Hitting the Links
Without links, there would be no web. Every website is interconnected to other sites by way of hyperlinks. Links are the glue that holds the internet together. So what are backlinks? Are they:
- The back nine holes on a golf links?
- The clasps at the neckline on the backs of dresses?
- The links on an external website that link to yours?
It’s important that you know what a backlink is and what it can do for your business. You can improve SEO through backlinks if you know how they work and take the time to cultivate quality backlinks. Take a shortcut, and your website could be penalized.
With stakes potentially that high, you need to take the time to learn all you can about link building. The process can be time consuming and costly, but because link building improves SEO it will be worth the effort to do it correctly. Just don’t expect overnight success.
Why Backlinks Matter
Backlinks can help boost your ranking on SEO. They can also backfire. Basically, a backlink is a referral. You know how referrals work in brick-and-mortar shops and businesses. A satisfied customer recommends your business to a friend. Now you have a new customer. Likewise, referrals from reputable websites will improve SEO through backlinks.
On the web, a backlink sends you visitors, and if you can convert your visitor to a paying customer, you grow your business. The value of a backlink is based on the reputation or authority of the source. There is little to no value in a backlink from a questionable website. So how do you go about garnering those golden referrals?
The Old-Fashioned Way
Of course there are shortcuts to building backlinks; there are plenty of ways to cheat. However, Google has caught on to dishonest backlink generation techniques, and they punish those caught using them. Just because you’re conducting business online using the latest technology doesn’t mean you can throw old-fashioned ethics out with yesterday’s electronics.
A Tale of Two Outcomes: Quantity vs. Quality
Your parents used to warn you about paying attention to the company you keep. Hang out with the wrong person and you can end up in trouble by association. It isn’t always fair, but we do judge people and businesses by the company they keep.
Remember those high school and college students who tried to buy their grades? Instead of writing a paper themselves, they bought one from a paper mill or paid a friend to write it for them. Those folks use the same strategy in trying to game the SEO ranking system. They rely on bogus website mills to buy backlinks. In this case, more is definitely not better.
SEO ranking also takes into account your “neighborhood.” With the proliferation of the dark web, gambling sites, pornography, and phishing scams, you need to be vigilant about the sites to which you are linked. That also includes link exchange networks, which are often nothing more than a scam.
Worth Their Weight in Gold
When it comes to backlinks, quantity never outranks quality. “Natural” backlinks are the gold standard. External websites create links to your site because you offer great content that is relevant to them. They found you and they know their website visitors will appreciate your content. When this external website has a sterling reputation, they transfer their luster to you.
Don’t expect to cultivate dozens of natural backlinks quickly. The newest algorithms that are used to calculate SEO rankings will uncover an accumulation of backlinks that looks too good to be true and will penalize your website. Natural backlinks are earned over time, not overnight. The old adage of “slow and steady wins the race” applies to link building.
Improving Your SEO One Link at a Time
Now that you know how valuable the right backlink can be and how detrimental the wrong ones are, how do you go about encouraging other sites to create a link to your site? Let’s start with the basics.
According to Nathan Gotch, you need a three-pronged approach to improve SEO through backlinks. They are:
- A technically-optimized site. Your site should always be technically optimized! You know what drives you crazy: slow loading speed, 404 errors, and the like. This also drives users crazy! Technical errors and glitches will lose you potential customers. Make certain those valuable backlinks you are working so hard to earn will actually work when the time comes.
- Strong site architecture. Better site architecture can translate to needing fewer backlinks to improve your SEO. This has to do with link equity. Where does the backlink land the visitor and how many links within your site will take that visitor to get to right webpage? The fewer the clicks needed the better.
- Valuable content. No matter how great your site architecture and technical optimization, they can’t compensate for poor content. The bottom line is that you only gain quality backlinks by providing quality content. People don’t want to waste time on dull or re-hashed information when they can easily find top-quality content elsewhere.
How to Get Noticed
When your basics are in place, what should you do next? It can be hard to get noticed on the web. This is where the temptation to take an unethical shortcut can derail your business. That doesn’t mean you have to sit passively by and hope the world will stumble onto your website. Just keep your link building campaign honest.
If you have ever supplied a link to another business or website, ask yourself what motivated you to do so. What value did it offer to your customers? What was that site’s reputation? What you admire in others is what you want to aspire to be yourself.
Testimonials are one currency for building a reputation, but only if the testimonial comes from a trustworthy source and only if it’s sincere. No doubt you’ve seen customer product or service rating comments that sounded phony. Testimonials can still be a great starting point for your link building campaign. Just keep them real.
Your Missing Link
We hope you’re convinced that link building improves SEO. But if you’re unsure about developing an effective backlink building campaign on your own, the staff at Solutio will be happy to guide you through the process. We can help you put together a winning strategy to improve your SEO, and we’ll do it the right way. We’ll also help you avoid the pitfalls that backfire.
We understand that you don’t want to destroy your good name and reputation by making a misstep. That’s why our philosophy is “natural and organic only” when it comes to backlinks. Our reputation is also on the line, so our focus is always on honesty and integrity in our business dealings.
Solutio’s expertise is in developing dynamic digital marketing strategies. We want to use our expertise to help you improve SEO through backlinks as part of an overall marketing strategy. We want to help your business grow. When you succeed, we succeed.
Contact Solutio for advice on all things digital. It’s what we do. We’re here to help you in any way we can. Just don’t expect us to help you with your golf swing.