What Backlinks and Why are They Important to SEO?
Numerous factors influence SERPs, such as page speed, website authority, mobile friendliness, technical SEO, user experience, and more. Amidst fierce competition for the top search engine results, backlinks represent a “vote of confidence” from one website to another and are a strong indication of value to Google.
Website owners with an understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) recognize the importance and gravity of link building. So, what is a backlink?
A backlink, also known as an incoming or inbound link, is created when one website links to the other. For example, if a mountain climbing website (Website A) links to a blog post that compares the best hiking gear (Website B), the hiking gear website will receive a backlink – or vote of confidence – from the mountain climbing website.
Why are Backlinks Important for SEO?
Backlinks to your website indicate search engines that many vouch for your content’s relevance.
Earning backlinks positively affects the website’s search visibility or ranking position. If many websites link to the same website or webpage, search engines deduce that the content is worth linking to and will surface on a SERP.
How Can Your Site Earn Backlinks?
Gaining backlinks is a crucial component of an off-page SEO strategy. However, not all backlinks created are equal.
If you want your website to rank higher in the SERPs, focus on quality backlinks that come from:
- Trusted websites
- Links with target keyword
- Related links to your website
- Do-follow links
- New links
Furthermore, a few of the many effective strategies to earn backlinks are listed below.
Get contextual links
A contextual link is a clickable text (usually a keyword) located in an article or any content piece that contains similar context or ideas.
These links can either be artificial or natural. Artificial links are posted manually. Meanwhile, natural conceptual links will link to other websites voluntarily, boost your SEO scores, and increase your search engine popularity – increasing your website’s results.
Update old content
Check the number of backlinks in a research report. You may have found something valuable depending on the number of websites referencing that content.
You can also create a better piece with more relevant data. Once that content is live, update the journalists and bloggers linked to the old content to modify their version.
Collaborating on other projects can help grow your brand and traffic, so building relationships is beneficial. You’ll see the result of your outreach in a few days or weeks through social media shares or backlinks.
Use images to earn mentions and links
Infographics are widely used for earning backlinks. You can try to experiment with them. However, if you feel infographics don’t work well for your website/brand, you can consider creating:
- On-page templates
- Free photo galleries
- Charts and graphs
Reclaim unlinked mentions
Reclaiming unlinked brand mentions is the quickest way to build good-quality backlinks.
Keep an eye on which website mentioned your brand (in the news or on blogs). You can easily do this with the help of tools like Google Alerts.
If you want deeper insights into your mentions, such as the number of shares of its source’s domain authority, you can opt for tools like Mention, BuzzSumo, and AhrefsContentExplorer.
How to Outrank a Site with More Backlinks
Before we had smartphones and concepts like E-A-T, search engines needed a way to determine the credibility of a website. Back when PageRank was one of the major algorithms used by Google, backlinks were one of the significant factors influencing a website’s credibility.
Now, Google has other factors that influence a website’s credibility, such as an updated blog, consistent website updates, good page loading speed, and excellent web design that encourages seamless navigation.
If your website meets these authorities and trust signals, you can compete with the web pages and websites with more links. You can also improve your credibility by:
- Having credible and licensed people create niche content or sign off on it.
- Sourcing the content to the relevant sources and authors using schema and links.
- Having a robust internal linking structure that supports the proper explanation of resources and content.
- Ensuring that your website is secure.
- Having competitive page-load speed so that slow connections and mobile devices can access your content.
- Structuring your content correctly, using:
- Header tags
- Clear titles
- Properly named images
- Formatting of sections into lists, paragraphs, tables, etc.
- Adding a proper schema for defining what is on each page and section.
Optimize Your Site with Backlinks
Quality backlinks are an essential part of the SEO strategy of your website. Building a robust backlinking portfolio can help you improve your website’s domain and page authority while ranking higher on SERPs for your targeted keywords.
You will have difficulty getting your website to rank well in search engine results without backlinks, so be smart and persistent in your SEO tactics.