors every month!
OK, So Why Do I Need Them?
Now that we’ve handled the whole “what are backlinks” thing let’s talk a little more about why they’re important.
Let’s imagine that every backlink is a vote for your website – because that’s exactly what Google does. But some votes count more than others because they’re from more popular sites (high school never ends, not even in SEO.)
A vote of a backlink is like a public confirmation to search engines that you’re reliable, relevant, and that your content is worth reading. Plus, it will also help Google and other search engines to make an educated guess about the topic/subject of your content.
So, if our above Coffee website linked to your site, Google would likely assume your site is also about coffee in some way. Backlinks can also…
- Bump of your ranking organically
- Get you indexed by Google quickly
- Give you quality, targeted referral traffic
Quickly, let’s look at some other backlinking terminology you may see:
- Link Juice: This is what you get when another site links to a post/page on your website. This “juice” is what bumps that post/page up in the rankings, and it also improves the ranking of your site as a whole (also called your “domain authority.)
- No-Follow Link: If for whatever reason, you don’t want to give “link juice” to another site (or if the person linking to you doesn’t want to give link juice), you include a no-follow tag with your link. This is usually used if you’re linking to a site without a great authority, like a blog comment.
- Anchor Text: This is the text that your site has been backlinked to. They can help you with keyword rankings, and it’s interesting to see the words that people think summarize your post.
Where Can I Get Quality Backlinks?
Since you just learned in our “What are Backlinks” guide that not all links are created equal, how can you ensure you’re not getting low-quality links?
The first way to get superior links is to start commenting on and engaging with other prominent websites and blogs in your industry.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with approaching a site you like and asking to trade a backlink for a backlink! That way, everyone wins, and you’ve created a partnership that may allow for more links in the future.
It would help if you also considered submitting to web directories so people can find your site faster.
Finally, creating engaging content is the best way to get excellent, effective backlinks. This is where it may be a wise move to hire professional content marketing services and bloggers.
How Can I Create Content That Will Get My Site Backlinked, Too?
Since we stated above that creating great content is the key to getting quality backlinks, here are some types and forms of content we consistently see succeed:
- Listicles are easy to digest, packed with information, and filled with images.
- Informative e-guides: People are willing to read longer content if it’s going to get their questions fully answered.
- Infographics: This is a beautiful way to share statistics and still have them come across as enjoyable.
- Content featuring influencers: Since this is already a popularity contest, why not use influencers to show you know the right people?
I’m Ready To Get Started!
Thanks to these tips, you’re finally able not just to answer the question, “What are backlinks,” but you know how to make them work for you.
Check out our blog to learn more about the link-building services we offer and study other SEO terminology.