What is a Backlink?
A Backlink simply put is when another website links to your website in some way and search engines use the amount of Backlinks as a metric to determine how popular a website is.
Don’t be fooled; search engines measure the quality of the Backlinks to your website and not simply the quantity, and the more relevant, legitimate and established the website linking to your website is the better. In addition where the Backlink is placed within the content is also evaluated by the search engine and usually links placed within the body of the page content is better than being placed in the footer for example.
Some general rules of thumb when evaluating a quality Backlink
Your link on a website that is well optimised and has a high page rank
Your link on a page with few other links
Your link within the content of the page and not tucked within the page footer
A link from a .gov.uk or .ac.uk style website carry high amounts of page authority due to them being official government or academic institution websites
Backlink Pitfalls and what NOT to do
Implementing excessive traded links or purchased links is something which should NEVER be part of your link building strategy. If Google discovers or suspects that a website has an excess of traded links or that links have been purchased from link farms then expect being blacklisted and your website unable to rank for any keywords no matter what you do.
Slowly and steadily build up your Backlinks and focus on quality not quantity. If a website goes from having no Backlinks to thousands in a short space of time Google could penalise the website accordingly.
Building up your Backlinks
In most cases the website you are leaving a testimonial on when buying a product or service will allow you to leave a link to your website to ensure that that the testimonial is real. Ensure that the testimonial you leave is truthful as they will get used more!
Guest Article Writing
Finding relevant websites and applying to write a guest article is a great way to generate Backlinks. You should if possible provide a link within the article to the relevant part of your website rather than the homepage. Ensure that the article that you write is original and not simply recycled from another guest post you have done as Google may see this as duplicate content and penalise.
Uncovering where your competitors are getting their Backlinks from can be an opportunity for you to try and submit your website to.
Link bait is creating content that other people will find useful prompting them to link to this via their own websites, blogs or social media channels. Quality link bait can be highly effective and if you can produce the bait your readers will naturally syndicate and do a lot of the link building for you.
Good examples of link bait articles are top 10 lists, breaking news and creating useful widgets or small web based applications that can genuinely help readers.
Partnerships / Joint Ventures
Asking your business partners or joint ventures for a link back to your website is always worth the question. You can offer to write a guest blog or article if they seem reluctant as this can be beneficial for both parties as they get free content and you get a Backlink!
Building up quality Backlinks is something that takes time and effort but if implemented properly and ethically will certainly help in increasing search rankings. Avoid the temptation of short term fixes such as link farms and purchased Backlinks as you are risking your website never being found on the search engine results page for any of your chosen keywords.
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