Backlinks, also known as inbound links or IBLs, are one of the most important search engine optimization tools for any website. They are also deceptively simple and highly effective promotional tools in their own right, ideally acting as a recommendation from one quality website to another. Any business or brand with an online presence cannot afford to ignore backlinks as a way to advertise their presence and advance their activities.
What are backlinks?
A backlink is a hyperlink (usually just referred to as a link) that directs back towards your website. It will be placed on someone else’s site, ideally one that is relevant to yours. If you run a website selling the latest high fashion clothing, for example, then you should be looking to place backlinks on leading fashion blogs or websites that keep their visitors updated with the latest trends. A backlink on a website that deals with an irrelevant subject, like animal welfare or cybersecurity, would obviously be less helpful.
What are the benefits of backlinks?
First of all, backlinks work as a way for people to find your site. If they are browsing site A and they see a link to site B in an article and click on it, they are perhaps discovering site B (your site) for the first time. If site A is more popular then site B and attracts visitors who are likely to be interested in site B, then we can see how the backlink helps site B to build its audience.
A link from one site to another is also seen as a recommendation or a vote of confidence. If you have a backlink on the blog of a key influencer within your sector, then it will add to your credibility and help build your reputation as well as attracting passing trade. It’s because backlinks are seen as a vote of confidence that search engines like Google place so much importance on them.
Search engine optimization
Search engines, and Google in particular, see quality backlinks as an indication of the importance and/or popularity of a website. Accordingly, the number of quality backlinks a site receives contributes significantly towards its search ranking. While the algorithms Google uses change regularly and are a closely guarded secret, all evidence suggests that backlinks still play a big part in determining how quickly your site appears when people type relevant keywords into the search bar.
How do I get backlinks?
Link building, as the process is known, can be a very time-consuming process. However, there are ways to speed it up and optimize for the best results. The quickest option is to buy backlinks from a trusted site, but of course you need to make sure that you have content worth linking to. This could be a high-quality, informative article, relevant news, or just a page of products or services.
What sort of backlinks should I look for?
You will have noticed earlier the emphasis on quality backlinks. This relates to having links on websites that feature content relevant to your own. These links should also look natural and ideally should include keywords that say something about what you have to offer. A backlink where the anchor text is just “click here” in an article that is seemingly irrelevant is not considered high quality and may be discounted by search engines.
Backlinks are excellent promotional tools that allow you to build relationships within your sector and to acquire referral traffic that will boost your business. They are also a key determiner of search ranking. Their importance in the online marketing field should not be under-estimated.