What is a Backlink?
A backlink is a link that goes from one website to a page on another website. A backlink is also referred to as an inbound link, an incoming link. If you have more than one backlink pointing to a site, which nearly all sites do, these are called backlinks, or inbound links, incoming links, etc.
Why are Backlinks Important?
This is one of the most common link building questions we get asked. Backlinks are important to Google and other search engines when it comes to building an authoritative site because they are considered as referrals, or votes. It is one website recommending another site or a specific page on a website.
So let’s use your site as an example, if you have a number of backlinks to your site (meaning a link/links are being pointed to your site) it is telling the search engines that your content is being recommended as a reliable source for a particular topic or piece of information.
The more backlinks your website has, or the more link building you do, the better. If your site has a number of referrals pointing towards it then search engines are more likely to consider ranking it higher on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). So if you want to improve the visibility of your website and attract more visitors, consider improving your site(s) backlink profile.
Types of Referral Links
There are two different types of backlinks, we have “Nofollow” backlinks and “Dofollow” backlinks. What do these types of backlinks mean for your website and what effect do they have?
A Nofollow tag will tell the search engines to overlook the link. They will not pass any value (or link juice as you may hear it referred to as) from one site to another. These types of links typically aren’t going to improve the visibility or authority of your site, however they will still be included in your backlink profile (Ahrefs is a very popular platform to check backlink opportunities and your current ones). Websites do like to include some Nofollow backlinks on occasion as it makes it look more natural to the search engines.
Dofollow backlinks on the other hand are what you primarily want. Dofollow backlinks are the type of links that are going to have an effect on your rankings and overall site metrics. But be careful, not all Dofollow’s are considered good, it all depends on where they come from.
Some Dofollow links can be considered bad if they come from sites filled with spam or sites that do not comply with the terms and conditions of the search engine. If your website has a number of toxic backlinks pointing towards it, it may be penalized or potentially de-indexed. This is why you need to take quality in consideration and not just quantity.
Types of Backlinks
Not all backlinks are valued the same. Some are more powerful than others. There can be a significant difference in the quality of different backlinks and that is why you should focus on quality backlinks for the best results.
It is common sense when you think about it. Ask yourself, would your site benefit more if it was recommended by one of the most powerful news websites on the internet or from a website with no domain authority, one page on the site, no visitors or other metrics?
Signs of a Powerful Backlink
There are different ways in which you can spot a powerful backlink and decide which backlinks are going to be best for your website when handed a list of sites to choose from. Here are 5 of our best tips for choosing powerful link opportunities.
Tip 1: Websites With High Authority
All websites come with their own domain rating, or domain authority, whichever phrase you prefer to use. This is what we mentioned earlier about what kind of site you would rather have a link from. You want referral backlinks from the most powerful and popular websites.
“The higher the domain rating, the more authority it can pass to your website.”
Remember, high authority links are not always easy to get. They are certainly not impossible though. Sometimes it can be a case of “who you know” and also ensuring you are looking in the right place. That is why you can use SEO Agencies to help you with this.
Tip 2: Anchor Text is Important
The anchor text that is used to refer people to your site is also important. If you do not know what anchor text is, it is simply just the highlighted text that is clickable, sending you from one web page to another. If you were looking at the coding behind a web page, the anchor text would look a little something like this (using bettormedia.co.uk as the website example):
<a href=”https://bettormedia.co.uk”>click here</a>
When choosing anchor text, look mainly to focus on including your keyword that you want to target. So if you are acquiring links to go to your homepage, you may want to consider choosing mainly exact match anchor text, which would mean having the anchor text as the same keyword used in your domain name.
Whilst this is an important tip and strategy to take into consideration, don’t go to town on this and think that every backlink you build needs to be an exact match, because it doesn’t. In fact, you can actually be penalised by Google if this is the case as they have an algorithm known as Google Penguin, which specifically looks to find sites building a considerable amount of backlinks only using exact match phrases for anchor text. If you are building lots of backlinks, which is important to gain authority and traffic, look to use other types of anchor text as well.
Tip 3: Try to Source Backlinks From Relevant Sites
Site relevancy is an important concept to understand. When Google is looking at the backlinks of your site, they want to see relevancy from one site to yours.
So if your website is about gaming, in order to build strong backlinks, one of the main niches of sites that you are going to want links from are other gaming websites.
Whilst this is important, there are other niches that you can look to obtain backlinks from. So let’s go back to the gaming site example, you may also want to look for referrals from technology domains, news domains, etc. It can depend on what page on your website you are looking to promote.
Tip 4: Look For New Backlink Opportunities
The internet is your oyster. Don’t just think that you can get backlinks from one website constantly and that is it, because that isn’t how it works. Over a period of time you may notice that you do end up getting a number of referrals from the same site and that is fine but try to make your backlink profile broader and also have links from other domains to create a neat profile for your site.
As we mentioned before, this is where the help of an agency can really come in handy. Finding a range of quality linkable opportunities from different domains can be difficult and time consuming, if you have the time to put the effort in then great, but don’t feel defeated if not.
There is a strong correlation between the amount of referring domains you have and your search engine rankings. There is also a strong correlation between the power of links when they all come from the same domain.
Tip 5: Understand the Difference Between a Natural Backlink and a Sponsored Backlink
Backlinks on websites can come in two different forms, you can have natural backlinks, or sponsored backlinks. Just because you may pay for a link, does not mean that it is marked as sponsored necessarily. You can buy natural links, which look organic to search engines and are therefore good backlinks that are going to have a good effect on your website.
Some sites will mark posts as sponsored, which means that the backlinks within the post will not be as effective as a natural link. If your site is being referred to by another site, make sure you are aware if the link is marked as sponsored or not.
Building forum backlinks could prove to be a great strategy for you and your website(s). The reason why is because a lot of online forums still allow “Dofollow” backlinks, which is what effectively passes the link juice from the forum to your site.
So how do you go about finding these types of link opportunities and how can you get a quality backlink from a forum site?
Traditional forums are one of the primary types of forums that you can get backlinks from and they can increase the authority of your site. Traditional forums are ones that contain threads and have both public aspects and private aspects. If you are able to acquire a backlink from a very authoritative and popular forum, then you have a good chance of driving some traffic to your site. So yes, forum links could certainly be something you look into.
Guest posts are one of the most recommendable ways in which you can obtain backlinks and increase your profile. They look the most natural and are also great for driving traffic, given that you are getting links on quality sites. Guest posts are also referred to as a method of one way link building.
It is important to consider how you are getting a link from these websites. Here are some pointers that you should bare in mind when looking to get guest post/ blog post links:
- Find a similar site niche
If you have a site about casinos, then find link opportunities on other sites within the gambling niche.
- Review the site metrics
Make sure you are taking into account the quality of the site. Don’t just post on a website that matches your niche, make sure it isn’t a website filled with spam and also look at the following statistics: Domain Rating, Total Keywords, Total Traffic, Referring Domains, and more depending on how specific you want to get with your outreach campaign.
- Create an interesting post
Don’t make the article irrelevant to the site or something that the viewers aren’t going to read, make it interesting. That way you are increasing your chances of driving traffic to your site.
Directory backlinks are in fact one of the quickest ways to build the beginning of a good backlink profile. They are also so easy to get so why would you not want them?
If you are unsure as to what this type of link is, a directory itself is a site that lets you submit a URL in order to get a link back to your site. For example, you have surely come across sites like Yelp or Yellow Pages, well these are directories.
UGC Links, or User Generated Content backlinks are a type of link that Google announced in September 2019. Their new update which created this concept allows Google to understand whether a website is portraying a particular link as their own referral or whether they are user generated. Examples of UGC’s would be a comment on a webpage or a post on a forum.
Google will take from this that this is not a form of advertisement by a site. So, does this mean you now have to change all of your backlinks? No, you don’t. You do not have to modify all ones that you may have on your site. If you want to, you can add more information for Google to understand and clarify what type of link is a sponsored link, natural referral or a UGC link.
How to Check Your Backlinks
There are a number of ways in which you can find the backlink profile for your site and see every web page that your site has a link from. You can use a number of paid software like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, etc.
We strongly recommend keeping on top of your link profile. Within the Google guidelines, it is stated that you should monitor your link profile to ensure that you are not being referred to uy bad/ toxic websites. If not, then you may find your site being penalised by Google, even though your site isn’t the toxic one!
Ensure that you are considering your back links in your SEO strategy if you want to build an authoritative website.
You can also give a link from your site to other websites. The process is the same. Make sure you are careful as to what you are recommending on your site. You do not want your site to be seen as spam by accepting links that are possibly toxic as this is negative SEO. You can benefit from giving backlinks because in some cases, the site you are advertising may be of use to your customers, if that is a site of interest then that is when referring to them is a good idea.
Broken link building is a recommendable SEO practice that you could consider to use. This involves looking for pages on a site that have 404 errors. There are different strings that you can use in Google to find broken links if you are unsure where to look.
If you want to find broken links then you can use a chrome extension that will allow you to do this, it is a broken backlink checker. So, what do you do when you find a broken link? Well what you should do is let the site owner know that there are broken referrals on their site and if you have a website that is relevant to the content that the broken link is mentioned on, then suggest that your site could actually be useful to replace that link and there could be a chance that they will accept your proposal and there you have it, there is a new backlink on a page that is indexed and going to improve your site stats.
What is the Moving Man Method?
Some of you may be aware of a link building process known as the moving man method, it is actually quite similar to the process doing a broken backlink check.
The idea of this is to find web pages and companies that have either stopped doing business, rebranded themselves as a company or might have just changed their name. Once you have them, you can see their backlink profile and see which sites are still trying to send traffic to these sites and recommend them to their viewers. Once you have a list of these sites then email the site owners and let them know that the link is outdated and that you think your site would be an excellent replacement for that current link.
Make Your Website Worth Linking To!
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. The idea of having a link is that your site is being recommended by others as a good source for particular pieces of information, so make that evident! We call these linkable assets, linkable assets can be a page, a post, an image, a video, a downloadable file, a questionnaire, anything of that sort. These are all things that sites are going to want to link to, in order to back up the information on their site and allow their audience to be able to find out even more information than what is just on that page. Having excellent content to refer back to will also increase the chance of your site being mentioned on social media accounts, which is another spanner to throw in the works when it comes to ranking factors.
Link building is still a very popular SEO tactic that becomes more and more important as the competitiveness of the industry you are operating in increases. For more link building information and SEO services, check out the rest of the Bettor Media platform and contact us for help.