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19th August 2020

What Are Backlinks? – All You Need To Know

Traffic is one of the most coveted resources on the web. Generally, the more traffic to your website and other digital assets, the more exposure for your brand and, possibly, sales of your products and services. While you can opt for paid traffic, organic traffic is gold. Paid traffic usually doesn’t last much longer than your campaign, but organic traffic keeps coming in even when you’re doing nothing. To get organic traffic, you have to get your SEO – on-page and off-page SEO – right. And at the heart of off-page SEO is creating backlinks.

Understanding that backlinks play an important place in your organic traffic campaign, it is essential to explore what they are and the link building process (and how to create them). You need the knowledge for your SEO campaigns. And even if you choose to get an SEO agency to provide the link building service you’ll need, you should at least know what they’ll be doing, how it fits into your traffic generation campaign, and how it affects your site’s ranking.

What Are Backlinks?

In simple terms, backlinks are links created on one website or webpage linking back to another website or webpage. In other words, when you create a link on another website that links back to your website, you have created a backlink. They are also called incoming links or inbound links.

Importance Of Backlinks

We already stated that SEO is important for generating organic traffic and that at the heart of off-page SEO are backlinks. But one of the reasons they are vital is that they pass link equity when done right. Link equity, in effect, is value passed from a higher-authority domain to your webpage or site through a backlink to your website, giving your webpage a higher value in the eyes of the search engines.

Here’s how it works: when a link is created on a website with a high DA (Domain Authority) and links back to you, the search engines view it as though the website with a higher authority is passing a vote of confidence on the linked site. The result is that they rank the linked site or webpage high, because some of the value of the higher-DA site is passed to the linked site, assuming all the other conditions are met. The more backlinks to your website, the better and higher your website ranks in the search engine result pages.

The Backlink Building Process

The process of building backlinks can be hectic and time-consuming, so you should leave it to a link building agency to handle while you focus on other vital tasks. In general, the process can be broken down into two main phases: research and link building.

The Research Phase: The activities in this phase are twofold. The first task is to research the backlink profile of your competitors who are ranking well for your target keyword. If you haven’t done your keyword research, that’s where you will need to start from.

The reason for researching the collection of webpages and websites linking to your competitors’ site is to get an insight into the kind of link building that is helping them, and an idea of what you have to do.

Your second task is to research websites or webpages with high DA that qualify to pass link equity to your website. Yes, not all websites will pass value to yours. Even those that do will not all pass equal value. Some of the criteria that the search engines use include the relevance of the link, the trustworthiness and authority of the linking site, whether or not the link is followed or nofollow, and more.

Backlinks from pages with high authority and trust will pass more value through the backlink to your website than others with low authority and trust levels. Also, followed links will do more for your ranking than nofollow links. That doesn’t mean you should discard nofollow links. The mere fact that your brand was mentioned on high DA sites will do a lot for your brand.

The Link Building Phase: The activities in this phase include everything you do to post a link back to your webpages or site on the websites and webpages you have researched. It includes activities like posting on social media, guest blogging yourself or using a guest post service, linked brand mentions, influencer marketing and many more.

The important thing in this phase is that, whatever you do, you create a link back to your page. While inbound links from as many sites as possible may help, you have to be strategic about your backlinking. Whatever you do here will impact your site’s visibility, ranking, and traffic generation capabilities for good or for bad. It will determine whether your site appears high in the search engine results pages or further down.

The place of content relevancy cannot be overemphasised. It is crucial to ensure that the links are relevant to the content they link to. If the work involved in searching for high DA pages with relevant content is too tedious (which it often is), you can contact a blogger outreach agency to do the search and connect you with influencers or owners of relevant websites with high authority.

Besides ensuring that you are creating the incoming links on webpages with high authority, whose content is relevant to the page being linked to on your website, and the other factors already discussed, you need to ensure that your on-page SEO is also intact.

For example, you need to ensure that the content on your page is of a high quality. If you create thousands of backlinks to a poorly written article, while that article may rank higher initially, it will get demoted eventually. This is not necessarily because your competitors have implemented a better SEO strategy or created more backlinks, but because search engines also check other factors like bounce rate and time spent on your page.

If they notice that people are leaving your webpage almost immediately they land on it, it is a signal to the search engines that something is fundamentally wrong and that the page is not as valuable as ‘advertised.’

This will only hurt you more. So ensure your entire SEO strategy is solid. To do this, if you’re not a professional or don’t have the amount of time it will take, you can contact an SEO agency or expert to help.

In conclusion, backlinks are links on other websites linking back to yours. They are a fundamental part of off-page SEO which is critical to your website’s organic traffic generation campaign.

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