Years ago, it was easy – build as many backlinks as you can, and your website will fly up the Google search results pages (SERPs). No matter how you went about it – even links from almost empty or inactive websites counted! It all started to change in 2011 when Google algorithm updates (especially Penguin in 2012) started to combat bad backlinking practices. The aim of the update was to provide search users with high-quality websites and information that they really want/need. Web pages with low quality, stolen or duplicated content, unnatural links or trying to rank for a particular keyword rather than deliver useful, valuable content started to disappear from SERPs.
So the goal posts have moved for SEOs somewhat, and while back-links still matter, the key to understanding how to move forward is to gain some theory first!
What are backlinks?
A backlink is simply a hyperlink which links one webpage to another. The internet is full of them, and this connects websites to other websites and provides users with a way to navigate the Internet. For search engine optimisation, links from external websites to your own, show that your website has been recommended and recognised by others. This is an important understanding of how the Google search engine works and uses links to evaluate web pages.
There are mainly two types of backlinks:
- internal links,
- external backlinks.
Internal links are links within one domain. Consider your menu navigation bar or footer links. Internal links provide a means for users to easily access and navigate to the all the useful information on your website.
External backlinks are links from a 3rd party website (external to your own website), which points to your website. The best external links come of course from popular pages with high-quality content and generate ‘referral traffic’ to your site. However, those links can be also created on your own social media and external blogs or other pages that represent your business online.
Sorry, there is more theory to learn
It is crucial to know which backlinks will be liked by Google search engine. Creating backlinks is acceptable but they have to be high-quality links. Ideally, they should be created by other web users who like your content, but you can encourage them to share your content and do some job by yourself. Few concepts to succeed:
- it is quite obvious but please always provide high-quality content (original, depth digging, free from errors) to encourage others to naturally backlink you,
- try to build links relevant to your business and content – build links in niche directories and informative websites connected with your content,
- create easy web navigation to organise your content,
- stay active on social media, participate in discussions – simply help others to find you and your website,
- build relationships with relevant bloggers and other website owners – find them by using Similar Site Research and start by sharing their content and don’t forget to let them know about that,
- research your competitors, check their backlinks and think how to have them as well; use Common Backlinks Tool (CBLT) to do that.
Start with building internal links
Internal links are all your job. The aim of having them is to create a user-friendly web navigation by organising your content. The most important in building internal links is a good structure, which should look like a pyramid.
The main page should be easily accessible, no more than three clicks should lead to it. Second important thing is that there should be no page without direct, crawlable links which allow Google algorithms to see them (remember to link your old content with a new one!). On the other hand, each page cannot be spammed with too many internal links – three of them should be a maximum. What is more, the links should be relevant, linking similar/complementary content. For example, if you are writing about summer seasonal fruits you can link this article to recipes for desserts and salads. To link it well use informative anchors, for example:
Make a yummy summer salad today!
Check out 5 quick receipts for cakes with summer fruits
Fancy a small dessert? The best cupcakes with strawberries
External links? Start it easy
You can create some high valued external backlinks almost all by yourself. Below a few possibilities:
- Catalogues, trustworthy directories – there are a lot of business catalogues and trustworthy directories where you can add your website all by yourself but be careful and select only those which have a value for Internet users and are relevant for your content,
- Social media – use them all to link to interesting articles on your website, new products or press releases (but please not only for that!),
- Comments under articles – be careful! Don’t add a link to your website to every comment and rather don’t add your homepage, better a link to relevant content which is a backup to your valuable comment and is connected to the post you’re commenting on.
Make a step further to nail external link building
The strategies below are a bit more advanced, but it is only because they demand not only your action but also cooperation with other web pages owners:
- Links to your images – when somebody uses your pictures or mention your article don’t be afraid to ask for adding a link to your website.
- Guest blogging – when you find a popular blog you can ask if they want you to contribute,
- Link exchange – when you like somebody’s article you can share it on your website and tell about it to the author. If your content is valuable and can be interesting for the webpage audience, the owner may say “thank you” by sharing your link as well. You can also inform the blog owner about the interesting tool you created or newsletter that may be valuable for his audience.
- Broken link building – when you find a broken link you can check out the dead content, then tell the website owner to instead link to your article about the same subject. You can find out more about this strategy here: https://ahrefs.com/blog/broken-link-building/.
Just one thing more: don’t backlink too fast and some other don’ts
Creating high-quality backlinks is not a one-night job, at least no more with Google algorithms. To be successful quality has to be in first place rather than quantity and speed. Don’t go crazy with backlinking (and banned by Google search engine) by:
- Adding links to your website literally everywhere where possible,
- Buying or selling links,
- Creating keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links on your webpage,
- Writing ‘articles’ with optimized anchor text, for example:
There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.
To sum up…
Nobody said backlinking is easy… A lot of rules to follow and many wait months to finally see your website up in the Google rank but it is worth it! Let’s start to work on it today together!
P.S. Learn more about SEO:
- Check if you know everything about SEO fundamentals: https://dailydigital.media/blog/the-ultimate-seo-checklist-guide/
- What we do when you ask us for SEO: https://dailydigital.media/blog/what-do-we-do-anyway/
- Our SEO offer: https://dailydigital.media/seo-services-ireland.html