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What is a Backlink?
There are parts of SEO that are more difficult to grasp than others. Backlinks are one of those topics that those new to SEO might have trouble with. A backlink is a link to your website from another website. While this was initially important to navigation, the importance now lies with Search Engine Optimization. The more backlinks a website has, the more important it appears to search engine robots.
Can I Buy Backlinks?
Buying lots of backlinks, even though it was never a good idea to begin with, is no longer a good ingredient in the SEO recipe for raising your score. We’ve all seen the ads on the internet, “Buy 3000 backlinks for $10.” Keep that $10 in your pocket and invest instead in relationships with credible businesses in your niche. Buying backlinks can earn you penalties in the search engine results pages. Instead, build backlinks to sites that you would want to affiliate with as if there were no search engine result pages.
Where to get the Best Backlinks
The best backlinks are those with credible sites, businesses and non-profits that have been on the internet for 10-20 years. To achieve these high-quality links, one will have to build relationships using good, old-fashioned marketing. Here are some places you might look for backlinks:
- Forums and blog comments – Start with friends who own a business and have a website or friends with websites or blogs. Add comments to articles and features you are interested in with a well thought out response to something particularly interesting.
- Directory links – There are a million (or so it seems) directories online. A good start to find directories to use is Directory Maximizer, which will assist in discovering directories that are SEO friendly, as well as helpful tips about submitting to directories. Having a site listed in a directory is also a backlink. Although, this type of link is meaningful, it doesn’t help to establish the website owner as an authority in their field.
- Guest postings – A content-rich guest post or blog on a related site is an excellent beginning.
- .edu, .org and .gov sites – Start with your university or municipality, surely you know someone in the faculty or the city clerk’s office. If not, find blogs at the university or municipality close to you and comment on blog contents with a link to your site, so that followers in that forum can visit your site and leave comments on your content. Do not spam a lot of .edu sites; quite the opposite, it should be a focused attempt to build a following. Rich, interesting content in any forum will attract interest and that’s what is needed.
- Articles, announcements and press releases – These cannot be used every day like forums can, but they can be meaningful.
Strategies for New Website Owners
- Always use the same profile picture for all social media, so that people will recognize you. This will help to build their trust.
- Interacting in the comment sections will keep readers on the site longer. So if a reader makes a good point, say so, engaging them in polite conversation will lead to repeated traffic, increase shares on social media, and therefore more backlinks.
- Always use good grammar and spelling. These lend another level of credibility to content; a site like Grammarly.com helps checks for plagiarism as well, which will help avoid duplicate content.
- Do not attack or demean anyone regarding their comments no matter how rude they are, as that would be counter-productive. Instead, encourage dialogue.
- Never use a service that offers to build backlinks for a monthly fee or link swapping services. These are a violation of Google’s policy and could result in problems. Just don’t do it.
Make sure the backlinks accepted are quality links. That’s why buying thousands of backlinks is so dangerous to your credibility, unless you have the time to sift through all those links to discover whether or not they are credible and relevant to your site’s vision and mission; it’s like a shot gun blast rather than a focused attempt to gain trust and respect. You can’t buy respect and buying links permits integrity questions.
Think of backlinks as an endorsement; the more trusted and respectable the person giving the recommendation the better, right? It’s the same with backlinks – only website crawling bots don’t know the difference between Bill Gates and John Doe. However, they can search for relevant business backlinks. Think quality, not quantity. Yes, you do want a lot of backlinks, but choose quality first and build better backlinks consistently. A sudden surge of backlinks raises the questions. This could get your IP blacklisted or blocked and you don’t want that. At the very least it will lead to penalties on search engine results pages (SERP).
Additionally, the Content Management System WordPress has an almost automatic pingback system; some configuration is required to find backlinks and almost automatic means those backlinks will still have to be approved, which is a good thing. One plugin on WordPress that works well for gaining backlinks and guest posting opportunities, as well as other SEO tracking tools, is Off Page SEO.
Building credible links takes time. There is no magic formula for creating strong, credible backlinks quickly. If this still sounds confusing, or if you don’t have the time to build backlinks properly, consider CourseVector’s Organic SEO Service which includes backlink building stragetgies.