The Importance of Backlinks for Effective SEO
February 22nd 2021 | By Steve Grant
One of the most important off-page SEO tactics is link building. The more links you have coming into your website, the more likely you are to rank above your competitors in the search results. But there is a condition… those links have to be good ones. Here we address the question of what are backlinks in SEO, how to achieve them, and how they can make a difference to your rankings.
What are backlinks in SEO?
Links coming into your website from other sites count as ‘votes of confidence’ which Google uses to assess the popularity and authority of your website. Whilst the volume of links is important, so is the quality of those links. Artificially generated links created for the sole purpose of ‘tricking’ the search engines will do you no favours at all, whereas good links are worth their weight in gold.
Backlinks, or inbound links, have long been used as a ranking signal by Google. They did in fact form the foundation of its original search algorithm known as ‘PageRank’. Despite countless algorithm changes, backlinks have remained an important constant and continue to be one of Google’s three most important ranking factors.
What are considered ‘good’ backlinks for SEO?
A single, good quality backlink carries more kudos than a thousand low quality backlinks. But what constitutes a good quality backlink? Here are the key traits:
- Good backlinks come from authority websites – the more authority a site has, the more it can pass onto yours.
- Quality backlinks are relevant to your site – Google values relevant backlinks as people are more likely to click on them.
- Good backlinks come from high traffic web pages – the more traffic a page gets, the more it will send to your website.
- Well-placed backlinks count for more – prominently placed links pass on more authority than those that are hidden in footers or lower level pages.
- ‘Nofollowed’ backlinks rarely influence the rankings of a web page. Followed links have a lot more value.
- Relevant anchor text, the clickable words that form a backlink, carries more weight than text that doesn’t do such a good job of describing the link.
How to achieve ‘good’ backlinks for SEO?
There are three key ways to achieve more backlinks to improve your search rankings. You can…
Earned backlinks come naturally when people find your content and make the decision to share it or link to it. These organic backlinks are SEO gold, and you can improve your chances of achieving hem by creating exceptional content that people want to read and share.
You can build backlinks by reaching out to other website owners and editors and requesting a link to your content. You’ll need to have a clear value proposition for this strategy to work. Typical link building tactics include guest blogging, unlinked mentions (where you find unlinked mentions of your brand and ask for a link to be added), and broken link building (where you find relevant broken links on other websites, then ask for them to be replaced with your working link.
You can create inbound links yourself by adding your website to business directories, leaving comments on relevant blogs and replying to forum threads.
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