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SEO hacks: What are backlinks and how do they improve search results?

Obtaining high quality backlinks is an important part of an SEO strategy, increasing your search rankings, growing brand awareness, and driving traffic to your website.

There’s a certain buzz that comes from realising that another website has added a backlink to yours, and it’s that same happy feeling that you get when you read a glowing customer review.

OK, enjoy that buzz, you’ve earned it.

Yet, what you may not know is that backlinks aren’t just about appreciation. High quality backlinking is also an important part of a well-functioning SEO strategy, increasing your search rankings, growing visibility and brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and ultimately driving up profits.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from another site to your website.

In marketing terms, being linked to from another site has the capacity to drive more traffic to your site and capture customers who may not know of you.

They are also an essential part of search engine marketing, because backlinks are also an endorsement.

Backlinking tells search algorithms that you are respected and recommended. They tell search engines that you are relevant and an authority in your field.

There are four different kinds of backlinks, and they are certainly not all equal:

  1. Do-follow links are your standard links from one website to another and are viewed by search as recommendations. For example, if you run a restaurant and a website lists you as one of the best in your area.
  2. No-follow links are links with a little bit of code added that explicitly tells search that the website does not vouch for the website they’re linking to. Often businesses will do this to avoid spam or bot comments.
  3. Sponsored links are links that are paid for, and search expects businesses with commercial ties to add a bit of code that tells them that the link is a paid advertisement. Businesses who don’t comply can be penalised by search.
  4. Spam links are those links you often see in comments, that have been put there by spammers and bear no relevance to the post they appear beneath. Businesses who publish spam links can also be penalised by search.

Why are backlinks important for marketing your business?

In terms of SEO marketing, backlinks increase your ranking on search engines, allowing you to stand out from your competitors.

Backlinks also increase your visibility, putting you in front of potential customers you may not have reached before, and also building your brand awareness with those you have.

Backlinks can go a long way to establishing you as a thought leader in your field. Say, for example, a well-respected, well followed news website links to you in an article, that respect is then transferred to your business.

Are there disadvantages in building backlinks?

Yep, in fact it’s very easy for a poorly thought-out backlinking strategy to go horribly wrong.

Too much backlinking can tell search engines that it’s spam, and zip, there you go down the search engine results.

Similarly, too many backlinks too quickly send a red flag to the algorithm that you may be engaging in SEO black hat tactics.

Another mistake is to throw all your SEO tactics into the backlinks basket. Ignoring SEO factors such as producing quality content and keywords can undo all the good marketing work your backlinks do.

What makes a good backlink?

A successful backlink is:

1. Relevant

Make sure the page being linked to contains the information the person clicking on it is after. For example, someone reading an article about animal cruelty who clicks on your link would be more interested in reading about your cruelty-free cosmetics, than they would reading about your latest lipstick range for winter.

2. Authoritative

Backlinks from a respected and authoritative website hold more value than those from a fly-by-night influencer.

3. A do-follow link

They fall into the most valuable backlink category.

4. One with natural anchor text

Don’t stuff the hyperlinked text with keywords because this looks spammy to search.

How to build backlinks

So, how do you get other websites to include backlink to yours? Here are a few tips:

  1. Guest blogging. If you have particular expertise, offer to provide a guest article or post. Offer the post free of charge, but ensure that it contains interesting and valuable information. Of course, the exchange means you get to include a link to your website within the article.
  2. Review dead links. Make sure that your backlinks go to pages that are still live. Some may be on old, archived pages, or pages that were created for a special event or purpose. Reviewing backlinked pages and setting permanent redirect rules is a great way to regenerate backlinks.
  3. Content marketing. As with all SEO, natural is best. You can know all the SEO tricks, but nothing will make you rank higher in search than producing regular, relevant, quality content, and sharing it on social media. You can read more about why SEO is crucial for content marketing here.

Speak to the marketing strategy experts

Building backlinks is a very specific area of marketing and on its own will never be as effective as a broader SEO strategy that sits within a strategic marketing plan.

The easiest way to grow backlinks and reap the results of an effective SEO strategy is to call in the experts who understand search the best.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne that can develop an SEO strategy that will help your business grow its brand and achieve real bottom line results.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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