Backlinks 101(Why You Need Them)

Up to this point in the SEO process, many people assume SEO is heavily centered around altering and redesigning your website. Although this is a big part of the SEO process, sometimes you’re going to need to turn to other websites to grow your own.

One prime example of this idea being backlinks, one of the keystones in SEO and also a great way to achieve fast and effective growth. Every site can benefit from a healthy amount of backlinks, regardless of the site’s subject or purpose. This article will cover everything you need to know about backlinks, why they’re needed, how they work, and how to take full advantage of them to make your site pop out amidst the competition.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are the SEO term for links on websites that redirect to other sites. They may not seem noteworthy at first as the concept of linking to different websites is second nature, but these links can and will make or break your page as it grows and tries to attract traffic. 

However, not all backlinks are created equal, meaning you’ll need to distinguish the different types and their significance.

Types of backlinks

Backlinks, in general, can be split up into two categories, links from other websites that go to your page are known as inbound links. Links that you have on your website which redirect to different websites are known as outgoing/external links.

The real benefits to your website will come from more inbound links. But the rule of quality over quantity still holds true even here. Google and other search engines take into account how relevant the sites you’re getting your inbound links from are to your website in general. Search engines also value the reputability of the sites your inbound links are coming from.

 Why even bother with backlinks?

All this jargon mentioned is useless if backlinks serve no functional purpose or benefit to your website. Now that you’re acquainted with the right terminology, you can figure out how to use backlinks to your advantage. There are two main ways in which backlinks can play out in your favor.

Backlinks bring in extra referral traffic

Of course, when your website’s URL is on multiple other websites, more people are going to click on your site. This variety of traffic is known as referral traffic. Essentially it is when people come to your site via a link found on some other website. Taking notice of the sites from which people are finding links to your site(also known as referrers), can help you understand what sites the majority of this new referral traffic is coming from. With this, you can also better understand your demographics, what sites they browse, and what other topics or websites may interest them. 

Backlinks help search engine gauge your site’s reputation and order in search queries

Aside from the referral traffic, backlinks play an important role in helping the algorithms of many popular search engines such as Google discern the reputability of your site. Each outgoing link to your site works as a sign of good faith to Google’s algorithm, indicating to it that people are willing to trust your information/product and have no qualms using your site.

The reputation of your site in the eyes of search algorithms means the difference between showing up first or close to it for queries related to your site.

Even so, the rule of quality over quantity holds true, even here. Outgoing links from sites with already high reputations and are relevant or similar to your site fare much better. This carries over both in terms of referral traffic, but also in how the algorithm assigns reputation to outgoing links. Put shortly backlinks help search engine algorithms notice your site, as well as assist in increasing it’s rank in the search order, meaning it’s more likely to get more traffic from people finding it quicker.

How to get more backlinks

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve come around to backlinks and understand their relevance when tackling SEO for your site. The most logical step from here would be to understand the different methods of accumulating backlinks and which ones provide the most bang for your buck.

Things to NOT do with Backlinks

Google does have rules in place to prevent common link schemes and artificially getting backlinks to your site. Please keep these rules in mind when working with the SEO of your site. 

Things TO do with Backlinks

Despite the rules mentioned, there’s still plenty of ways to get reputable backlinks from relevant sites. No one way is perfect, so a combination of the following is probably your best bet. For starters, social media is a HUGE boost, creating a page for your business/brand on something like Instagram or Twitter and linking your site means you’ll already be out the gate with a link out there on the internet. 

Social media pages also serve as great mediums for communication when contacting sites and businesses in the same niche as yours, which could lead to more outgoing links down the line. The simplest and yet still very effective method would be to just become well known for your website’s high-quality content. If your site becomes known for well made and put together content or products, people will start to spread the word via links on their sites or social media pages. 

It also helps to keep up to date on and be quick to cover changes or new happenings in your niche.  Say you run a website centered around computers and tech, and Lenovo releases a new model of laptop. If your site covers that laptop extensively enough and formats it’s review nicely to suit the eyes of the average consumer, then they’ll remember you and spread your site if they or a friend needed anything computer related.

Backlinks as a whole

SEO may be a bit of a learning curve to those that are new, but when learning something new, the first and only thing you should worry about is the foundations. In SEO, backlinks are an integral part of that foundation, with both freshly starting sites and pre-established ones being able to benefit greatly from them.

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