If you’re starting to learn about search engine optimisation (SEO), you’re inevitably going to hear about the term ‘backlinking’.
But what is backlinking, how can it help your SEO efforts, how do you do backlinking and should you do backlinking?
What is a backlink?
When one website links to another website it is known as backlinking. You may also see this referred to as inbound links or incoming links.
How does backlinking help SEO?
Backlinking is an important SEO practice. When you receive a backlink, it sends signals to search engines. These signals tell the search engines that one website thinks your website has content which is noteworthy. The more links your website gains, the more signals the search engine receives. These signals will help the search engine know your website is relevant and a popular, authoritative source. This will help to increase your search engine rankings.
Google has confirmed that backlinks are one of the three most important search engine ranking factors.
Types of backlinks
There are numerous types of backlinks. The two basic types of backlinks are known as a Nofollow backlink and a Dofollow backlink. A Nofollow link tells search engines to ignore the link. This means that your website will not gain any value for it; it will not increase your search engine rankings.
Dofollow links are the ones that you will want to get when you’re undertaking backlinking. Unlike Nofollow links, Dofollow links will pass on the value and help to increase your rankings.
It isn’t quite that black and white. You can gain Dofollow links that will reflect poorly on your website. You may receive links from sites which are spammy, have a very low domain authority, or sites which are breaking Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This can have a negative impact on your website, and cause you to lose rankings or gain a penalty. To avoid this happening, it’s important to consistently audit your backlinks.
So what type of backlinks do you want to gain?
When trying to gain backlinks, you want to ensure you are gaining websites from high quality, authoritative websites. Each website has what is known as a ‘domain authority’. This is a rank from 1 to 100 and tells search engines how much authority the website has. A website with high authority will therefore pass more authority onto your website with a backlink.
These backlinks are much harder to obtain, as websites with high authority will be less willing to link to a website with a low domain. However, gaining one high authority backlink is much more worth it than gaining lots of low authority backlinks.
Keywords in the anchor text
A backlink is a link from certain text on a website; the text with the link is known as anchor text.
You want to aim to have the keywords you are trying to rank for as the anchor text. This will help to increase your rankings for this keyword.
However, you need to tread with caution. If you start to gain too many backlinks for a certain keyword, you may find you will end up with a penalty. A part of Google’s algorithm is known as the ‘Google Penguin’; this will penalise websites that undertake black hat link building strategies. When undertaking backlinking, make sure you don’t go overboard and try to get too many backlinks too quickly.
Backlinks which are from a website relevant to your own will be weighted much more than websites which aren’t related.
If you have published an article about digital marketing, you want to gain backlinks from websites which are also about digital marketing. Backlinks from authoritative websites which are not relevant are still good, they will just not have as much impact as links from a relevant website.
Website hasn’t linked to you before
The more times a website links to your website, the less impact it has. If you gain one backlink from an authoritative website it will have a good impact, however, this will decrease with every subsequent link to your website. In other words, it is much better to have 1 backlink from multiple sources, rather than having lots of backlinks from the same website.
When you’re looking at backlinks, you need to count the number of sites which are linking to your website, rather than counting the total number of backlinks.
How do you get backlinks?
Now you know what a backlink is and how it will help your SEO efforts, the next step is gaining backlinks.
To gain backlinks, you’ll want to ensure you are following the best practices. This will help you avoid gaining a penalty from search engines.
What are some of the ways you can gain backlinks?
- Include links to your website on your social media accounts
- Create blog posts with relevant keywords
- Write guest posts for authoritative websites
- Create infographics which people will want to share on social media and their own blogs
- Contact influencers and authoritative sources and ask them to share your content or ask them to link to it
How to audit your backlinks
Once you’ve started to get backlinks, you’ll need to consistently audit them. But why do you have to monitor your backlinks? Google requires you to remove any toxic backlinks which are directed to your website. If you obtain too many toxic backlinks you may receive a penalty, which will see your rankings drop or website removed from Google completely.
Google Search Console is a helpful tool to see what backlinks you have obtained. However, for more detailed information, we suggest using SEMrush. You can use the Backlink Audit Tool to see all of the backlinks which are pointing to your website. This tool allows you to see the website it links to, the anchor text they use, and the toxic score of the website.
Once you have this list, you can choose to add the domain to a whitelist, otherwise known as a list of websites that you want to keep the backlinks from. If the website has a high toxic score, you may wish to add it to the blacklist instead. When you have enough links in your blacklist, you will need to use the Google Disavow Tool. Disavowing a link means the link will no longer be pointing to your website and you will not feel any effects of toxic links. Doing this will ensure you will be able to build your backlink profile without risking getting a penalty.
Need to do backlinking but unsure where to start? Contact Patch Agency today.