Sprinkling a couple of relevant links throughout your website copy might seem like a quick and easy task. But, as anyone who’s ever tackled SEO (search engine optimisation) will tell you, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
In reality, link building and crafting a strong backlink strategy takes time, energy and knowledge.
You might be wondering why these links are so important. To put it simply, backlinks are excellent for three things:
- Improving your website’s rankings on Google.
- Helping search engines discover your content faster.
- Increasing referral traffic to your site.
Combining all three is an excellent way to boost your overall SEO and website growth strategy.
In short, you’ll likely struggle to grow significantly without gaining any backlinks.
Think about the last time you searched something on Google
Chances are, you clicked on one of the results on the first page, had a scroll, and clicked a few links on the article you were reading.
Maybe you were looking for recipes and clicked through to a review of a new kitchen gadget. Or perhaps you were learning a new skill and clicked a link explaining other methods of fine-tuning your craft.
Either way, you likely selected an article on the first page of Google because you trusted that the information was accurate and up-to-date.
Suppose you’ve trawled through the pages of Google before. In that case, you’ll probably already realise that the quality of information lessens as you work your way back through the archives.
It might just seem like luck pushed those articles to the top of Google’s front page but, in actual fact, there’s a vast amount of SEO magic going on behind the scenes.
Let’s Break It Down From The Start – SEO Backlinks Explained
Those articles you see on the front page?
Chances are, each of the websites listed have a strong Domain Authority (DA), a large variety of backlinks and exceptionally well-optimised content. If this sounds complex, that’s because it is.
But by the end of this article, you’ll understand each piece of the SEO puzzle and how a combination of every element can exponentially boost your web traffic.
What are backlinks?
To put it simply, a backlink is any link that connects website A to website B.
For example, if you’re booking a hotel and click on a link that takes you to another website’s review of the hotel – that’s a backlink. Otherwise known as “inbound links” or “incoming links”, backlinks can be the difference between appearing on the front page of Google or being stuck in the search engine graveyard.
The number of backlinks a website has directly correlates to how well it ranks. More backlinks equal higher rankings.
Why are backlinks so important?
Google sees backlinks like votes of confidence.
In their eyes, if other websites are linking to your website, then the content must be of high quality; otherwise, why would they link to it?
The more people that link to your website, the more Google will trust the information you’re providing. Backlinks are also important for Google’s crawlers; the bots that scan the internet to find new content to index.
But not all backlinks are created equal.
Link building is an essential component of off-page SEO. But relevance, domain authority and search engine accessibility can all play a role in how meaningful Google deems your backlinks.
The value of the link can also be determined by the anchor text you use, the associated meta tags and whether it’s a do-follow or no-follow link.
Confused? Keep reading to find out what all of these terms mean and the difference they can make to your links.
How Backlinks Affect Domain Authority (DA)
Think of Domain Authority as a score that indicates your website’s potential ranking power.
Gaining backlinks increases DA; the more websites that link to yours, the higher your DA will be.
Websites with plenty of high-quality backlinks – Wikipedia for example – sit at the top of the DA scale while local businesses and smaller organisations are towards the lower end.
DA scores range from 1 to 100. They take time and energy to build up, but a strong DA can be the magic ingredient you need to hit the front pages of Google.
Is it true that the higher your domain authority, the easier/faster you will rank for keywords? from r/SEO
DA is calculated by taking into account various different factors and one of, if not the most crucial factor for determining DA, is your site’s backlink profile.
Strong backlinks, like references from other websites in your niche or other websites with a high DA (40+), will boost your SEO and position on Google’s search results pages.
Weak backlinks, like those coming from irrelevant websites or those with a low DA (0-10) won’t have a significant influence on your DA score. So while it’s essential to build a healthy profile of backlinks, it’s even more important to make sure they’re relevant and will help rather than hinder your progress.
In fact, links from low-quality spam websites will harm your SEO. If Google sees a large number of spammy links pointing towards your site, it will know you’re trying to cheat the system and hand you a manual action penalty. You have to be very careful when attempting to build a backlink profile.
And, if that wasn’t enough to take into consideration, you also want to ensure that your backlinks come from different websites. Having multiple links from one website won’t hinder you, but Google will rank your page a lot higher if your backlinks come from various sources.
No-Follow vs Do-Follow Links
By default, all links are do-follow links. So, if you want to get technical, a “do-follow” link isn’t a real term and should just be considered a “link”.
But, for the sake of clarity, we’ll reffer to it as a do-follow link.
The difference between a no-follow link and a do-follow link is straightforward. It boils down to whether or not the link passes any authority on.
A do-follow link can help boost your SEO.
A no-follow link, which contains a rel=” nofollow” tag, doesn’t add to your authority. It won’t improve your ranking or make a difference to your SEO.
You can use no-follow links for webpages you don’t want to endorse, like when quoting shady websites or websites you don’t fully trust yourself.
No-follow links might not offer any SEO advantages, but they may act as a guide for Google’s indexing and referencing crawlers.
How To Improve Your SEO
There are really two main things that will get your website to the top of Google. They are:
- High-quality, well-researched and fully optimised content.
- Having a diverse and healthy backlink profile.
When we talk about building a good backlink profile, we mean gaining a diversity of links in a natural way.
A healthy backlink profile should contain a mixture of do-follow and no-follow links, as well as a variety of links from low, medium and high DA websites.
Not sure where to start?
SEO software like Moz’s Link Explorer can check your website’s backlink profile, giving you an overview of your current position. Then, the next step is figuring out how best to boost your link profile and SEO.
How To Earn Backlinks
Guest posting is an excellent way of expanding your backlink profile – but it takes time and energy.
You first have to make contact with other website owners and ask them if they accept guest posts. Then you’ll have to write a unique, exciting and engaging article. In exchange for giving them a free piece of content, you’ll either get to place a link in the post back to your website or you’ll get an author bio box containing a link.
You can also create infographics and distribute these among websites in the same industry. If you manage to create something truly amazing, you might just find people are willing to publish it on their website in exchange for a backlink.
Spy On Your Competitors
Keep an eye on your competitors’ backlinking methods, or become an authority in your niche and contribute your knowledge through interviews and high-profile journalists.
The Broken-Link Method
It’s also possible to earn backlinks through methods like the broken-link building method.
This method involves finding relevant websites in your niche that link to other websites that no longer exist. The goal is to notify the webmaster of the broken links and handily offer up your own relevant link as a replacement. Of course, the webmaster may just thank you for informing them and replace the broken links with something else. It’s always a risk.
Hire The Professionals
Another option, that’s by far the easiest, is to pay for a service to earn backlinks for you.
Our in-house outreach team here at CGCM are link building experts and can take the stress of building backlinks off your hands.
We have a network of bloggers and website owners who we work with regularly and who we know accept guest posts. We’ll provide them with a piece of content (bloggers are always hungry for new content, especially when it’s free), in exchange for a link back to our clients’ websites.
A link building service is an easy way to ensure a relevant and robust link profile that fits all of Google’s ever-changing requirements. While it’s possible to earn backlinks yourself, leaving it to an expert is a guaranteed boosting your SEO without accidentally hindering your chances of a spot on the front page.
Of Course, Backlinking Is Only One Part Of The Puzzle
As much as a strong selection of backlinks can make a huge difference to your overall SEO, it’s important to simultaneously work on other areas.
Things like thorough keyword research and high-quality optimised copywriting are essential if you want to maximise your website’s SEO potential.
Now that you know the answer to the question, “why are backlinks so important?”, it’s time to improve your SEO.
Get in touch today to find out how we can boost your website’s rankings, improve your backlink profile and start getting you more organic traffic today!