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How to Build Backlinks – A Beginners Guide

Sam Hollis is a web designer, dad and serial networker

‘I’m always happy to chat and advice is always free’

Building backlinks can increase the number of people coming to your website drastically. For a start, they provide more ways for people to get to your site from more places. More effective than that though can be the boost they provide to your search traffic because google uses backlinks to decide where your site appears in search listings.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks do what they say on the tin. They are links back to your website from another. They’re a bit like references or citations in books. In fact, they’re often called citations, as well as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks and inward links.

They can include links from partner websites, listing sites like Yell, user-edited wikis, social media accounts and many more places. For example, a link to your business site on your LinkedIn profile is a backlink.

What do backlinks do?

The most obvious function of backlinks – to link sites to other relevant sites and take people from one to another – is not necessarily the most useful to you.

You see, Google uses backlinks to check out the importance of a website. The more third-party websites link back to your site the more important and useful Google assumes it is to web users in general. For that reason, sites with lots of backlinks place higher in Google and get more search visitors. Of course, there are many more considerations involved in this judgement, but backlinks are a big one.

Imagine that the web is one huge social group, and each site was a person. If you find a lot of people all connected to one person, you might assume they are important, popular and worth talking to. If you find someone isn’t well connected, you might assume they are less important and popular.

As in some social groups, links from popular, authoritative websites count more than links from unpopular sites with few links or visits (In this metaphor, Google comes off quite shallow).

Because this is the case, websites with more backlinks, and good backlinks are easier for users to find on Google and other search engines, which makes building backlinks a great way to get your site found more.

Digging in deeper

Backlinks are a matter of quality as well as quantity. Links from websites that are seen as authoritative and popular with many of their own backlinks are worth more than links from unreliable sites with many links out and few links in.

Google also considers the topic and sphere of websites that link to yours when deciding where to position you in its search results. For example, if you sell furniture and carpets, you want to appear high up the listings when people search for these two terms. To do that, you want a lot of sites about furniture and beds to link to your site. Each of these backlinks will push you up the search results far more than a link from a generic listing site.

Why build backlinks?

By now, it’s probably obvious that backlinks provide a great way to get found on Google while bringing more people to your site naturally from others.

For many big sites like Wikipedia and Facebook, backlinks come naturally from fans and sharers. But every site owner not backed by a multi-national super corporation has to build the links up themselves. They are a reasonably reliable way to increase your visitor numbers and building them can provide a good return on time investment if you do it right.

 

How to build backlinks right

Start by building internal links

Before going out looking for backlinks, ensure that your own blog and site is well linked. Go back and review. Add a link:

  • Wherever one of your blogs touches on another blog’s subject.
  • Wherever a blog talks about something written on your main site’s pages.
  • Wherever someone browsing your main site might find more info useful.
  • At the end of every blog – linking to similar blogs or related offering pages readers might like.

Make your site valuable: Educate and entertain

The whole reason why Google have had the best IT minds dedicate thousands of hours to analysing backlinks in just the right way is that they want to provide valuable, useful results to their users (and make tons of money in the process). So, the most natural way to get backlinks is to have useful, valuable pages on your site. Make it relevant and make it shareable. That way, people will just naturally want to link to your content.

This is definitely not the easiest way to build backlinks, but there are many other benefits including retaining users, increasing customer conversions and building your authority.

Blogging is by far and away the easiest way to do this. If you do want to start a blog, we can help you set one up.

Post on social media

Links from posts on social media count as backlinks and work toward your site’s Google rating. That includes your posts. It almost feels like cheating because it’s such an easy and natural thing to do.

In fact, the natural popularity and inter-linked structure of social sites makes them highly authoritative sites in Google’s eyes. What’s more, because you’re placing links next to naturally relevant posts about you and your business, the links given are considered relevant and high-quality too.

Google isn’t stupid where social media is concerned though. There are special rules to prevent misuse. Posting hundreds of links to your own site every day won’t give you a continuous boost. You need your posts to get shared to really move up in the rankings. To ensure this happens, make your content valuable as above and get staff, family, friends and connections to share it.

Website partnerships

Get in touch with friends, business allies, clients and suppliers and each agree to link to the other’s site. You can write a blog on them, exchange testimonials and provide a link there, send out a thank you, or just acknowledge them in the footer of your site as partners.

I’ll share with you an excellent, slightly secret way to take this a step further courtesy of my content creator:

Top 10 lists

Write a blog discussing the best businesses in a field related to, but not in competition with, yours. For example, if you sell sofas, you could write about the top 10 textile makers or side table producers.

Then post it, link to all of the sites and contact the owners saying you have awarded them a spot in your top 10. They will naturally want to boast about it by linking to your article on social media and their sites, possibly over and over again. This is why Impact Plus state that Top 10s are among the most powerful blogs you can write.

This also works with best-in-class blogs and awards-style articles.

Guest Blogging

Offer to write guest blogs on popular websites in your field and link back to relevant information on your site, as well as signing off with a link at the end. You can also invite someone to write a guest blog for your site. Always exchange links, with the guest linking to the blog and the host linking to the guest’s homepage. Then share, share, share and encourage the other person to do the same. As well as creating backlinks, you’ll also be reaching new audiences and promoting yourself to new prospects.

Business listings

There are hundreds of business listings sites on the internet, from local ones to the likes of Yell.com. Some will have the added benefit of getting you calls and emails, which is great, while some exist just for backlinks.

These listings offer the easiest way to build backlinks without putting your hand in your pocket. Again, for best effect, go for big ones and niche industry listings that are highly relevant to your business.

Hire experts

I said business listings were the easiest ways to build backlinks without handing out cash. Well, search engine optimisation experts and backlink builders are the even easier way that does involve digging into your pockets. It’s only worthwhile in certain situations though and it’s probably worth talking to an expert before investing. As someone with expertise in this area, but no specific offering. I’d be happy to give you a bit of unbiased advice. Just get in touch.

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