Did you know that 55.24% of all web pages don’t have backlinks? It’s unfortunate, but you don’t want a single page of your website to be one of them.
Because that means you won’t be getting the benefits of backlinks for your marketing efforts. Backlinks were once the backbone of SEO, but we know that’s not true anymore.
Still, it’s one of the most important parts of digital marketing. Keep on reading to know how backlinks affect your SEO.
1. What Are Backlinks?
First, let’s see what backlinks are to understand how they affect your marketing efforts.
Backlinks are links on another website that go to yours. They’re important today, but they were the most important part of SEO in the early days. Back then, Google’s algorithm relied on a website’s backlinks alone.
The more the backlinks a website has, the better it looks to Google.
However, it’s easy to exploit, so there is now a multitude of other factors affecting your page rank. Backlinks have taken a backseat, but that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant now.
You should know of the two types of backlinks, though, explored below.
You can consider backlinks as some sort of a vote of confidence from the linking domain. When they link back to you, that means they trust you.
By default, all backlinks are dofollow links. That means Google counts the links as votes to your site, which will then affect your ranking.
You can turn backlinks into nofollow links by adding a bit of code. This tells Google not to count the vote or follow the link to the source.
This is useful for the comment section of a blog, for instance, wherein users can put links to their websites. It’s hard to regulate the comments, so the website would use the nofollow attribute to all links in this section.
2. How Backlinks Can Affect Your SEO
With that out of the way, let’s see what kinds of effects backlinks have on your SEO efforts. They’re one of the major factors that affect your ranking, after all. It all starts with the authority that backlink brings to the table:
Have you ever heard of link juice? It’s the value or equity that seeps into your site from other websites through links. The higher the quality of the website, the more value it passes onto your page.
This will add to your domain authority. Google sees you as an equal or near the level of the website with your backlink. This is also why you must choose which websites you want to link back to your site
Of course, this will only work if the backlink has a dofollow attribute. Otherwise, the search engine will still not count it toward your search ranking.
Backlinking can also do wonders for your reputation. We’ve mentioned that it’s a vote of confidence from other sites. If those sites have a high authority and trust rating, then you’ll also be reputable by association.
This isn’t only for the bots; it’s for the audience, as well. Even if they haven’t heard about your brand before, having your link in a reputable site will immediately make you trustworthy in their eyes. After all, their trusted website won’t put your link if it doesn’t trust you, right?
Backlinks can damage your reputation, as well. Some websites will grab every opportunity to have a backlink. They do so without assessing whether it’s from a relevant or authoritative website or not.
Let’s say you’re in the fashion industry, and you have backlinks coming from medical and food blogs. That doesn’t make sense, and so your reputation will plummet because it doesn’t appear that you’re a trusted brand.
Google likes websites that users also like, so having a good reputation and high domain authority means you’re alright in the eyes of the search engine. These are all good signals that can increase your page rank.
Having many websites linking back to you means you have content that’s worth linking to. For Google, it’s content that its users will find value in, so it’s worth putting in the SERP, as well.
Of course, other factors can affect your rankings. The anchor text of the backlink, authority of the linking domains, number of linking pages, linking domain age, and such all count toward your page ranking.
Google indexes websites through web crawlers. Crawlers discover pages and then index them, which puts the page on the map, so to speak. If undiscovered, the web page won’t be able to rank for keywords.
There are many ways you can get Google to index your web pages, and one of them is through backlinks. When its bots crawl the websites linking back to you, they’ll follow that link, discovering the web page.
It can take a while before Google discovers your new pages on its own. Without backlinks, no roads are leading to it. It’s an unmarked area on the map; so it will take some time before someone stumbles upon it.
It also depends on how much Google prioritizes your website.
Having backlinks allows you to jump to the front of the queue. It’s faster than relying on the traditional methods of indexing. This way, you don’t have to wait around for the crawlers.
You put the links in an easy-to-spot place, like high-authority websites. Google crawls such websites daily, giving you a higher chance of getting discovered. Once the crawlers discover that road, you’ll get indexed pretty much right away.
Those roads we speak aren’t only useful for leading bots to your page. They can lead other users to your website, too. Traffic made through backlinks is referral traffic.
The higher the domain authority of the website, the bigger the audience they have. More people will see your link and potentially follow it, driving traffic to your site.
This is why you must get authority backlinks from relevant sites. Users are more likely to follow it if it’s relevant to the topic they’re interested in.
You then have a chance of turning these users into leads and customers. That’s a whole different matter, but at least you now have the chance.
Referral traffic also counts when Google is determining your page rank. The high number of visitors coming through backlinks is also a signal to the search engine that your content is valuable. It must be trustworthy if a lot of people are following the backlinks.
3. Quality vs Quantity
A good number of people are debating over quality vs quantity. Should you focus on earning quality backlinks or should you aim to get as many as possible?
For many people, you should focus on quality rather than quantity. Focusing on the latter will lead you to link farms, which are websites that host a large number of links for the specific purpose of creating backlinks. These would get you penalized by Google.
A quality backlink comes from an authoritative website. Since a backlink is a vote of confidence, then Google will see a vote from a high domain authority website as higher in quality.
Users trust authoritative websites more, too. This means they’re more likely to follow the link.
High-quality backlinks can then help build your domain authority and reputation. It can have an indirect effect on your rankings, as well.
The caveat is that quality backlinks are much harder to acquire. The website will have to trust you and your content, too. Think of how much you’re going to have to convince an author on Forbes to link back to your website.
You’ll have far fewer quality backlinks; does this mean you have to focus on quantity instead?
There’s no doubt that more than a handful of backlinks from low to medium authority sites are still useful for SEO. It still increases the number of domains that link back to your site and the overall number of backlinks. Both things are good in the eyes of Google.
However, the problem arises when you accept backlinks from link farms. The backlinks you get from such will hurt your SEO and rankings, so you have to be careful.
In summary, high-quality links are far more valuable. Still, there’s value in lower quality links.
You might consider a link building strategy that features both. Make sure you stay away from spammy websites, though.
4. How to Get High-Quality Backlinks
Now, you must be asking how you can get high-quality backlinks? Like we said above, it’s a lot of work to get one, but we’re not saying it’s impossible. Follow our tips below to improve your backlink portfolio.
Backlinking starts with high-quality content. Websites won’t want to backlink to a page that’s invaluable to them or their readers. You must have something to offer before you even begin your backlink strategy.
You can create content as a part of your content marketing strategy or you can create it to get backlinks.
Having original content will put you out there. It could be an opinion piece, a guide (like this one), or an insight into a relevant topic. It should be something that won’t appear anywhere else, so websites will have to link back to the content when they reference it.
Blog posts about a research study of your own are one of the best ways to get a ton of backlinks. Other posts will use it as a source, thereby increasing your backlinks.
The key is that the content should be both original and valuable. You can then pitch it to webmasters, highlighting the fact that they can’t get those data in other places.
You can also let nature take its course; other authors will eventually find your post, anyway. You can then enjoy backlinks without having any more effort on your part.
Compilation of Information
You can also create a post that compiles information from all over the internet. Figure out what your target audience wants to know about, and then compile data from different sources into one place. This will make it easier for the audience to know more about a certain subject.
Yes, it’s not original; still, it’s helpful and valuable. It offers value in that your audience won’t have to look anywhere else to get all the information and data they need.
Also, it’s original in a way that you’re not copying other’s posts. You’re not republishing a post or plagiarizing in any way. You’re only compiling relevant information to make them more accessible and user-friendly.
Other sites will then prefer to link back to your content instead of having a bunch of links to all the other resources.
Another way you can get backlinks is to make the post yourself to link back to your site. You create content, but instead of publishing it on your site, you publish it on another website. You’ll then link back to your website, earning you a backlink.
It’s a win-win for both sides because the website hosting your post will get free content for their audience. The backlink is the win for you.
However, those with high domain authority also have high standards. Your piece has to be good enough for the website; it must be relevant, as well.
In most cases, they must approve of the blog post first before they publish it.
It remains one of the best ways to gain a backlink, although it’s prone to abuse. That’s why Google issued a warning about mass-produced guest posts a while ago.
You’ll have to make guest posts that you would post on your site. It must be of high quality, well-researched, and well-written. Without these qualities, no reputable website would want to post it.
Improve Your Backlink Strategy Now
There are still many ways to get backlinks, but we’ll talk about that some other time. It can be a complicated process. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be building quality backlinks that provide value for your website in no time.
If you want to know more about what we can do for you, contact us now for a free consultation.