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Home » Educational, How To, SEO Tutorials » What is Backlinking and Why Is it Important for SEO?
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Educational, How To, SEO Tutorials

Most of us would like to create a website that comes up high on Google searches. After all, having a site that ranks well is a powerful way to bring in a steady stream of new customers. Next, while there is no magic formula to boost your site’s ranking, a combination of high-quality content and strong links to your site can go a long way.

So how do you get links to your website? And why does it matter so much? Here’s what you need to know about getting backlinks!

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links that connect an external website to your site. These links are crucial because they tell search engines that your website matters. Google considers links as votes, so getting new links is like generating votes in a never-ending popularity contest on the Internet. Note, however, that if you want those links to boost your SEO (and not harm you!) they MUST be from sites related to what you do. More votes for your site means more credibility and, in all likelihood, a higher ranking in relevant searches.

Google, Bing and others give far greater weight to links coming from websites that are reliable and popular. A link from Wikipedia or The New York Times, for example, will do far more for your site’s credibility than a link from your best friend’s blog.

When a website links to you, they are saying that your content is interesting and relevant to their readers. Furthermore, search engines use links to help understand what your website is about. Google assumes that when one site links to another, there is some relationship between the content on the two pages. As a website owner, that means you should try to get links from known websites in your industry.

A note about anchor text

The linked text on a website is known as anchor text. If possible, you want any anchor text that links to your site to include your target keywords. This way, Google understands that there is a relationship between those words and your website. It’s better to have anchor text placed on a phrase like “best Thai restaurant” or “how to build a website” than on words like “read here” or “check out this blog.”

Where can you get quality links?

To start the process of getting backlinks, make a list of potential websites that may link to you. Scour the Internet for websites in your field that show up high on Google. (Sites that rank well in Google are likely to be high quality.) Keep in mind, however, that if you’re an interior designer, it won’t help your ranking to get a link from a website about dentistry. You have to stick within your industry. Focus your energy on identifying quality sites that will have a significant impact on your rank.

If you can get a link from a university or government website, that’s a big plus. Search engines tend to trust and respect sites that end in .gov, .edu or .org (used for nonprofits). You also want to keep your links fresh. Google stays on top of things so it’s important to add new links every few months to let search engines know your site still matters.

How to get links

Once you have a list of potential websites you want links from, it’s time to start targeting webmasters. Those are the people who maintain these sites. There are three different kinds of links you can aim for and we explain each one below, in order of their importance and power to help your site.

Type 1: Natural Links

Natural links have the strongest impact on boosting your site. As the name suggests, these links happen naturally with little effort on your part. A natural link is when a website chooses to link to your website, unsolicited. It usually happens because you have fabulous content that others deem worthy of sharing with their users.

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To improve your chances of getting natural links, you want to consistently create high quality content and make it easy for others to share. Try to think about what professional, interesting and reliable information you can write for your target market. Then, publish it on your site and social media channels and make sure your website has easy-to-spot share buttons that your readers can’t miss. The trick is to make it simple for others to re-post the content they enjoy. If your content really is useful, chances are that other sites will want to add a link so their users can read it too.

Type 2: Outreach Links

Outreach links come from sites that you approach directly and ask for links. These links may be from popular blogs or other highly ranked websites in your field. There are three primary ways to get outreach links and all of them require that you speak directly with the manager of the target website over phone or email.

Promote your existing content

Read through the content on your website and think about who specifically would want to read it. Then, look for other websites and blogs who are targeting this same audience. Reach out to these websites and send their webmasters links to some of your most professional, high quality and relevant content. Tell them why you think their readers would find your content valuable and ask if they would be willing to link to your content.

Guest posts

Email the webmaster of the target website and offer to write a guest blog on their site. Make it clear that you are familiar with their site! Keep the email brief, but be sure to explain your area of expertise, share a sample of your writing and pitch a few topics that will be relevant to their readers. If the idea is interesting enough, the webmaster will probably be happy to have you write a guest blog. Then, be sure they agree to include a link in the post back to your own website.

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Reviews and giveaways

Another option is to invite bloggers to review your product or services. Offer a free class at your yoga studio, a pint of your hand-churned ice cream or a cut and blow dry at your salon. In exchange, they should agree to write an online review of your business that includes a link to your site. Another great way to entice a blogger to write about you is to offer their readers a coupon to use for your products or services.

Type 3: Self-Created Links

You can also quickly and easily create links to your website without any help from other Webmasters. These self-created links have the least amount of influence on your ranking, but they can still help boost your site. Here are three ways to create self-created links:

Be a good samaritan! Get involved with online forums and blogs

You can create your own links in endless forums, blog comments and online directories. (Just make sure to look for ones that are relevant to your industry.) While some of these links can be “spammy,” if you provide comments that are truly insightful and link to content on your site that really is relevant and valuable, they can help promote your website and bring you new visitors. You might try commenting on posts in LinkedIn groups and share a link to a related page on your website. Make comments in an article on Reddit and include a link if it will actually help the readers of the post. Stick within your area of expertise and these links can bring you traffic and boost your credibility.

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Get your name into directories

You can also self-create links by adding your website to online directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google Places and more. These kind of links are particularly helpful if you’re a local business. Wix even has an app called Site Booster to automatically add your site to many directories across the web.

Create internal links within your site

Internal links connect the different pages on your site. They help customers and Google navigate your site, keep users on your site longer and therefore can potentially help boost your rankings. You can link from your blog to a relevant product page in your online store or from your About page to your FAQ page. Try to use internal links in ways that encourage visitors to stay on your website, read additional information and ultimately complete a purchase or contact you.

Bonus tip! Find out who’s linking to your website!

Once your hard work is complete, you’ll probably want to know if your efforts paid off. A nifty tool called Majestic can show you who’s linking to you and where. You can also check “Links to Your Site” in Google Search Console. This way, you’ll be able to track the results of your strategy and improve accordingly.

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