Backlinks are also known as inbound links or incoming links and very rarely as a hyperlink. The term is used to describe links that point to a web page or a website, these links can come from a variety of sources such as blogs, directories, forums and articles. As an example, you may have a blog in which you're writing about a subject that has already been covered to great length on another website, to assist your readers you may refer to it by providing a link as I have just done or provide the URL like so: www.primomedia.com.au. Backlinks are an important factor in determining how well your website ranks in search engines, as most search engines use the amount of backlinks your site has as a determining factor on where your site or page appears in search results. Having said this, it doesn't mean you should go get links like crazy ( read below ).
As mentioned already, backlinks are a major factor that search engines use to determine the relevancy and positioning of your web page or website for search terms, they can also drive traffic to your site from the source. Backlinks to your site also affect your websites pages Page Rank (PR) which is also a factor used by Google when ranking your site or pages. Before you run off building backlinks like crazy, know that the search engines consider the quality of the backlink when giving it weight in how much it influences your search engine rankings. Having lots of backlinks or even some relevant high authority backlinks isn't like waving a magic wand, suddenly you're ranking number 1 for your keywords. If your own site is not unique, creative and full of helpful information for your niche that is well planed and easy to navigate, then all your efforts may be in vain. Search engine optimisation begins with onsite optimisation. Things to consider:
- The quality of the source of the backlink
- The relevancy of the source of the backlink
- The anchor text used in the backlink, known as link text
- The page rank of the source of the backlink
Firstly some points have to be covered in regards to building backlinks.
- If your domain is new and fresh, tread carefully. Building a bunch of backlinks on a domain that has just been indexed won't appear to look natural, and you may find you will suffer from doing so. In the beginning, take it easy.
- Continuing on from the previous point, even an aged domain can be hurt from rapid link building, search engine algorithms are fairly clever and hundreds of links being built daily isn't natural and will likely result in action taken from search engines.
- Using a set of keywords as your anchor text over and over also stands out as unnatural, naturally when someone finds your content worth sharing and links to you, they use terms like "see here" or "this web page" etc.
Ideally you want to build links where your customers can be found, this could be in the form of:
- Niche related blogs or forums
- Link exchange
- Press release sites
- Directory listings - stick to the major directories in your region
- Social media
- Contents or scholarships
- Article distribution
- Google Places and Bing Local
- Product review sites
- Video directories
- Infographic directories
If you're running a business and somehow have the time to do this as well then my hat is off to you. Hopefully everything is covered here and leave a comment if you have something interesting to add.