Backlinks, also known as inbound links (IBLs), are hyperlinks from a webpage that are directed towards your own webpage or website. In good Search Engine Optimization (SEO), backlinks have become a part of its main building blocks. The number of quality backlinks is an indication of how popular or important a website is.
Backlinks are measured by its quality and not its quantity. When a search engine determines the relevance of a site to a keyword, they consider the number of quality backlinks to that particular site. The contents of your website are considered by the search engine in determining the quality of a link.
Inbound links coming from other websites to your site are considered more relevant to your site if those sites have contents related to your site rather than links coming from other websites with content is unrelated to yours. The higher the relevance of inbound links, the greater the quality.
For SEOs, backlinks are important since some search engines like Yahoo or Google will give more credit to websites with a good number of quality backlinks and consider those websites more significant than others in their results page for a search request.
When you build valuable backlinks, your site has a higher chance of being indexed by search spiders. Spiders consider your site more reliable than others based on the quality of inbound links your site has. (Search spiders or web crawlers are internet bots which systematically browse the world wide web for the purpose of web indexing.) It will also help to increase worth traffic to your website.
In the field of SEO, increasing the number of high-quality links pointing to a website is crucial, thus, a strategy called link building is usually done. Link building describes actions aimed specifically at increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a web page.
There are two kinds of link building strategies:
Resorting to black hat link building strategies may get your site banned entirely from major search engines like Google as they have stricter and tougher search engine criteria.
Every website is given a Google PageRank score between 0 to 10 on an exponential scale. A PR score of 10 is given to websites with the highest volume of inbound links from any site in the internet. Twitter and Adobe Reader Download are one of the few websites with this score.
PR 5 websites have a good number of inbound links and PR 0 is given for newly started websites without any inbound links pointing to them. Thus, page one results of Google’s search engine usually include websites with higher PageRank scores relevant to a particular query.
Google, however, doesn’t solely take into account the number of backlinks but also the quality. To produce high quality inbound links, other websites that link your website should have content relevant to yours. A high number of relevant links is an indication of a quality and reliable website for search engine results pages (SERPs).
Although PageRank is only one factor in Google’s ranking algorithm and does not guarantee a high ranking, it can significantly help.
Buying backlinks is the fastest way to acquire backlinks. For most businesses, especially those just starting out, buying backlinks is tempting to get your site up and running with a high page ranking in no time, as these could lead to more traffic, thus additional revenue.
However, buying links is greatly frowned upon by Google’s Webmaster guidelines and some SEO communities as this practice is categorized as a black-hat strategy and literally unfair to others who have been working hard to earn their site’s page rank the white-hat way.
Backlinks are revered as they are considered as votes of confidence coming from hard working colleagues as well – and buying votes is unethical.
Buying links could also get you penalized by losing your rank for all keywords for 6 months or more. Some sites who have been penalized have never fully recovered their rankings which may have cost them to lose more money instead of earning some.
So, if buying links is a no-no, why is it still popular among online businesses? It’s because, buying links can and does work, if done the “right” way. It is a common practice in competitive businesses to buy and sell backlinks to get themselves in high rankings.
The reason Google doesn’t catch them is because only a few links are sold to those who can afford the expensive price tag. Additionally, these links are only sold within relevant niches which make it look natural.
The traffic you get on your site is somewhat related to the quality of the backlinks your website has; the more authoritative websites that link to you, the better page rankings and traffic you will get.
Quality backlinks can be hard to get, waiting for external websites to naturally link their website to yours can take you months or years. Spreading your link juice all over the web is a good way to consistently gain traffic to your site. However, if buying backlinks is not an option for you, you may opt to build or earn backlinks to get authoritative websites to link to your site.
Some smart ways to get backlinks include:
A white hat link building strategy that acquires links by finding broken, dead or otherwise non-functioning pages related to your niche, recreating the content of the broken link and reaching out to site owners informing them of the broken link and suggesting a corrected link with your content for link building purposes.
Although there will be cases where the webmaster will refuse to link back to you, when done right, Broken Link Building helps build links to your site.
Quora is a question and answer website where people ask anyone for help about anything at all. You may use this to your advantage by looking for questions related to your site’s content and responding to the question.
From there, you may provide a link pointing to your site which the user can find useful. Keep in mind that when doing this, don’t link your site just to get a backlink as this will hurt your reputation in Quora. Respond to questions as best as you can and only add links to your site when necessary.
Reaching out to audiences to notice your site can be achieved through guest blogging. Guest blogging allows you to write articles and publish them on popular websites where readers will find your content easily and you will gain more exposure.
By keeping your content well-written, fresh and interesting, you may increase your online reputation by being known as a reliable online source. So always remember to link your site when possible or your social media account so readers can easily follow you for future posts.
HARO is a website where journalists or members from the media go to ask for help. If you can answer the questions they ask, you may be able to get some free press and get published on well-known news sites.
Although you won’t get a lot of links from this site, HARO is a great place to get some high quality backlinks. HARO can also drive traffic to your site since links coming from it are usually from authoritative sites.
Internal links are links that go from one page on a website to a different page on the same website. Good internal linking structure will make it easier for readers to navigate your site while spreading link juice (ranking power) around websites.
Stay up-to-date on your competitors’ link-building strategies and know what backlinks they are earning or building. If your competitors are getting links from content you can reproduce, try to recreate it and make it better than theirs; after doing so, you may contact those sites linking to theirs and offer them your new content.
If you sell products online, you can make use of the product page to link back to your website if you think the content is useful and relevant to the product you are selling.
Infographics can drive traffic to your website and also add high quality backlinks. Your site can benefit from infographics since it’s more attention-grabbing and easier to remember than text-based content. If your infographic is also in a shareable format, chances are people will embed it in their sites, which will make people aware of your site and give it some much-needed exposure.
Although good infographics can be quite expensive to make, websites like Fiver and Dribble can help you find great freelance designers willing to create infographics at a more affordable cost.
Getting high quality backlinks can be hard, but through link-building opportunities it is possible. There are more advanced ways of getting backlinks, however, these are good strategies to start with for SEO beginners.
However, if you do decide to risk it and buy back links instead of earning them, here are some things to consider according to Mark Walters from seomark:
Overall, practicing black-hat SEO techniques such as purchasing backlinks may not be useful and worth it at all, especially if you’re not among those with enough cash to spend on expensive backlinks. Aside from it being against Google’s policy, these techniques may not really add traffic to your site and may even affect user-experience.
Instead of wasting money on this black-hat SEO strategy, focus on your site’s content. Spend time improving your website and finding legitimate ways to improve your site’s ranking and visibility. Make sure that you provide new and quality content, also update your site regularly, find websites willing to give you an opportunity to post as a guest blogger, find ways to enhance your link building strategies.
In reality, buying backlinks, as a short-cut to gain inbound links, may work for other people, they may even benefit through it with additional revenues and more. However, keep in mind that these practices are usually short-lived and will not thrive, especially with Google still working on its ability to filter out spammy content from relevant ones. If you really want to achieve and sustain your site’s long-term growth, be as dedicated as you can be. Use online tools to learn from other website’s success and try incorporating it to yours.
Backlinks are still worth more when earned, rather than bought.