If you are interested in growing your business with evergreen, high-quality traffic, then you need to know how to master the basics of SEO.
But don’t stress - the basics of SEO are quite simple. There are three crucial foundations that you need to understand.
#1 - Keyword Research
#2 - On-Page SEO
#3 - Building Backlinks
This article will show you everything you need to know about foundation #3 - building backlinks.
Simply put, a backlink is when a website links to a DIFFERENT website.
Backlinks are very common - we experience them everyday on the web, and most internet users look at a backlink as a sign of quality information.
In essence, a backlink is a modern-day citation. By linking to a different website, you are citing them, which means you trust them.
And that’s exactly why backlinks are so powerful for SEO…
Have you ever wondered how Google decides what to put on the first page results for a keyword?
Typically speaking, Google is looking to put the best piece of information in front of the user. They want the user to get the highest quality answer to their question as humanly possible.
And as we discussed, backlinks are a way to gauge quality.
It’s best to think of backlinks like they are a voting system. The more backlinks that a webpage has, the more votes that it has, therefore the more that Google trusts the webpage.
And more trust = higher rankings.
There are generally three ways to get backlinks.
This is the most common way that backlinks are built - the natural way!
But while this way is the most common, it is the way that you have the least control. In essence you are just waiting for people to link to your business or webpage, which can take time and is costing you authority.
How to accrue backlinks - Waiting for backlinks to naturally build themselves can be painstakingly slow, but generally speaking the better quality content that you produce, the more likely that piece of content will be linked to. No one wants to link to an average piece of content - do they? Therefore, everytime you create a piece of content, try and make it special.
The second most common way that backlinks are built is via outreach. This means that you will reach out to owners of other websites, and ask them to backlink to your website.
Usually this outreach is done by email. Sometimes owners of websites will be willing to give you a free backlink just for asking, but most likely they will require some sort of payment.
Currently backlinks cost anywhere from $99 USD to $2,000 USD depending on where the backlink is coming from. The more authoritative the website is, the more powerful the backlink, will be - therefore the more costlier the backlink will cost.
How to reach out for backlinks - The most common strategy is through email, but Facebook is becoming increasingly popular as well. But if you are serious about growing your backlink profile, the best way is to hire an agency who already has a network of link-partners in place.
Anything not covered previously will go into the category of ‘black hat’, and ‘black hat’ is always the wrong decision.
While Black Hat SEO techniques might seem appealing, they are rarely effective, and most of the time they are a complete waste of money.
And if the techniques ARE effective, it will only be so for a short period of time. This is because Black Hat techniques will almost always come back to haunt you later (in the form of a Google penalty.)
How to avoid Black Hat Techniques - Before hiring an agency, be sure to ask how they will be building backlinks for you. Any answer other than ‘outreach’ is a bad sign.
Not all backlinks are created equal.
In fact, far from it.
Some backlinks are so powerful that they will help skyrocket your website onto the front page of Google.
But other backlinks are so dangerous that they risk dropping you off the face of Google all-together.
Here are the 4 most important things to look for from your backlinks…
Remember that backlinks are comparable to votes, but when it comes to SEO some votes are more valuable than others.
Google strongly prefers backlinks from websites that have authority. Websites like Wikipedia, Business Insider, WebMD, CNN, BBC, Forbes, dominate the front page of Google for a reason - they have generated a ton of backlinks, and therefore Google trusts them.
This means that getting a backlink from a high-authority site can positively impact your SEO immediately.
In contrast, if you get a backlink from a small, spammy website, not only will it not help your rankings, but it might actually hurt your rankings.
What you should do - Before agreeing to a backlink, always check the website’s authority. An easy way to check the authority of a website is with Moz’s free domain analysis tool. The higher the number, the better the authority of the website.
Technically speaking, there are two kinds of backlinks - no-follow and do-follow.
No-follow backlinks are backlinks that will NOT spread ‘link juice’ from one website to another. Therefore, no-follow backlinks have a neutral effect on SEO.
In contrast, do-follow backlinks are good for SEO because they help spread ‘link juice’ from the linkers domain to your domain.
What you should do - When you are getting you backlink, double check that the backlink will actually be do-follow. Then, once the backlink is live, use a free tool (like this Chrome Extension) to double check.
Google is extra-cautious for spammy backlinks, therefore it takes the relevancy of your backlink into consideration.
This means that if you are in the travel industry - try to get links from other websites in the travel industry.
If you are in the medical industry, try and get backlinks from websites in the medical industry.
A few backlinks from outside your niche won’t hurt you, but the more backlinks that you have from within your niche, the more you are seen as an authority on your topic.
What you should do - Reach out to other members in your niche. You can start to build backlinks as well as develop important relationships.
While it’s not necessary for link building, there is evidence to suggest that backlinks from pages with actual traffic are better for SEO than backlinks from pages that have little to no traffic.
What you should do - When asking the webmaster for backlinks, let them know you prefer to get links from pages that actually have traffic.
Growing traffic on your website is a marathon, not a sprint, but building quality backlinks is one of the best ways to expedite the process.
If you are serious about building links to your website, contact us today to speak with a Digital Strategist.
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