A good SEO practitioner knows that one of the most important parts of search engine optimization involves backlinks and link building. However, not all links are created equal.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in October 2012 and has since been updated for accuracy.
What are Backlinks?
Links are the best way to determine the quality of a webpage. In fact, Google says backlinks are one of their top 3 ranking signals.
For a website to rank for its target keywords, it must have a decent Domain Authority. A large part of increasing Domain Authority comes from link building, but the quality of links matters much more than the quantity. One high quality link is worth more than 100 links from low quality sources. In fact, too many links from low quality sources can even harm your site.
There are several factors that will affect the credibility of a backlink, including the power of the referring webpage and the number of other links that are on that page. A link from a powerful page will have more link authority than a link from a weaker page, and a link from a page with many other links on it will have less link value than a link from a page with only one link on it.
How to Check Backlinks
Not all backlinks are created equal, and low-quality links can decrease your page ranking. We like to use Moz Site Explorer and Google Search Console to determine link quality.
Quality vs. Quantity
When the Internet was still new, search engines would rank results based solely on the content of the webpage. It wasn’t until Google’s PageRank Algorithm was introduced that search engines began to look at and value the number of people linking to that page. With Google’s current algorithm update, Google Penguin, we see that search engines are now focused on link quality — not just quantity.
Page Authority: The first determinant of link quality is page authority. The authority of the page linking to your site matters – if you want your site to be found online. Links from authoritative pages can pass the most power to your site.
Domain Authority: Links from well-respected sources will be much more powerful than no-name blogs. Moz’s Site Explorer is a great tool to check domain authority of your site and your competitor’s sites.
Relevance: When finding backlinks to include, keep in mind that sites you link to and from should be closely related to yours. Including a link from an authoritative site about bagpipes on your capital equipment website probably won’t help your rankings.
How to Get Quality Backlinks in 2018
Now that you know how important backlinks are, you’re probably wondering, how do I build backlinks to my website?
Local Listings: Submit your business information to a few, credible, local directories. We recommend Google My Business, Bing Places, and Yelp. Choose trusted directories relevant to your industry to avoid losing out on domain authority.
Original Content: When you become the source for new, innovative content, the links can add up quickly. Certain types of easily digestible, visual content are more likely to be sourced and shared by others, therefore earning you backlinks. These content types include:
- Images, infographics, and charts. These are easy to link to and share between sites.
- List posts. Blogs with a numbered list of tips, reasons, myths, or step-by-step instructions break information into easy to digest snippets.
- Statistics and data from original research. This type of content reinforces your expertise and can also be highly linkable. When you become the source, the links can add up quickly.
Sponsorships: Finally, consider charity or event sponsorships. Usually, your website will benefit from earning a link the event or charity website and potentially, your business might be picked up in news articles about the sponsorship. These can be very valuable links.
Bringing Backlinks Back
If you’re curious about how your site is performing, request a free digital marketing analysis from the marketing specialists at Adpearance. Contact us to learn more about how to build backlinks and improve your website’s search rankings.