How often do you take recommendations? If you know somebody has used a product and given a positive review of it, you are much more likely to trust and use that product. Essentially, this is the idea behind backlinking; it’s a vote of confidence in your site from an unbiased source. Backlinking is a great way for your site to improve its reputation online, and can help your website establish its authority on a given topic.
What is backlinking?
In simple terms, backlinking is when a site links to your website – this can be via a blog or a review. For example, say you own an ecommerce business selling lawnmowers: if another website writes a list of the best lawnmowers and lists one of your products, then they will add a link directing the site user onto your page: for you, this is a backlink.
Why is it good for SEO?
SEO – search engine optimisation – is where you optimise your site so that Google sees your website is relevant and useful to users, and thus ranks you highly on its search engine pages. A good way to improve your SEO is by getting backlinks to your site: if a high ranking website has given you that vote of confidence and linked your website on its page, then Google’s algorithms will see that your page is of high value to the user, which means it boosts you up its search engine results.
What are the different types of backlinking?
There are two different types of backlinks; Nofollow and Dofollow. As a user, these tags are indistinguishable; if you see them on a website you can click and follow them regardless of their tag. However, there is a big difference for SEO.
The best backlink is a Dofollow link. This means the search engines can see that an authoritative source has externally linked to your site, which will boost you up the rankings.
However, if an external website puts a link to your website with a Nofollow tag, it tells search engines to ignore that link. That means this backlink will have no effect on SEO. It’s not the end of the world though; if a site with millions of views mentions your website – even with a Nofollow link – it will still enable users to click the link and visit your site; bringing more traffic, and more brand recognition.
Are all backlinks good for SEO?
Unfortunately, Google’s algorithms are now so updated that having too many backlinks from disreputable or low-value sources can actually harm your SEO ranking. It is better to have fewer backlinks from high ranking sources, than hundreds of backlinks from websites with no reputation at all.
Nowadays, you also can’t spam comments sections on high value content with links to your own site – nobody likes spam, especially Google. Not only might it harm your site’s reputation, but Google could also pick up on your spam habits, and penalise you by lowering where you rank on its search engine.
What if a low-value source has backlinked your site?
If a low-value source has backlinked your site then you will want to remove this link – remember, disreputable websites can negatively affect your SEO ranking. Google Webmaster Guidelines require you to ask website owners of toxic websites to remove their links to your site: fail to do this, and Google can penalise your site, reversing all the hard work you’ve done to build a website that is fully optimised for SEO.
Luckily, there are free tools available online to track what sites are linking to your website: Google Search Console, Ahrefs and SEMrush all allow you to check every backlink so that you can remove any links from discredited websites.
To do this, simply contact the website owner and ask them to remove the link. If this doesn’t work then you can also disavow the link with Google tool.
How to get backlinks to your site
One of the best ways to get backlinks to your site is by reaching out to popular bloggers or influencers in your industry, offering to write for them or maybe simply telling them about certain content on your website that they may want to link to.
Or, perhaps you can try to get an interview with influencers or bloggers who have knowledge in the same field as you – this can be via video or podcast, or you can even create a blog post, including keywords in your blog as another way to improve SEO ranking. By getting your guest to link your interview on their site, you have gained a reputable backlink to your site.
An even simpler way to get backlinks to your site is by searching a post that is already ranking well, and then improve and expand on it. By creating a blog post with high-value content, then you are not only showing Google that your content should be ranked highly, but you are also encouraging other websites to add links to your site, without you even having to contact them! Structuring your blog post as a list tends to be the most popular, or including ‘how-to’ or ‘why’ phrases can improve your chances of getting more backlinks from reputable sources.
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