Organic search is one of the only ways to get traffic for free – however, it probably takes the most work of any of the traffic building methods. For that reason alone, if you’re going to do it, make sure you’re doing it right.
You’ve probably heard by now that “backlinks” will help you appear higher in search results – so today, I’m going to explain what backlinking is.
There are hundreds of other factors that can affect your appearance in the search results, but backlinks are widely regarded as one of the most important.
What Is Backlinking And How To Do It
To help you out, I’ve written this pretty extensive guide. In it, I’m going to cover every aspect of backlinking and why it’s important for search engine optimization (SEO).
Backlinks can be internal or external. Internal links are those that link from one page of your website to another page within your website. External links are those that link from a page on your site, to a page on someone else’s site (or the other way around).
Backlinks can also be incoming or outgoing. Incoming means they are coming from a different domain to your domain, and outgoing means they are going from your domain to another domain.
Pretty simple right?
Formatting your links
You’ll notice that most anchor links have some “text” that displays instead of the actual URL – this is called “Anchor Text”.
Include some text that tells people what they’ll see when they click the link. For example Blog Traffic Builder.
The anchor text is not just for people however, it is also key for search engines.
The different types of backlink
There are two other key distinctions that you should take into consideration when creating your links, and those are the “dofollow” and “nofollow” attributes.
This post explains the difference in full – but essentially, dofollow means that search engines read it as a link, and nofollow means that they won’t. That’s really as much as you need to know for now!
Now that we’ve (briefly) covered the different types of links that can be used – now let’s get into how that affects you.
Why do backlinks matter for SEO?
Okay, here’s the REALLY important part.
One of the ways that search engines, such as Google, figure out how useful your page will be to searchers, is to see what links other people have pointed to your content.
BUT – pay attention here – do not spam links or keywords as anchor text. Try to make sure your links are varied (when possible) and aren’t always the same.
You’re not normally going to be in control of your links. But you can check what links point to your site and if you find someone linking inappropriately, you can contact them requesting changes (more on this point later).
If Google thinks you’re being spammy, or that it’s just you and your buddies trying to trick the system, they’ll slap you with a penalty quicker than you can say “SEO”.
Why are the sites your links come from important?
In the Google popularity contest, as I mentioned before, not all links are created equal.
You want your links to come from sites that are already doing well in the popularity contest.
When popular sites send a link your way, they’re vouching for you in a way that brings you a boost in the searches, but won’t effect their rankings one bit.
What does have an effect on their rankings though, is exactly what effects yours – links from other authoritative sites.
It’s a continuous chain of power, whereby each site that passes on some of their “link juice” doesn’t lose any of their own through passing it on.
When people refer to “link juice” that’s exactly what they’re referring to – the power passed on from one site to another through backlinks.
So how do you know if your links are coming from the right place?
How to check your incoming backlinks
The best way to check your backlinks is through an SEO analysis tool.
There are lots out there, but I recommend Majestic.
Majestic can tell you all of the links that point to your site (or any site for that matter) – but it also tells you exactly where they are from and to, and if they’re dofollow or nofollow (amongst other things).
Majestic also grades domains with a “trust flow” and a “citation flow” – this site explains these in full. They are essentially a “quick stat” for your reference to indicate how authoritative a domain is.
So how do you actually use all of this information to backlink effectively?
This seems like a lot of information to take in – especially for a beginner – so I’m going to break it down in simple terms for you here;
Good things to do
Link to other sites – you won’t lose any link juice, and your link receiver will see the benefit.
Format links properly to include appropriate anchor text.
Make a conscious effort to gain new links from relevant domains – more links are good, as long as they’re relevant, authoritative and not repetitive.
Make sure the links that you get are dofollow so that search engines take them into account.
Use keywords where appropriate and encourage linkers to use relevant keywords.
Bad things to do
Do not spam backlinks. Don’t make your own backlinks – Google may not be full blown Artificial Intelligence just yet, but it’s not stupid either.
Do not use naked links on your site. Make sure every link has anchor text so that you’re telling Google what your link is all about.
Why you should link more
As you’ve probably realized by now, linking to other sites doesn’t hurt your site.
Most bloggers check their incoming links fairly regularly, and if they see that you’ve linked to them, they’ll likely check your post out and maybe they’ll even repay the favour.
Linking to other relevant sites also shows Google that you’re comparable to the pages that you’re linking to.
If you’ve got this far, you probably know what backlinks are and exactly how to put them to use.
Hopefully this is enough to answer the question of “what is backlinking, and how to do it effectively”.
And, if you liked this post, if you found it useful; why not spread the link juice love by linking to this post?
Coming up next, I’ll have a post that tells you exactly how to find the best keywords to rank for! If you’re not already on my mailing list, please subscribe below so that you can get the next article first.