For the web crawlers or spiders that go around scanning the vast metropolis that’s the interweb, backlinks are like its streets. A higher ranking in the SERPs is the reward you get by being street smart (read backlink smart).
Search engines have moved from relying on Keywords to a sophisticated analysis of backlinks in their attempt to tell how web pages tend relate to each other.
All this can be traced back to the late 1990, when search engines began treating backlinks as votes. But to a sad turn of events, democracy still couldn’t hold water even in the supposedly sacred lands of the interweb, as contestants found a way to rig their way to the top of the SERPs through spamming and use of backlink bots.
But search engine couldn’t give up on the effort. They progressively made baby steps by refining their use of backlinks, making complex algorithms for performing nuanced evaluations of sites and other pages based on the information gathered.
Now backlinks are just as important and well-refined as the use of keywords, to a point where we can safely say none holds more weight over the other.
Through backlinks, search engines are not only able to analyse the popularity of websites based on numbers and the popularity of the pages they are linked to, but on other variables and metrics, as well; including trust, credibility, value, and authority. Which is to say a backlink is only as valuable as the value of the site it’s linked.
Backlinks In Layman’s Language
There’s nothing complicated about backlinks.
The best way to look at it is to view your website as a super-highway. With that, backlinks should be the many roads connecting to the super-highway.
So for a web owner to get as massive a traffic as it’s humanly possible, there should be many of those roads leading to your super-highway (website). The more paths a website has, the more likely that it will be attracting more visitors.
It’s for this reason that backlinks are considered an import aspect of every marketing effort you apply. You want as many people as possible to find your website, then why NOT create as many paths (backlinks) as possible all of which will be connecting to your site?
Search engines are created to love this. The more a web crawler sees a link leading to your site, it immediately counts it as a vote. It’ll then index it and rank it accordingly in the Search Engine Result Pages.
But, like paths connecting to a super-highway, NOT all backlinks are the same. There are those that bring visitors, and there are those that are simply put in place to fool search engines. This could have worked the magic some years back, but as it stands, search engines have advanced well enough to tell which is which.
The value of backlinks can be determined by looking at the various things surrounding it. At the top is the value of the site it’s linked to.
A backlink placed on an authoritative site is generally considered valuable. That pretty much explains why everyone is fighting to get their site linked to high authority sitessuch as Forbes and Huffingtonpost.
Second is the niche. If your site and the site it’s linked to has the same type of content, then what you have is a more valuable link. You don’t just get to throw your link carelessly hoping to cash on it. You have to do some due diligence and come up with a list of site that blog on almost the same thing as you before you can go ahead and start targeting them.
Third is anchor text, which is simply the descriptive labeling of the link. That means the keywords on your backlink should match that of its corresponding anchor text to be considered valuable.
How Should Hyperlinks be Placed
Hyperlinks don’t communicate value when they’re randomly plastered on a piece of content. They instead need to be strategically dolled out. No forcing, if the backlink can’t naturally blend with the statement its placed in, then you’re better off doing without.
There’s no restriction as to where you should be placing your link. If anything,you can place them on someone else’s blog through guest blogs, article directories, forums, social directory, or bookmarking sites.
Why are Backlinks Important to Search Engines
As a marketer, backlinks are all about increasing your online traffic. Nothing more. But why are search engines so hang up on them when they could just be fine dealing with keywords?
Simple, but you have to first understand that search engines don’t really care about you or your blog. All they care about is hooking their readers with the best content they can find.
But since search engines are no human, and can’t just tell whether or NOT a piece of article or site is good enough for their reader, they have created algorithms that can look into various signals and be able to tell if a reader is going to love your site or NOT. The more these algorithm view your site as interesting and useful to a reader, the more they’ll be tempted to rank it higher.
Authority sites have already created a name for themselves. Their visitors flock in droves, and the fact that you have your site linked to one, that could be interpreted to mean your content is quality as well.
Every time you make a backlink, search engines are right away alerted that your site is linked to another site. And if the site is positively ranked by Search Engines, your site earns a bonus point that will see to it that your SEO score improves.
This goes on to show that backlinks are just as important as keywords in determining search engine rankings. And, the more the number of backlinks linking your site to other high value sites, the more your site is viewed as more reliable and therefore worthy of a higher ranking.
How to Earn Links Naturally
For someone to link to your site, there must be something really valuable about it. That means the first step to link building involves working on what your site has to offer in terms of content.
That being said, here are five solid tips on how to build your backlinks naturally.
Research on the kind of keywords your target audience uses to come across your kind of content. What exact words do they key into the search bar?
The keywords you get should in turn help you come up with the topics to write about. That’s besides helping you come up with solid solutions to the kind of problems your audience faces.
It’s common knowledge, for someone to link their site to yours, your content must be really useful and quality enough for their kind of audience.
How relevant if your content to their readers? What are they bound to learn from reading it? Is it something unique or something they’re likely to find by simply digging up a few other pages online?
The point is to standout. And if other bloggers get to like what you’re blogging about, then they’ll have no option but to refer their readers to your blog through backlinks.
People won’t find your blog by chance. You have to find a way to get it to them.
SEOjust happens to be part of the many things you should actually be doing. Among them is social media sharing. Take some time and go around sharing your content to whatever group or page you think its followers might also be interested in your type of content.
It’s also important that you create your own social media following. Start by opening a page and inviting as many people as you possibly can into liking it. Keep in mind that there’s no harm in also requesting them to share your content around. You can even reward them with a free ebook or any other freebie of your choice to entice them even more into doing it.
There’s no shortcut for this. If you can’t make online friends, the bulk of which includes other bloggers within the same niche as you, then you’ll have a tough time convincing other bloggers to link up to your site.
Come up with a list of influencers and start targeting them. Also, try coming up with different ways on how to connect with them.
You can start by commenting on their blog posts, subscribing to their newsletter and even befriending them on social media. They’ll eventually start to take notice of you and before you know it, you’d have solidified your friendship to a point that they’ll also be tempted to find out what’s going on with you on the other side of the blogosphere and if they get to like it, they’ll then have no trouble linking their site with some of your content.
Keep in mind that this also sets a positive ground for guest blogs.
Link Building Strategies
These are tested strategies that we can confidently say are still effective as of now. So don’t expect any tired link build strategy such as backlink spamming and social bookmarking to make to the list.
If a strategy doesn’t work, then you won’t be seeing it anywhere on the lists we make. We take pride it trying out some of these strategies before dishing them out to our readers. For a site that’s trying to also establish itself authoritatively, it’s out wish and plan that every blogger going through our site will also be interested enough to give us a backlink.
Now, without further ado, let’s get down to the list:
A link bait is basically an interesting piece of content — don’t dig much into the fancy term.
The content you make must be good enough to attract backlinks on its own. This can be due to uniqueness or the degree of usefulness.
In content marketing, links are earned. You’ll still be promoting your content, but will your content be good enough to get other bloggers interested enough to reward you with backlinks?
The value of your content could stem from the depth of the research you did while writing it, its overall uniqueness (what makes it standout from an endless list of other related articles filling up the internet), and lastly, the wow factor in it. Your content might be good, but link baits are all about brilliance. You push it past the good limit to the genius side.
Links baits get a lot of shares. People can’t just get enough of it, and wouldn’t stop until they let the whole world know about a great discovery they just made.
Ego baiting is simply about getting someone to return a favor.
Influencers sometimes come off a bit ego-centric, which makes them somewhat unapproachable.
This may actually turn out to be false, and that’s because, as humans, we have a tendency of putting the people we look up to on a pedestal. But in reality influencers are just marketers. They’re therefore bound to react positively with every mention or quote you make.
Find a way to appeal to their ego. Talk of how great their strategies are and how much you’ve benefited from applying them on your own blog, and before you know it, they’ll be the ones plastering your links to some of the blog posts they make.
Guest blogging introduces you to a whole new audience, besides supplying you with a high value backlink that will be helping you climb up the ranking ladder.
Read this bearing in mind that low effort guest blogs stopped doing the trick long time ago. If you’re NOT willing to go an extra mile and come up with a well researched and detailed piece of article for guest blogging, then don’t expect search engines to reward you much for that.
Spend some time in the search engines, searching for all sorts of content under varied keyword terms. Now look for a set of keywords whose resulting searches isn’t either updated or good enough for it. You can thereafter go ahead and write an even better article for that keyword and get ranked atop for it.
The content must be super awesome that other bloggers will have no second thoughts sharing it around.
The point is to improve on the already existing content.
What follows is for you to look up for the sites linking up to the sub-par content and reach out to them with reasons detailing why they should instead replace those links with what you have.
You have to be super-sensitive while at it, so as NOT to brush other bloggers the wrong way.
You can even place yourself in the place of a reader and point out a few discrepancies in the articles, then offers your link as a revised version of the same. If your content stands out as you say, the blogger should have no trouble replacing the links with what you’re presenting.
It’s a Wrap
Who could have thought of link building as being this complex and that much of an overwhelming task to even think of it. Most people will give up upon reading this. You shouldn’t because the fruits will be totally worth every single drop of effort you pump in. If you ever find yourself stuck or happen to need third party help on how best to get this done, consider reaching out for an agency like MediaOne. They should be able to help by pointing out the best way forward.