Our team at SEO Maestros are often asked by clients firstly what are backlinks and why are they so important in determining the ranking of your website? We have therefore put this article together to clearly explain why quality backlinks are important for SEO positioning. These days, if you really want your website to shine and ranked high on Google, you need to build good quality backlinks. If you are familiar with the word Search Engine Optimization, then you most likely have come across the word backlinks before. If you are new to SEO, then you may be wondering what a backlink is, and why it is important for search engine optimization.
Our team at SEO Maestros have put this article together to try explaining what a back link is and why it is important for the optimizing of your site to gain higher search rankings.
Firstly, what are backlinks? A backlink is a link that directed to your site from another site on the web. These links are also known as inbound links. The number of backlinks to your website is an indicator to the search engine’s algorithm that your site is of importance.
If you have these inbound links from established, high quality websites with a high Google PageRank, the more merit your backlink will hold. Google will credit your website more if you have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider your website more relevant than others in their search results pages.
A WORD OF WARNING! You do not just want a large quantity of links from any old site, in fact that can actually hurt your rankings more to have a large amount of backlinks from low quality sites.
To break it down a little further, when the search engines calculate the relevance of a website for any given keyword, they consider the number of quality inbound links to that site. A search engine will take into consideration the content of the inbound link’s site to determine the quality of the back link.
In short, if the inbound links have related content to your site, it is more relevant. Just the opposite for sites that are linked to yours with non-relevant content… the higher relevance of the inbound link, the greater their quality.
For example, if you have a site about selling real estate, and you have a backlink from a site that has content about steps to take to qualify for a bond, then this site is much more relevant than the site that covers Toys for Toddlers for example.
Search engines have wanted to level the playing field for all the sites out there, so they look for natural link building over time. There are many ways to manipulate websites to achieve higher rankings, but it is much more difficult to influence search engines with external backlinks from other sites. This is one reason why backlinks factor high in the search engine algorithm.
There are links that carry little to no weight at all with search engines. These links are tagged with the “no-follow” attribute, and tells the search engine spiders that the site that uses the no-follow tag, is not endorsing the site that the link leads to (Google appears to follow this rule more strictly than the Yahoo and MSN search engines).
Just because a site uses the no-follow tag, does not mean that there is not value to that link, you will still receive traffic from that site.
If you are not familiar with the reciprocal link, it is a link exchange between two sites to boost their site’s rankings. The problem with this is that many of the exchanges were not relevant, so the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, but the outbound links were still counted, which reduced the relevancy score of many websites. In a recent Google update, the reciprocal link was one of the targets for the search engine’s filter.
There is a Google patent being worked on that will deal with the popularity of the sites being linked to, and the trustworthiness of a site that you link to from your own website. This could mean that you can be penalised for linking to a bad site. To keep up with the ever-changing algorithm, you can protect your invested time in your site by reciprocating only to a trusted site that holds relevance to yours.
Building backlinks is a time consuming effort, but it is extremely important to Search Engine Optimization, and should be of high priority in your SEO efforts. Make sure that if you outsource your SEO to an agency, that there is clear communication on what steps the respective SEO agency is taking to improve your backlinks in line with Google’s new requirements. SEO Maestros is up to date with what is required from Google to get the best possible rankings, if you would like to know more about how we could help your website rank well, please do not hesitate to contact us today!