Backlinks: What they are and are they important?
A question often asked when discussing search engine optimization and increasing web traffic is about the term backlinks or backlinking. Many people either don’t know what a backlink is or they have an idea but don’t understand the significance of backlinks and their impact on your websites rankings. So let’s have a quick look at what a backlink is.
What is a backlink?
A backlink is a link from any website on the internet, other than yours, that links to your website. If your website is ABC.com, a backlink would be a link on another website, say XYZ.com that links to a page on your website ABC.com. Is that simple enough? OK, great, but the topic does go a bit deeper.
Search engines, including Google look at your backlink profile to determine your websites popularity. Backlinks are kind of like a Google Popularity Contest. And the more external websites that link to your site, the more popular your site looks. And the more popular your site looks, the more Google and other search engines will like your site. This search engine love will send new traffic to your site and make you visitor rich! Well, it’s not that simple. Though it used to be!
The effect of bad backlinking
Once people learned that search engines were using backlinks as one factor in determining website relevance and popularity, people started to abuse the backlink factor. Services were popping up left and right. Offers such as “Buy 1000 backlinks for just $50,” were littering the web. People started to pay for backlinks from irrelevant websites, just to boost their Google Popularity. And for a while, this worked!
Have you ever heard the saying”If you want to know who you are, look at your friends?” This saying rings very true when discussing your backlinks. Google knows which sites offer very low quality to internet users, such as the “pay for links” type of sites. These websites are usually on Googles radar for being “less worthy” websites that don’t give any value other than a link out. And if you have a bunch of links from a bunch of these spammy link sites, then you too are guilty by association! These spammy websites generally will have a low Google page Rank, and their links to you may not help your site and can even do seo damage to your site!
Are backlinks still important?
Absolutely! It is still important to get backlinks, but be sure to get GOOD backlinks. Backlinks from bad websites can make your website rankings hurt. If your backlink profile is full of spammy backlinks from unsavory websites, you too become spammy and unsavory. But if your backlink profile is full of links from relevant websites that rank well, and popular social media sites and even credible directories, you’ll do well!
Many companies still offer backlinks in exchange for cash. And there are even those who can do a good job of getting you backlinks for little cash. But you have to know how to watch what backlinks are being made, and monitor if they are helping or hurting. Even the timing of the backlinks can look suspicious to Google. If you had zero backlinks in January, but 2000 in March, a red flag is going to go up on Googles sensors!
Are you curious about your current backlink status? Or your competitions backlink status? Let All Things Digital do a website SEO review and “Backlinks” will be a component of that review. We can help to determine how many backlinks you have, how many are good and how many are bad. Backlinks are an important part of a quality long term SEO strategy. Let us help you to understand backlinks even more!