If you have been doing your research on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), you know the importance of backlinks to your marketing strategy. Securing high-quality backlinks increases domain authority which in turn boosts your SEO rankings – a digital marketing manager’s dream!

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks is the term for a link to your website that comes from another website. Simple right! Backlinking or “link acquisition” is the term used for obtaining these links, sometimes they occur naturally without you realising, and sometimes time and research needs to be spent to manually obtain these links.

Why Are Backlinks So Important?

Backlinks ensure you have a chance to rise above your competitors in search engine results pages (SERPs) as these links can influence the domain authority (search engine ranking score) of your site (along with other aspects of search engine optimisation).

When a search engine crawls your website, it will determine the overall relevancy of your web address, including pages, content, images and the number and quality of backlinks going back to your website.

Backlinks can come from directories, blog posts, social media and content from other websites.

Links are the Biggest Ranking Factor in Google’s Algorithm

The Google algorithm is closely guarded (Google has a suspected 200 ranking factors), although it has been extensively tested and it is generally accepted within the industry that increasing backlinks are one of the most important factors to ranking.

Backlinks are the most effective resource for improving a site’s ratings and acquiring high-quality backlinks is an essential part of any search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, as the number one goal is to be at the top of the SERPs!

Are Backlinks Spammy?

A few years ago, link building was as easy as paying someone a few bucks to get hundreds of links to your website within a few hours. Agencies used to be able to get away with buying these spammy links and these techniques began to be known as “black hat SEO”.

Google realised what was happening and put a stop to this with their updates, causing many websites to be hit with a Google penalty. The penalties were so severe that many websites took years to recover, and some had to completely start from scratch. This resulted in backlinking obtaining a negative connotation and many companies shied away from this practice altogether. However, if done correctly, it can be highly beneficial to your search presence.

The Importance of Quality Backlinks

A high-quality backlink is already well trusted by the search engine crawler and users who visit the high domain authority website (ideally from a relevant website in your industry) that the link came from. The more trustworthy the website, the better quality the link! However, these links are hard to come by and therefore may take a lot of time to acquire, but they are definitely worth it. Think government websites, authority news websites, leading industry websites and educational websites like universities.

The Importance of LOTS of Backlinks

Now let’s be clear here, we’re still not talking about spammy links when we talk about going for quantity – we still want quality backlinks, but going for quantity just may not be trying to get those super high domain authoritative ones (for example getting a .gov or .edu website to link to your website) but getting those middle ground links to move you through the ranks faster than spending a lot of time on one high quality link. Taking a tiered approach to quantity AND quality can mean you get good links now, and amazing links down the track as you chip away at those high authority sites.

Backlink Quality vs Quantity

So, the key is to play the middle ground – go for a mix of high quality and medium quality links and you will see a steady rise in your domain authority and rankings. Those search engine crawlers are extremely savvy. Have a steady link building strategy in place and over time you will see fantastic SEO results.

Quick Backlink Tips

  • DON’T search “buy links” and then… you know… buy links. Just don’t do it! Many of these offers are guaranteed to come with black hat backlinking strategies which can result in severe penalties to your site and search appearance if Google finds out (and they will). If you need to engage an external company for link building then go to a trusted digital marketing agency with positive testimonials and solid case studies. If you want trustworthy links, you need to pick someone trustworthy to build them! (View Living Online’s case studies here)
  • Avoid anchor text overuse to avoid looking like spam (make the link look natural).
  • Don’t point all your links to the homepage. Your strategy should include a range of links to your homepage, to product and category pages and to landing pages that contain target keywords.
  • Choose a mix of dofollow and nofollow backlinks (a dofollow link means the “link juice” of one website is passed through to another one. A nofollow link means that it’s not and Google bots are encouraged not to “follow” that link away from one website to another one – there is a whole science around this). A good agency will ensure you get a decent mix of both.

A Quick Guide of Where to Get Quality Backlinks

  • Build valuable content within your website, and lots of it! You should ensure that you have content that is worth linking to. The webpage you are linking to should be valuable, interesting and entertaining. It should include content that readers would find useful and likely to share.
  • Create shareable infographics that are likely to shared.
  • Use social media to find relevant conversations about your topic.
  • Do competitor analysis using premium search tools to identify what backlinks your competitors are using that you’re missing out on.
  • Become a guest blogger on a relevant authoritative website.
  • Build relationships with influencers in your industry. Mention them in your content, and they may mention you in theirs. This is also great for building reviews and mentions.
  • Just simply ask for links! From your suppliers, customers (especially if you are a B2B company), and even industry websites.

Link building is a time-consuming and long-term digital marketing strategy that requires consistency, however it is necessary if you want to be visible in search engines.

Don’t be fooled by those companies that promise you will rank #1 in Google… this is a sure sign that they will be finding you lots of spammy backlinks. This may work well and indeed get you in position 1 of Google… but when you get penalised in a few weeks, it can take years to recover and get your website ranking again. Slow and steady is definitely the motto here – find somebody that takes the time to do it right the first time.

Help With Your Content Production and Search Engine Optimisation

If you need help with your search engine optimisation strategy, including link building and content production, contact the Digital Marketing Consultants at Living Online. Our team based in Perth have extensive experience helping clients across many industries to improve their backlink profile and domain authority. Transform your SEO strategy and contact us today!

PS: Don’t forget- your links should be coming from three streams:

  • High authority websites
  • Highly relevant websites
  • Diverse range of websites