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10 SEO Tips for Backlinks
Have you tried increasing your website traffic to no avail? Have you tried every search engine optimization technique you know without results? Take the next step and use these SEO tips to build backlinks that work!
Backlinks are an important part of search rank
Search Engine Optimization & Backlinks Go Hand-in-Hand
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), many website owners are aware of the importance of on-page SEO. Afterall, creating search engine optimized websites is often where the majority of resources and effort is directed.
But what about off-page SEO and building backlinks?
Off-page SEO considers how search engine crawlers value links, as well as the inter-connectedness of links from one website to another. Backlinks, the text links that are often underlined and in blue, are the backbone of the web, leading users from one web page to another as they are clicked.
Backlinks are a key component in the way search engines value a website and as such, should never be an afterthought!
How to Get Backlinks
Website owners should be aware that getting backlinks through backlink-building schemes and other shady methods is penalized by Google.
Developing a website that has compelling content causing others to link to it naturally is the single best way to get backlinks. These organic backlinks, whether from social sharing or other websites, with a variety of naturally occurring anchor text, can have a major impact on a site's page rank.
Note: Be sure to watch the one minute video by Google's Matt Cutts for an illustration of why compelling content matters.
Compelling Content Brings Organic Backlinks
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Additionally, tools such as:
- article writing sites,
- blogs, and
- social media,
have given website owners the ability to easily take marketing matters into their own hands and create backlinks to their central, potentially money-making target website. These tools should of course be used judiciously to avoid search engine penalties. Social media is especially useful in this arena since people's willingness to share links can potentially generate a lot of additional organic backlinks.
As long as the source of backlinks is legitimate and relevant (not link farms), backlinks provide value to the target or destination website, increasing its rank in search engine results.
The following 10 tips for SEO and backlinks will give you insight into how to get the most bang for your buck for each backlink you create:
Backlinks, Anchor Text & Clicking
#1 Backlinks should contain a variety of words.
Although we are not privy to Google's search algorithm, or any search engine's for that matter, many tests have been done and conclusions drawn that are well worth practicing. For example, the text link or anchor text matters.
The html code for an actual backlink looks like this, with the words "Text Link" being the words that can be clicked on:
<a href="http://www.hubpages.com" target="_blank">Text Link</a>
Link Text (anchor text) should:
- contain a variety of text, sometimes with keywords or even the URL
- use naturally occurring text
- be concise - focusing on one idea
Avoid Link Text (anchor text) that contains:
- generic text, such as click here or home
It should be noted that having many backlinks with the same anchor text may trigger a Google penalty. Again, this is another reason in favor of organic links that naturally have a variety of anchor text.
#2 The higher up the backlink is in the html, the better.
Links pass value to the destination or target web page and the higher up the backlink appears in the html code of the page, the more value it gives to the target page. For example, if you link identical text twice on the same page, targeting two separate pages of a target website, the target page that is linked to first is given more value than the second, all other things being equal.
If you think about it, the logic makes sense. If I want to convince you of something, I am going to present my best argument first. Why should Google be any different? It considers our first "reason" for following a link more weighty.
#3 Backlinks should be within the content of a page.
Backlinks located within the content of a web page provide much more value to the target page than if they are located in the sidebars or footer.
#4 The first instance of a backlink to an URL on a page is the only one that matters.
This is a case where quality is better than quantity, which, like so many things related to search engine optimization, is usually the case. In addition to the fact that a page overloaded with links to the same target just looks spammy, it is ineffective.
Say for example, that you have included five links in an article all leading to your money-making destination website. The only link that Google values is the first link that appears on the page to that particular URL.
#5 Backlinks on pages with fewer links give the target URL more value.
If a website has a lot of links on a single page, then the value each of these backlinks might add to its target website is diminished. Once again, quality over quantity is at play. While there is no known link density to avoid, it is always best to only include relevant links that add value to the content which surrounds them.
Google Webmaster Tools lets you see what sites link to your site.
There are many things that website owners can accomplish with Google webmaster tools, including:
- Using Webmaster Tools to see what sites backlinks to yours, and
- Using Google Webmaster Tools to add an URL or submit a site.
#6 External backlinks are more weighty than internal links.
It goes without saying that all websites should have an internal linking structure, connecting all the pages within the site to one another. In addition to navigation though, website owners can also create some backlinks within their own content to their own pages. This is internal linking.
However, backlinks from external websites increases the ranking of the destination page more than internal links. While you cannot dictate the keywords that external websites use in the anchor text to your site, having clear and compelling content surrounding a single topic, makes it easier to get good backlinks from external sources.
#7 Backlinks from a unique domain matter more than a new backlink from a previously linking domain.
Let's suppose that site An already backlinks to your website in three different locations. Did you know that a new backlink from site B, a site that previously never linked to your website, adds more value to your website's rank than a new additional link from site A?
Backlinks from a variety of domains that are relevant to a website's content is one key to long term ranking.
#8 Links from relevant sites provide a lot of value.
Suppose you have a friend who has a website for his plumbing business and this friend offers to place a link on his website to your dog walking business. While this is a very kind gesture, it will not provide you with a relevant backlink. On the other hand, if you have a friend with a website for a successful dog grooming business then a backlink to your dog walking business would be beneficial.
The relevancy of the linking site to the desitnation site's content matters.
#9 Backlinks from trusted, reputable sites help destination sites.
Not only is site relevancy important, so too is a site's reputation; its trust factor. Perhaps you've seen terms such as trust rank, trust scores, and trust seeds. Backlinks from trusted, reputable sites pass more value to the desitnation site, than non-trusted sources. Google doesn't single out sites for trustworthiness like .gov or .edu, but these sites tend to have a high page rank because of the number of sites linking to them. Additionally, links from sites closer to the trusted seed may help search engine rank.
It's also speculated that a backlink from a less important page on a site with high trust rank, is more valuable than a backlink on a more important page (i.e. home page) on a site with a lower trust rank. This makes sense because the less important page on a reputable site may in fact have a higher page rank than the page rank of a non-reputable site's home page.
#10 Having a quantity of quality backlinks is best of all.
Having multiple, quality backlinks, especially from relevant and trusted sources, is key to increasing the target website's rank in search engine results.
Although a website owner can only control SEO and backlinks from their own articles, blogs, press releases, other websites, etc., it is important to write content where the topic is readily apparent. This will make it easier, a "no-brainer," for external websites to come up with keyword-rich backlinks to your website.
In summary, successful off-page SEO for backlinks is a matter of applying these 10 SEO tips for backlinks and working smarter, not harder.