Anyone who cares about SEO Marketing for their business should have a thorough understanding of SEO backlinks. Backlinks are sometimes referred to as inbound links, SEO Link building, Website Backlinks, inward links, incoming links, or inlinks. No matter what you call them, backlinks are the second most important metric next to Content Marketing to how Google assesses a page’s value.
What are backlinks? Continue reading and we’ll show you what SEO backlinks are, why they’re important, and how to make the most out of them for your business.
Table of Contents
What Are Backlinks? or What is Link Building?
Any hyperlink on a website that points back to another website is a backlink. A backlink tells the reader to continue reading about the article’s topic by following your link. A backlink can lead to a product page, a service, or more information.
Why Are Backlinks Important?
The main reason why SEO backlinks are important is that Google uses website backlinks to rank them for related searches. Why do we care so much about what Google thinks? Because Google isn’t only the most popular search engine in the world, it’s the most popular website in the world.
With over 3.5 billion searches every day, you are all but guaranteed to increase your conversion rate if you climb the Google Search Engine Result Pages ( SERP) rankings. When more websites use backlinks to your page, especially if they are quality sites, your ranking on Google’s search engine results pages is likely to go up.
Why Does Google Care About Backlinks and Link Building?
In the early days of the internet, search engines were more basic than they are today. They relied mostly on keyword matching. The quality of the site’s content, as well as its relevancy, didn’t matter to search engines.
If you had a page that contained a keyword that someone typed into a search engine, your page was likely to show up on the results page. Even if you wrote a story about how you had to “find a barbershop near me”, someone who typed that exact phrase into a search engine probably saw your page. As we can see, that isn’t very useful to someone trying to find a local barbershop.
Naturally, after website owners discovered that keyword matching was all you needed to rank high, they exploited this issue by using “keyword stuffing.” Keyword stuffing is when you type a keyword into your page an unnecessary amount of times.
Some people even created pages that were lists of popular keywords and had banner ads all over them. These sites were made to get people to visit the site and generate ad revenue. This keyword problem gave search engines a bad rap and weakened the power of internet marketing.
How Google Is Different
Seeing the major problems that search engines were experiencing, Sergey Brin and Larry Page wondered if they could do a better job. They figured out that you could create a more useful search engine if you could measure how popular each website on the internet was.
In 1998, the two men published a scientific paper about a concept known as “PageRank”. They pointed out in this paper that contemporary search engines were useless due to keyword stuffing and that people needed a new method to find information. Search engines in 1997 were so bad that if you typed the name of the search engine into the search bar, that engine only had a one out of four chance of finding itself.
That would be like typing Google into Google.com and having a 1/4 chance that “Google.com” would appear in the search results. For obvious reasons, something needed to change.
PageRank depended on two assumptions. The first was that if multiple websites all linked to one webpage, then that website was most likely a good one.
The second assumption was that authoritative websites will link to good pages. If CNBC or other quality sites link to your page, you probably have a good website.
Under the PageRank system, the more quality backlinks a website had, the higher it would show up in search results.
How to Build Backlinks
Now that you understand the importance of using SEO backlinks, you know you have to go get them. When you are link building, they should be high-quality and natural. There are many scammers out there who will offer to incorporate backlinks to your website for a cheap price.
Oftentimes, these are low-quality websites that lack authority on the subject and aren’t popular. As the algorithm at Google continues to get better, it continues to seek out natural backlinks while devaluing spammy ones. If Google suspects that you are unjustifiably getting a lot of backlinks, they’re likely to penalize you.
This penalty can result in your site dropping in search ranking. Even worse, your website might end up getting banned from the search engine results page altogether.
Guest Posting and Blogger Outreach
Scan the internet and check to see if there are high-quality websites out there that are not only dedicated to your industry but also take guest posts. If you find one, reach out to them and offer to write free articles on a topic that’s relevant in exchange for use of a backlink to your website.
Remember that the quality of the website that’s linking back to you is very important. There are many low-quality websites on the internet today that exist solely to post backlinks to other sites. Search engines are aware of these sites and work hard to penalize them.
Be careful with whatever website you decide to write for. Read some of their other articles first and determine if they seem authoritative, or if they seem to mainly exist as a proxy for a bunch of other backlinked sites.
This process, like other white-hat link building techniques, takes a lot of time to achieve. You need to find a high authority website that is willing to allow you to post an article on their website ( usually comes with a cost of $200-500) then write the article, have the webmaster approve it and finally post it.
If you’d like to have all of that taken care of at wholesale prices, then check these guest post services.
News Article backlinks
Both national and local news sites are excellent places to find high-quality and authoritative information. Many writers and journalists love to use quotes from experts in their news articles. Not all of these writers will link back to your site, but a lot of them will.
When you have quotes that get onto popular media sites, not only will you build great backlinks but your reputation within the industry will also rise. Even if you don’t get backlinks, you can still link to the news articles that cited you. This can help make you seem more reputable to both Google and your customers.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “how do I get quoted in news articles?” There are companies like BrandLume that can share your content with these news websites due to the relationship they have with them and have them post these articles for you. This can help you connect with journalists who are looking to write about things you know.
Local Citation Building and Business directory website backlinks
When you have your local business directory websites like Yelp, yellow pages, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and elsewhere, those count as backlinks. These websites not only help you get more backlinks, but they also help people find out more about your business. There are a lot of sites where you can post your business listing, but this is usually a tedious and very time-consuming job.
You should start with Google and work your way through all the other big websites. After you finish with the major ones, try every couple of weeks to set up a few more new citation profiles on other reputable business listing sites.
You can also acquire these citation building services to have it all taken care of for you.
SEO Link Building Through Press Releases Services
Not everyone is aware of what press release services are, but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Press releases are basically news articles that are written about you, your services or business updates and are published on news outlets. Companies and websites use them to boast about new developments. Here is an article we wrote about How to Write a Press Release if you’d like to know how to write one as well.
Although press releases are a form of corporate advertising, they’re nevertheless posted to many high-quality news sites that link back to your page. Like with guest posts, though, you have to make sure that you are using high-quality press releases.
What does that mean? Low-quality press releases cost less to create, but they probably won’t get published on any quality sites. High-quality publishers like PR Newswire and Business Wire will have to publish your press release for it to matter to Google which is what you get from these Press Release distribution services.
You should remember to consider the price of the service, though. A standard 400-word press release could end up costing you a lot of money. Still, that large upfront cost could be worth it to you in the long run.
You can also make the most out of your press release too. Not only can you include several backlinks, but you can also use it as a way to let people know more about your business and why they should work with you.
It also gives you bragging rights to showcase that you have been seen on these publications, which is a great conversion improvement tool for your marketing initiatives.
Not only is donating your money and time to schools, organizations, and local charities helpful to those in need, it’s also a great way to build more backlinks. Many charitable organizations have pages where they post about their various donors and sponsors.
Getting onto these pages is an excellent way of getting a backlink from a well-known brand. You get even more brownie points if the organization has a donor section right on their homepage.
Paid Ad Links
The ad links that we’re discussing in this section are not ads on sites like Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, or Google. The ads that we’re discussing are ones that go onto websites that post your backlink in exchange for a fee. These backlinks are sometimes – but not always – made clear that they are paid ads.
Some might consider this to be in the black or gray hat area. Some might also consider this to be link farming when it gets abused. Google sometimes considers these situations as “link schemes” and works to penalize it.
However, when paid ad links happen appropriately and on quality sites, it can work out fine. Oftentimes, this requires the site to make it clear that the backlink is a paid advertisement.
Permanent Homepage Backlinks
These backlinks are another form of link building in which a link to your website is placed on the home page of another related website.
These links are usually very hard to get as they are placed on the home page of the relevant website permanently, and are usually only available through Homepage Backlinks providers.
Social Media Backlink signals
Social media can sometimes be a good way to get backlinks, but it also might not be helpful at all. For example, linking to your website on your social media profile might help you out, but you normally can’t go much further than that.
The big social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook classify links as “nofollow.” This means that you don’t get any SEO value from backlinks on those sites. It’s wise to not have social media as a big part of your backlink strategy.
They are usually looked at as social signals, telling Google that you are updating your profile and are staying relevant.
Using Backlinks for Your Business
Now that you have an answer to “what are backlinks?”, you can see that they’re an important part of SEO and internet marketing. They can also help to build your company’s reputation and make it easier for you to reach more customers. With all that said, backlinks are only one part of a successful and comprehensive SEO marketing strategy.
Are you looking for a total digital marketing service? BrandLume has complete Link-building, Content marketing services with Free SEO management Services that encompasses everything you need in a hassle-free package. Contact us today and see how we can help you grow your business with ease.