SEO – An effective optimization plan must include three main components: onsite SEO, social media and backlinks. This article will focus on the subject of backlinks and how they can be used to propel your website up the search engine rankings and widen your exposure.
What is a backlink?
A backlink is a hyperlink from an external source which points directly to your website or webpage. To help me explain this further I could add a link to Wikipedia from this article. If you were to click this link you would be directed to Wikipedia and away from my website. In doing this I have provided Wikipedia with a backlink. Similarly, if Wikipedia was to add a link to my website on one of their webpages they would be providing me with a backlink. Backlinks can come from a variety of sources and we will explore some of the most commonly used techniques later in this article.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks provide two main benefits for your website: firstly they help to improve your search engine rankings, and secondly, they provide additional exposure and access to your website from external sources. Let’s look at each of these benefits in more detail.
Backlinks act like votes in that they indicate to the search engines that the link provided must lead to something of value and interest. A backlink is basically a way for other people to say they like what you have to offer. If you wrote an article that I felt would benefit my website readers I may decide to link to your website. If other webmasters read your article and also link to it you will soon have multiple websites all linking to the same page on your website. If this happened over and over again from many different websites it would indicate to the search engines that the linked to a page on your website must contain something that many other websites consider to be of value.
The more votes (backlinks) you have the popular your website will appear to be in the eyes of the search engines. However, it is not just the quantity of backlinks that is important it is also the quality of the source it is coming from. Just as they would be in other voting situations, the most authoritative, powerful, influential and credible the voter is the more beneficial the vote will be to the recipient. One backlink from a well-respected source can often be more valuable than many from poorly respected sources.
Backlinks are always considered in terms of SEO, however, they also have another important benefit which is often overlooked and the relevance of which can be typically underestimated. If you can create various backlinks from various external sources which are all pointing directly to your website you have much more chance of being found.
If I were to browse Facebook I may come across a page I like and in turn, I may check out their website. I could be discussing something on a forum and read an interesting comment from someone who has a link to their website within the text. As their comment seems interesting I may check out their website. Therefore, backlinks not only improve your search engine rankings by also allow you to promote and emphasize the importance and quality of your website to a much wider and far-reaching audience.
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