What Are Backlinks and How Do They Work?
Backlinks (sometimes referred to as “inbound links,” “incoming links,” or “one-way links”) are links from one website to another’s page. Backlinks are regarded as “votes” for a given website by Google and other major search engines. Organic search engine ranks are higher for pages with a large number of backlinks.
What Is the Importance of Backlinks?
Backlinks are essentially votes for your website from other websites. “This material is valuable, credible, and useful,” each of these votes informs search engines.
The higher your site ranks in Google and other search engines, the more of these “votes” you have.
It’s nothing new to use links in a search engine’s algorithm. Backlinks were, in fact, the backbone of Google’s first algorithm (known as “PageRank”).
Backlinks remain a vital ranking signal, despite the fact that Google’s algorithm has undergone thousands of adjustments since then.
For example, according to a recent industry research, links are still Google’s most important ranking signal.
What Kinds of Backlinks Are Beneficial?
Backlinks aren’t all made equal.
In other words, focus on quality backlinks if you want to rank higher in the SERPs.
To put it another way,
A single high-quality backlink can outperform 1,000 low-quality links.
High-quality backlinks, it turns out, have a few common characteristics.
They Come From Trusted, Authoritative Websites (Tail #1)
Would you rather have a Harvard backlink… or a random guy’s website?
Google, it turns out, feels the same way.
“Domain Authority” is the term for this notion. In other words, the more authority a site has, the more authority it may transmit on to yours (via a link).
TechCrunch is a highly authoritative domain, according to Semrush.
Google gives the link a lot of weight because it originates from an authoritative site. In fact, once TechCrunch linked to me, I noticed an increase in organic search engine traffic.
Is it difficult to obtain these links? Definitely.
Is it really worth it? Absolutely.
Trait #2: They Use Your Target Keyword In The Anchor Text Of The Link
Anchor text is the visible text portion of a link, in case you forgot.
In general, you want anchor text that incorporates your target term in your links.
Indeed, a recent industry study discovered a link between keyword-rich anchor text and improved keyword rankings.
Now for a word of caution:
You don’t want to use too many keywords in your anchor text. In truth, Google’s algorithm includes a “Google Penguin” filter.
Google Penguin penalizes websites that employ black-hat link-building tactics. And it concentrates on sites that employ exact match anchor text to build backlinks.
Trait #3: The Site (and Page) That Is Linking To You Is Topically Related To Yours.
When one website links to another, Google looks to check if the two sites are connected.
When you think about it, this makes sense:
Assume you’ve just finished writing an article about marathon running.
In that instance, Google will value links from sites about marathons, running, and fitness far more than links from sites about fishing, unicycling, and digital marketing.
(In other words, nofollow links aren’t taken into account by search engine algorithms.)
Fortunately, “dofollow” links make up the great majority of web links.
The majority of links with the nofollow tag aren’t particularly valuable to begin with. For example, nofollow links from these sources are common:
Comments on a blog
Advertisements that are paid for
Because these links aren’t really useful for SEO, the fact that they’re nofollow isn’t a major concern.
Trait #5: This is the first time a domain has linked to you.
Assume you receive a link from Website A.
Let’s say Website A connects to you once more. And once more. And once more.
Are the second, third, and fourth links as effective as the first?
Links from the same website, it turns out, have diminishing returns.
Another way to say it is:
Getting 100 links from 100 distinct websites is usually preferable to 1,000 links from the same domain.
In fact, the number of sites linking to you (rather than the total number of backlinks) linked with Google rankings more than any other element, according to our search engine ranking correlation study.
Google utilizes 200 ranking signals, according to a report I read the other day. This piqued my interest, and I wondered, “What are these 200 signals?”
Of course, Google wasn’t going to let the world know about them. As a result, I began accumulating statements from Google as well as patents that I discovered online.
It takes a long time to compile these 200 factors (it took me over 2 weeks). But, in the end, I generated a list of 200 ranking indicators that Google’s algorithm might consider.
To far, nearly 25,800 backlinks from 5,870 domains have been produced by this single piece of content.
Let’s take another example.
My definitive guide to YouTube SEO is one of my most effective pieces to date (in terms of backlinks and organic traffic).
I was having some success with YouTube marketing when I started writing this post. As a result, I decided to gather and share what I’d learnt in the form of an all-encompassing guide.
In my tutorial, I also decided to give a number of examples:
(This is something that the majority of the other content on the subject lacked.)
Despite the fact that this piece hasn’t gotten quite as many backlinks as my Google Ranking Factors post, it has gotten quite a few.
Link Roundups can help you build backlinks.
Consider what would happen if people just wrote blog posts to link to good information.
(The type of high-quality content you already have on your site)
Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
That is, fortunately, a real thing. They’re known as link roundups.
Here’s an illustration:
Connect roundups are blog entries that link to great information on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Here’s an example of a backlink from a roundup that I recently created:
Here’s how to do it step by step.
Locate Link Roundups in Your Industry: Use search strings like “Keyword” + “link roundup” in Google.
Pitch Your Resource: (Gently) request that your linkable asset be included in the roundup.
You’ll get a high-quality link if your post is a good fit for that person’s roundup.
(They might also share it on social media.)
Make use of the Moving Man Technique
The three-step procedure is as follows:
First, you look for obsolete, renamed, or recently altered online pages, resources, or businesses.
Then look for sites that continue to connect to these out-of-date pages.
Finally, you send an email to inform them that they are linked to an out-of-date resource.
Allow me to demonstrate how this works with a real-life scenario…
I recently read that a website for a large SEO business had abruptly shut down.
This meant that several of their website’s pages were no longer functional…
…sites to which a large number of people were still linking.
I observed that an infographic on SEO on their site was no longer functional. Which was ideal, given that I had just released my own SEO-focused infographic.
So that was the first stage in the process.
After that, I needed to see who had linked to that infographic.
So I used Semrush to extract all of their links:
Finally, I sent an email to everyone who had linked to the infographic, informing them that the image had stopped working. I also informed them that my infographic would be an excellent substitute for the BlueGlass one.
Creating a Broken Link
This strategy is identical to the one you just learnt about, the Moving Man Method.
The distinction is that when you’re looking for broken links, you’re only looking for pages with 404 errors.
You should concentrate on resource pages in your niche to find these 404 links. So, if you’re in the fitness industry, you’d use the following search terms on Google:
“resource page” + “fitness”
“resources” + “fitness”
“recommended sites” + “fitness”
“links” + “fitness”
You might now send an email to the site’s owner and request a link. But I’ve discovered that pleading isn’t particularly effective.
Instead, report any broken links you see to the site’s owner.
Any page can easily be searched for broken links. Simply install the Check My Links Chrome Extension.
This application rapidly identifies any broken links on the page. It also draws attention to them by highlighting them in red: