Among the arsenal of strategies that you can utilize to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), is the use of back links. One of the most commonly talked about concepts in the world of SEO, a back link refers to a link posted to a website that links back to your own website. In other words, a back link exists when when a website links to any other website.
How can back links help you in terms of SEO? Google uses back links as part of its algorithm that determines which websites show up where on search engine results. They just are one part of the larger algorithm that decides what is listed on a results page, but the power of back links for SEO can be significant depending on who is providing a link on their website to yours.
Web pages with back links rank higher on major search engines, including Google, than pages without back links. Not only does Google consider the presence of back links in determining a search ranking, it also takes into account the ranking of the website providing the back link. If a website’s content is deemed high-quality and trusted, and that website provides you a back link, then your ranking will be higher than it would be with a back link from a less reputable site. In addition to having back links from quality sites, back links should also be contextually relevant. The content being linked to should relate to the site doing the linking.
So if back links are so important to SEO, how do you go about obtaining them? In the past, people attempted various ways to trick the algorithm, including spamming. For example, in an effort to get back links, they would go to the comment sections of respectable websites like The New York Times and leave their website links in the comments so that essentially, a back link to their own sites would appear on that page. Google has since changed the algorithm to not allow those methods to fly, and most of those old tricks are now extinct.
You don’t have to trick Google in order to get back links to your site. Here are a few ways that you can go about acquiring them.
- Posting quality content. The idea here is that creating and posting quality, original content on your own website will prompt other sites to want to share it—and therefore link to it—on their own sites. This content could be in the form of a blog, photos, infographics and graphics, educational or entertaining articles and more.
- Guest posts. Look for opportunities to use your expertise to your SEO advantage by offering to guest post on other websites. If a blog or article you submit is accepted and posted, request that the posting site provides both a back link within the body of the text and a boilerplate at the bottom of the article describing who you are, what you do and where you can be contacted.
- Quoted material. Along the same lines, even if you do not get an entire article you wrote posted on another site, but you are quoted as an expert source, require the author of the article to provide a back link where your name is attributed to the quote.
- Social networking. This process also works when social media users share a link to one of your website’s pages on their social media accounts. Because social media is based on organic growth, your shared link on social media has the potential to be shared again and again, which is ideal for SEO.
- Asking colleagues and friends. Back linking can be a mutually benefitting method for SEO. Offer to post a back link to your website for a friend or colleague if he or she agrees to give you a back link on his or her site. Call in favors, and return those favors. Your friend or colleague can benefit from having your quality information posted on his or her site, while you benefit from getting the SEO boost a back link provides, and vice versa. Just make sure the site you are requesting a back link from is a reputable one.
- Get something written about you. Have you or your business done something noteworthy in the community? Have you recently celebrated a business anniversary? These and other scenarios could be cause to have a publication like a local paper or magazine write a story or article about you on their websites—and provide you a back link in the process.
If you are not currently seeking out back links as part of your SEO approach, then by making it a priority you could quickly start seeing significant process in the status of your search ranking. If you need help incorporating any of the above strategies into your SEO plan, the McNutt & Partners team can help! Visit our contact page to reach out to us today.