Backlinks are often referred to as inbound or one way links. There are usually two websites; one is on the receiver end and the other is giver. However, one website can have many backlinks from same website or multiple websites. Google or search engines in general weigh the ratio of number of backlinks, their relevancy and quality. Backlinks send signals to search engines about these factors. This helps them decide which website should rank higher in search results.
Have you heard about the term before “I want to rank #1 on Google“?
Yes, that is exactly what we are going to discuss in this article.
Table of contents
Importance of Backlinks
Google’s algorithm has changed hundreds of times if not thousands in the past decade. One thing that has not changed is, the importance of backlinks.
Let’s take a look at an example below..
In this instance; we are going to perform a small test to get an better understanding of how ranking system works.
I searched for keyword “backlinks” as below
At the time of this test backlinko was on the #1 place in Google search results followed by:
This test clearly demonstrates that the quantity of links is equally important as much as domain authority.
I decided to go one step further and did a further analysis of our first search results through Moz link explorer tool.
In the image above we can see that backlinko url has 2.9K backlinks compare to others on the position#2 Moz with 1.9K links, Position#3 Ahrefs with 241 links and lastly Position#4 Wpbeginner with 600+ backlinks.
Now the question is what puts backlinko on the 1st position of Google. The answer lies behind the quality (credibility of linking domains) and quantity of those links as well as backlinko’s domain authority.
Below are a few things to consider:
- Domain authority determines website’s online credibility
- Number of backlinks from authority websites matters
- Relevant and quality content is vital
- Dofollow or Nofollow backlinks ratio helps with ranking goals
- Traffic of the linking domain creates link juice for your website
The discovered and lost links graph indicates that how many links are being generated or lost by the webmaster or by third-party websites. It is important to keep track of new links so that you can determine how strong is your presence online. Similarly, lost links indicates that your search engine ranking may have declined and requires improvement.
Dofollow links add trust and credibility to improve search engine ranking. On the other hand, nofollow links are pointless as they do not form part of search engine ranking algorithm. Promotional or paid links are one of many that are worthless with regards to SEO. Moz analysis can help you achieve this goal easily to see how many nofollow and dofollow links you have acquired.
It easier to gain backlinks on low authority websites, hence most of the URL’s will have L-Shape graph. It means the high authority backlinks are very few compare to low authority websites. In the above screenshot you can see that majority of the backlinks for this url are from websites (400+) that have domain authority between 1-10.
Now that you have understood the importance of backlinks, let’s take a look at the right way to generate backlinks.
Build links the right way – White Hat SEO
As the title suggest generating the links right way is known as “White Hat SEO” in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). You would agree doing something the right way requires patience and time. Therefore, the results have long lasting effect. The practices and techniques used in this method are loved by search engines and form part of natural link building process under Google’s webmaster guidelines.
SEO, in particular off page optimization plays key role to make things possible. Off page SEO works with everything and anything that has no direct connection with your website or blog. The main focus here is link building.
What is link juice?
Link juice is a term used amongst SEO’s to describe when you have a backlink from high authority website i.e. Forbes. These type of websites usually have abundance of visitors daily. Therefore, having your content published or your name being mentioned on such credible website creates referrals through backlink.
When visitors click on your link on the credible website, they want to see similar or relevant content. The more visitors browse your content on authority website the more referral you achieve, The higher the number is better as it will boost your website’s and authority. Simply because referral is coming from highly reputable source and the search engines regard your website being worth ranking higher.
Top 5 link building techniques
Guest Post (Hire a professional)
Guest post has been around for donkey years. If you know anything about SEO, you will have a good idea what I’m referring to here.
Additionally, you could hire a professional to do the heavy lifting for you. However, bear in mind a professional writer can cost you anywhere between $50-$500 depending on the quality, niche and number of words you require for your content.
In case, you have plenty of time to spare, here are 10 easy to follow steps to produce quality content.
Natural Links Based on Quality Content
Acquiring links should never be your primary goal, instead you should focus on providing quality content. Once you know how, the backlinks will follow naturally. According to Google if you try to manipulate the ranking system it can cause more harm than good i.e. decrease in ranking significantly. You can acquire links naturally by following one or all the listed practices below.
Solve a problem
Have you heard of website name quora, if not you should check it out. It has tons of questions that people are waiting to be answered. All you need to do is find a question relevant to your niche, help the person with decent answer and you may just get lucky. The more you engage with community the more chances people start to notice you. This will eventually lead to a great reputation over time and the opportunity to connect with people on different levels.
Hang on.. you might ask! how does this get’s you backlinks naturally?
When you engage with community as a problem solver, there are plenty of people who like to refer others to you for the same reason. A referral can be seen as two goals achieved in one.
- You get to have free traffic to your website, since you will be mentioning your name and website all over the community
- People want to link to your website and get to know you better for solving their problems.
Helping a reporter with their stories and articles can get you well noticed and acquire high authority backlinks. These backlinks are generally from magazines, news and similar sites that have high credibility already. Not only you get authority backlinks but also tons of referral traffic through citations, author bio or social media mentions.
Broken links suggestions
Broken links are harmful for website as they return 404 error page and nobody wants to come across errors. Hence, find websites with in your niche and search for any broken links that they may have.
I know what you are thinking, a website can have 100’s of page and it will take weeks to find broken links.
Let me share with you a good news!
There are plenty of free tools and plugins available on the WordPress to make your life much easier.
WordPress plugins to check broken links:
Online free tools to check dead links:
Once you have a list of dead links, reach out to webmaster of that site and request to have the link replaced with yours. Most of the times you will notice they will help you out, since you are helping them too.
However, guest posting outreach is by far the most popular and effective method. Sometimes you may come across webmasters asking you to pay them for publishing your content. It’s quite normal for them to charge you to cover their expenses i.e. hosting space, advertisements, promotions etc.
A few things to consider….
Before going ahead and making a payment to someone you don’t know:
- Check how old the website is
- Investigate the amount of visitors or traffic to that website
- Verify the DA (domain authority of the website)
- Ask the author to provide you with their examples of work or content they may have published in the last 3-6 months to check if author is genuine
- Request the websmaster to verify the author or ask the author to contact you with their professional email address i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Search for author’s social media’s profile or check if they have included the link within the email communication
If satisfied and only if you are fully satisfied then discuss with the author for payment method. Never give out your credit card or personal information i.e. date of birth, address, bank account information to protect your self. Whenever possible choose the option PayPal, Payoneer or Stripe as your preferred method of payment for safe guarding.
Warning: Please choose the best option based on your own analysis as you will be responsible for your actions.
Build links the wrong way – Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is very common amongst SEO’s. The techniques used in this method are there to create deception and does not usually add value to your website or business.
Therefore, Google strictly prohibits such method in it’s webmasters guidelines.
Some of these techniques include:
- Blog comments
- Profile links
- Forum links
- Links exchange
- PBN links
In saying that those freelance places mentioned above have good bunch as well. You can hire a professional writer to write your content, if you are busy with more important things.
So, if you are looking to improve ranking and build authority, you should do it the right way.
Backlinks indexation and pinging
Pinging the URL’s refers to as sending signals to search engines about the new content that they should crawl. This can be easily achieved by using online tools mentioned below.
Backlinks indexation is considered to be an natural process as crawlers visit websites frequently to look for new information. However, in some cases your content published on the giver website may not rank at all.
Here’s a list of few reasons:
- Dodgy practices that are prohibited by Google and search engines
- Website not configured properly
- Sitemap.xml file not setup correctly
- Crawlers being blocked by robots.txt file
and so on…
In this instance you can manually submit your URL’s for indexation. There are tons of tools out there to make it happen. Usually the paid subscription is required to complete the task.
Some of these tools are listed as below:
These tools submit your requested URL to tons of information type sites hoping that crawlers will notice to index your content.
However, if you are having issues with your content not being indexed on search engine like Google, you can try to submit url manually through . This method only works if you are the webmaster of the site.
However, if you are giver website and content is not indexing, then you should simply look for another site in your niche. You could also notify the giver website about their content indexation issues as a courtesy.
Key components for better ranking
The reputation of the backlink providing (giver) website matters. Simply because it helps to gain trust from search engines. For example: A backlink from trusted website as Forbes will hold much higher weight compare to new website that does not have authority.
Forbes traffic overview drawn from similarweb and it’s valid at the time of test.
Additionally, we can see that where Forbes is getting most of its referrals from.
Relevance makes the things easier for search engines to understand the type of content available on your site. Let’s take a look at Forbes top 5 backlinks drawn from SEMrush domain overview tool.
You can double check but I know for fact that each of those backlinks listed above have high domain authority as well as relevance.
Search engines have shifted from quantity concept and work with quality content now. It means having backlinks from authority and relevant websites are preferred by crawlers and search engine bots. Therefore, quality can take your business or blog to next level.
Each of these factors signal search engines about the credibility of your website. The more credible your website is the better chances of it ranking higher in search results.
The more number of authority and relevant backlinks you acquire the better your stand against your competition (in general terms). According to SEMrush tool Forbes has millions of backlinks and we can see from the picture above majority of those links dofollow. It means quantity of quality backlinks can boost your website authority, traffic and search engine ranking.
Building the links naturally requires time and patience. Hence, why most SEO fall of the track easily. However, building backlinks should not be your priority instead you should focus on creating the quality content. The quality content works like a charm and authority backlinks follow without much effort.
More useful resources about backlinks
I have recently indulged myself into writing content for blogs and have been doing so for the past 12 months now. My interests are digital marketing, analysis, eCommerce and social media marketing. I’m a SEO consultant & content writer @ Koaas