A backlink is the term used for when someone adds a link on their website to your website. Backlinks are very important aspects of getting your site to rank at the top of search engine results. If you want your website to rank at the top of search engines like Google then your website needs to have backlinks.
Each backlink that is created has a different level of backlink “power”. This invisible ranking method helps to determine how much value the site receives from an earned backlink.
For example, a backlink added to a brand new site that has not built up any SEO value will not be considered as higher value than a site like a government website that has been around for over a decade and has a high amount of traffic to it.
A backlink from a quality website is much more valuable than a dozen backlinks from low quality websites.
The World Wide Web is simply a connection of websites all connected together by hyperlinks. The web is literally like a spiders web where all the websites are connected in certain ways. Websites that have a lot of backlinks pointing to it are considered more authoritative and tend to rank higher in search engines.
Search engines help you find the website you are looking for.
A very brief history of backlinks
Backlinks have been around since the dawn of the world wide web. People use links to direct users to pages within their site and to other websites.
When Google was founded back in 1998, it used backlinks as one of the main determining factors of which pages to rank the highest in search results. When people worked this out, they built hundreds or thousands of backlinks to game the system and ensure they had the most backlinks to get the highest ranking sites.
Google worked out what people were doing and began to incorporate hundreds of other factors to help determine the sites ranking.
No one but the search engines themselves know how much value a backlink is worth however Google suggests that you promote your site through backlinks so it is still a large part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is still considered one of the top ways (when combined with the many other SEO methods) to rank a website in search engines.
Backlinks are considered valuable because building backlinks on authoritative sites takes time and not everyone can do it.
What does a backlink look like?
A backlink is simply just a HTML anchor link on someones website. There is no extra special characteristics of a backlink. The link just needs to be from one persons website to another persons website.
An backlink looks like this:
<a href="https://web3.com.au/" title="Go to Web3 Website">Web3</a>
The markup has the following attributes:
- href – The URL that the anchor will go to when it is clicked.
- title – The title that is displayed when the user hovers their mouse over the link.
- Anchor Text – The anchors text that is displayed on the page.
The do’s of a good backlink
Often you will see people recommend the anchor text to be keyword rich and targeting your desired keyword for that website e.g. if we were linking to our WordPress agency website Web3 then we may over optimize the anchor text by using “web design brisbane”.
This may be the correct anchor text in the right context but it is considered best practice to not be misleading so as to get the keywords you are targeting. The anchor text should also be readable by humans. i.e. if you have an anchor link with the text as “click here” then you will want to describe the anchor text instead by using words like “download the report” or “buy now” instead.
The do not’s of a bad backlink
There are a lot of bad practices out there that can hinder backlink building. Because SEO is so important for website success, people will do anything to gain a backlink. If you are trying to game the system by getting bad backlinks then it can have the opposite effect on your websites SEO and you can be penalized by Google until the backlinks disappear and Google re-indexes the sites.
A bad backlink can be gained by purchasing or selling backlinks with websites that list hundreds of low quality websites and link exchange networks. Link building is a natural exercise and you should not have to purchase links to gain links.
If you do partake in these bad practices then you risk your site being deindexed from search results or penalized.
How to gain a backlink
A backlink is often a very hard thing to achieve because website owners (outside your control) need to physically add your websites link to their website.
Sure you can gain a social backlink by sharing your content out but the most valuable website links are earned links by website owners talking about your website.
The best way to gain a website backlink is by being remarkable online. Backlinks are like conversations among websites. That is if you are remarkable then site owners will talk about you on their website if both of your websites niches align.
For example if a Joseph from WP Absolute was to write an article about building links and James from a web design agency was writing an article about SEO then they may reference WP Absolutes article in their article by creating a backlink to enforce and add value to their SEO post.
Joseph gets his backlink and James gets to reference Joseph with his quality article.
To grow your backlink profile on your website, you need to create great content that users will want to link to. Once you have your great content piece, you can either sit and wait for people to find it or you can go out and promote it.
You can promote your website through social media and reach out to other website owners to link to your content.