What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are a link on another website that directs back to your site. In the early days of search engines, Google’s ranking algorithm relied almost solely on a website’s backlink portfolio. Dubbed PageRank, after founder Larry Page, this algorithm was easily manipulated with black hat SEO techniques, such as link farms. Link farms are essentially websites created specifically for backlinks. The site will host a large number of links, often with no content, and these types of links will typically result in a penalty—so be sure to avoid such in acquiring links for your website.
As search engine’s algorithms have become more complex, backlinks have become less important, although they still contribute to the strength and authority of your website. Domain and page authorities, for example, are direct indicators of how authoritative search engine’s believe your site to be. The more authoritative your site is, the higher it will be ranked for the targeted keywords you chose during keyword research.
Better yet, backlinks also provide another avenue for web visitors to find your website. If a visitor is reading an informative blog and sees a link pointing back to your site and finds the topic to be fitting for their research, they could click the link and be directed to your site. This is known as referral traffic and it can have a positive impact on your website’s online reputations.
How to Get Backlinks
Seeing as backlinks play such an important role in your website’s performance in search results, building a strong backlink portfolio is key. But getting backlinks can be a time consuming and tedious process. Luckily, there are countless ways to get backlinks, each of which can be beneficial for your website’s backlink portfolio.
Online and Local Directory Submission
Listing your website in local or online directories will give you a strong backlink, although, it may be a nofollow backlink. Regardless, directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Four Square make it easier for potential customers to find your website, read reviews, and determine if you are the right provider for them.
Additionally, Google’s My Business pages allow you to list your business and website on Google Maps, making it easy for customers to find you. Be sure to use the correct name, address, and phone number consistently across all online directory listings to avoid potential confusion.
Another way to garner backlinks for your website is to visit authoritative websites, read their blogs, and comment on them expressing your appreciation for their quality content or asking a thoughtful question. Of course, in commenting on the post, you’d leave a link to your website. These are likely going to be nofollow backlinks, however, they can still help you build a relationship with other authoritative websites and businesses in your industry. Regardless, ensure you’re only commenting on appropriate and relevant posts for your industry. Otherwise, linking in your comment may come off as spam and the site will simply remove your comment.
One of the best strategies to gain high-quality follow backlinks is to guest blog for other websites in your industry. This is far more time-consuming than the other options we have mentioned, but this is the best way to build high-quality backlinks. To perform guest blogging, you will need to research quality sites in your industry and find out which ones accept guest blogs.
You will then need to ensure you are writing content that fits their guidelines and submit it to them for approval. Be sure to include a link back to your website somewhere in the copy, as this is the entire purpose of guest blogging. While you’ll find that many sites won’t be interested in a guest blog, plenty of others will oblige considering the free content they’ll receive for a backlink.