Search Engine Optimisation – commonly known as SEO – is the ultimate method in which websites can reach the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) so that they can reach the best possible amount of traffic and, ultimately conversions.
However, because it is such an effective method of gaining traffic and revenue through your site, it obviously doesn’t come easy and does indeed require some digital marketing expertise and knowledge for you to see some proper success. Similarly, it takes time, energy and vital resources because, unless you’re willing to pay a third party agency to do your SEO services for you, it can take a long time until you see results from your SEO practices.
Another thing you should note about SEO is that it is a multi-faceted process that has many faces, namely ‘on-screen’, ‘off-screen’ and ‘technical’. This is why SEO is such a ranged profession – and is the basis of several many independent companies – because it reaches so many different facets of your digital marketing endeavors,
One such aspect of SEO, one that stands above many in terms of net success is backlinks. As well as content marketing, backlinks are essential in telling Google’s SEO algorithm that yours is a website that everyone should flock to as a font of knowledge or important wares.
So, without further ado, let’s see what the deal is with backlinks so you can harness their power in getting traffic back to your website in this, Framework Marketing’s Ultimate Guide to Backlinks.
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What are backlinks, and why are they important?
In its simplest terms, backlinks are when websites include a hyperlink from your website on theirs. You’ll typically see this when websites link back to you when they find your website as a useful source on something that they are discussing.
For example, in our case – though this hasn’t happened yet – we would have a treasure trove of reliable backlinks from people in our digital marketing realm that link back to our website that show us as a knowledgeable and effective source of information on digital marketing.
You may be wondering, why are backlinks so important when it has so much to do with other people’s websites? Surely you want people to be going to your website and not others’? Well, there is an obvious answer to this and it comes down the fact that all backlinks are indeed an avenue of people heading to your website. People that wouldn’t usually go to your site are being exposed to it thanks to these backlinks – not despite them!
Similarly, one of the main reasons as to why backlinks are so effective for website traffic is because they provide a vote of confidence from other sites telling Google and other search engines that yours is a site that its users should be interested in checking out based on their search. In return, the search engine will improve your website’s ranking and visibility in the search results.
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On the other side of the coin, however, is the fact that – like many aspects of SEO – the validity and credibility of the backlinks are dependent on that of the source from which it came. This deals with the idea of ‘Black hat’ and ‘White hat’ SEO practices, the former of which covers SEO practices that are illegitimate at best and shady at worst.
Other aspects of black hat SEO comes in the form of keyword stuffing wherein illegitimate practitioners of SEO looking to inappropriately rank higher against search engine rankings will fill their sites with tons of the same keywords in no particular rhyme or reason so as to try tell Google that they have a website that is worthy of checking out.
However, Google have updated their algorithm over the years of being the leading search engine provider by dosing out punitive measures against those who practice in these shady black hat SEO practices.
The worst thing that Google could do to any websites that’s trying to rank high in its search engine results page is to send it plummeting down to the bottom of the pile, and that’s exactly what it does when it identifies these sneaky people trying to cheat the system, ensuring that their sites are never found and clicked on through the use of their ‘Google Penguin’ technology.
Are all links the same?
All backlinks are equal, but some are more equal than others.
I believe it was George Orwell that wrote that in his 1980s novel, Backlink Farm.
In reality, however, backlinks are not equal simply by way of their existence. If your company is looking into harvesting backlinks for SEO purposes, you want to ensure that you focus more on the high quality ones that come from reputable sources.
The reason for this comes back to the fact that backlinks act as a vote of confidence to users from other websites by saying, “Hey this site is one that you should maybe check out! We have and we love it!”.
Whilst this is true, it goes back to the above (misplaced) quote about some links being worth than others. Whilst you could indeed have several many backlinks from a number of smaller, less-well known sites, it’s much preferable in the eyes of the Google algorithm to have one or two HIGHLY reputable and effective backlinks from sites that many people visit.
And this makes sense in a way doesn’t it? It reflects the social value of critics and well-established outlets that provide suggestions for our favourite restaurants and shops with some level of authority behind them.
Authority is the key word here – namely ‘domain authority’ – wouldn’t you prefer a backlink from a major university or news outlet as opposed to Joe Blogg’s Blog?
Additionally, if your content caters to a certain sector or industry, then a backlink from a similar website in that realm will be weighed much more favourably by the Google algorithm as it knows that the website sourcing your website knows what they’re on about.
Stick around for the second part of Framework’s Ultimate Guide to Backlinks which you can find here!
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