Backlinks are the inbound links that connect to your website from other web pages and domains. They are important because they give authority to your content and so signal to Google whether your website is credible or not.
The more links your website has, the higher it is likely it is to rank higher on Google, but not always.
In the past 'linkfarming' was very popular, where people would set up websites and add lots and lots of links from one to the other to try and fool Google and boost their rankings. Nowadays, there is still a lot of bot-posting on comments to try and create links where comments get allowed automatically.
As a result Google now judges backlinks not just by quantity, but also by quality.
Therefore, the more authority a website has (the BBC rates at 100%, for example), the more authority this gives your website if it links to you. However, the converse is true too - a lot of bad spammy websites linking to yours (or even one if it's really bad) will drag your ranking down. Despite the fact most webmasters are savvy to bad spam generated by bots, most websites still receive a lot of it.
Building backlinks authentically is therefore an art and a science, and is always a long game. At heart it involves writing really good optimised content that people want to link to. Building links can then be done around that content in a variety of ways.
The best way is through promoting the content to your audience with an integrated social media and PR campaign, which naturally builds the inbound links.
Other ways include:
- Influencer marketing - this is where you identify influencers in your niche and build a relationship with them to promote your content over a period.
- Outreach campaigns - where you approach good ranking websites that are aligned to your own and ask if they would be interested in featuring your content or adding a link to one of their pages.
- White labelling content or guest blogging on relevant and high-ranking websites.
- Repositioning content - you can also summarise the content elsewhere, preferably on a site where you have an interested audience, such as social media or a site that features articles that are complementary to your own. Link back to the original article.
- Comments - you can comment on other people's blogs or posts with your link in the comment. This used to be the No.1 way, and blogs were measured by how many comments they generated. Nowadays it carries a high risk of being seen as spammy and comments deleted by the webmaster.
Want to give your backlinks a boost and don't have the resources? Have a look at our Backlink builder package to see how we can help.