If you have heard the term backlinks before, it is probably in relation to SEO. In fact, most SEO professionals believe that backlinks are one of the most important factors to consider when trying to improve the ranking of your website on Google.
What are backlinks, though, and how do you get them?
The term backlink is used to refer to a situation where a third-party website links to another website. We just did it in the previous sentence. The phrase “term backlink” is linked to the backlink entry on Wikipedia. Therefore, we just gave Wikipedia a backlink.
Another term you might hear in relation to backlinks is anchor text. This is the word or phrase that makes up the link. In the above example, the anchor text was the phrase “term backlink”.
How Does Google Use Backlinks?
The Google search platform is based on a computer algorithm. Of course, that algorithm is big, very advanced, incredibly complex, and, as far as computer programmes go, intelligent.
It is still just a computer programme, though.
So, how can the Google algorithm determine the ranking of two web pages on the same topic? In real life, there are usually hundreds or thousands of web pages on any particular topic that Google has to rank, but for the purposes of this explanation, we’ll limit the example to two.
Google uses what’s called ranking factors to determine which of the two pages is better than the other. As it is a computer algorithm, these ranking factors are objective, i.e. page A has ranking factor 1 which is good, but lacks ranking factor 2, which is bad.
Okay, that is a bit over-simplistic, but you get the idea.
The fact that ranking factors are objective is important, however. After all, if a person was making the same decision, they would use subjective and objective reasoning.
One way that Google gets around this shortcoming (that it can’t use subjective reasoning) is to tap into the subjective reasoning of humans. It does this using backlinks.
So, backlinks are a ranking factor that helps Google decide which of the two pages in this example is better than the other.
For example, page A might have more backlinks than page B. From Google’s point of view, this means more people have used their objective and subjective reasoning in favour of page A than B, therefore it should rank higher.
Not All Backlinks Are the Same
Before going any further, it is important to also understand that not all backlinks are the same. Here are the main examples:
The above section highlights some of the dangers when trying to increase the number of backlinks to your website to improve your ranking in Google. After all, on the surface, there is a simple solution – Google likes backlinks so get as many of them as possible from wherever you can.
Lots of people have come before you with that thought, though, with many of them using dishonest practices to obtain backlinks. Over the years, Google has responded to this by implementing updates to its algorithm which help it separate good and honest backlinks from those that are trying to trick the algorithm.
So, here are a few things you should avoid when getting backlinks to your website:
If you can’t do these things, what can you do to get backlinks to your website? There are lots of strategies and methods you can use that are all above board. However, they all centre around one essential and indispensable point… a point which is our number one tip for getting backlinks.
Number 1 Tip for Getting Backlinks
Create content that is valuable to your readers and that they love reading.
People will give you backlinks without you even asking them if you create fantastic content on your website. This could be infographics, blogs, articles, reports, white papers, discussion documents, help guides, or anything else that will be helpful, informative, or entertaining for your audience.
The more of this type of content you create, the more good-quality and useful backlinks you will get.