Backlinks are a term that resonates with anyone involved in SEO. Perhaps the word brings you dread, or joy, or confusion. Do you know the correct amount to appease the search gods, also known as Google Ads? Do you favor quality over quantity? Are you not in U-N-I-T-Y with this vibe? We break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of backlinks.
What are Backlinks?
A link, URL, that stems from one website to yours. Also known as inbound links, these links legitimize your website and can help increase your SEO score. Backlinks can be embedded in blog posts, referral links, or lodged in pictures.
How Do Backlinks Work?
There is a lot of noise on the world wide web, and search engines don’t want to look foolish by sending someone to a random or harmful site. After all, they get paid good money to steer people to real consumer sites that meet customer search needs and generate revenue! To avoid the work it takes to have human eyes check a website for permissibility, they use backlinks to help. When a fellow real, legitimate website is willing to host a link to yours, that essentially gives you bonus points. The search engines think your website can be trusted as a source of information. More backlinks equals more points, and more for validity to your site. When the all-powerful algorithm believes in you, your site can show up higher on the SERPs.
Do Backlinks Still Matter?
Yes! Algorithms change on a regular basis and often without warning, so many SEO practices of the past are outdated and sometimes rendered useless; however, backlinks and link building are not part of those methods that have fallen to the wayside. Backlinks are still a powerful tool in ranking sites. This classic SEO strategy still rings true into the new decade.
What is a Good vs. Bad Backlink?
Now that we’ve established the need for backlinks, what kind of backlinks should you be aiming for?
A good backlink relates to your business. If you are a wellness company, a backlink to a plumbing site is not exactly useful. This seems like your backlink is haphazardly or incorrectly placed. What you ideally want/need is a backlink from similar, relevant companies. Aim for non-competitors, intersecting companies, and parallel interests.
A strong backlink originates from a strong website. If your backlink stems from a poor website, that’s a red flag. Abandoned websites, poorly developed, and copycat sites are all bad backlinks, drop them like 3rd period French. Website strength can be determined by traffic, speed, and content.
Relevant anchor text. This is the highlighted and clickable portion sending the user on their way to your site. Research shows that when the anchor text directly correlates with your material, your SEO score will rise. If the anchor text is an exact match, then you’ve got it made in the shade.
At the end of the day, backlinks can be seen as another form of advertising for your site, like word-of-mouth. Anywhere you can plunk a plug for your product is going to be desirable, but as a seasoned SEO administrator you should always be aware of what, why, and where these links should come from.
Read more about How You Can Get Started Link Building here.