Are you Taking Advantage of Backlinks?
While SEO is critical in helping your website rank higher in the search results, long gone are the days where you focus solely on your keywords. Backlinks are one of the numerous SEO tactics you should explore to drive traffic to your site. Take a moment to learn why backlinks should be a part of your SEO marketing strategy.
SEO is More Than Keywords
There is little doubt that SEO is a valuable asset in driving traffic to your website, which creates opportunities for your business to find leads and then customers. However, when thinking about SEO, the first and often only thing that business owners consider are keywords. Yet, keywords are only a small part of your SEO strategy.
In fact, there are hundreds of different metrics that Google looks at to determine when and where you should wind up on the search results. There is no singular tactic you can take to guarantee long-term success with the search engines.
For your website to successfully use SEO, you need to employ multiple tactics. One such tactic is the utilization of backlinks.
What are Backlinks?
Backlinks (also called inbound links; incoming links or one-way links) are links from one website which links to a page on another website. These links differ from internal links which link to content (pages) within the same website.
Google (and other search engines) treat backlinks as a form of “testimonial” to the importance of a specific page on your website. Websites with quality backlinks tend to rank higher on organic search engine results. This is due to the fact that other reputable websites are pointing to the content on those websites and in effect saying, “this information is important, please pay attention to it”.
For example, if a new local takeout restaurant opens in Oneonta with online ordering, and the Daily Star links to their website in an online article, that will drive some traffic from the Daily Star to the new restaurant. It will also show that the Daily Star, which has naturally high trust from Google, endorses this other website. Some of that trust gets passed down.
Can’t I Just Buy Backlinks?
Unfortunately, when developing a backlink strategy, many businesses forget the “quality” part of the equation and instead focus on collecting as many backlinks as they can. There are services and sites that let you purchase backlinks, but this is dangerous. Purchasing backlinks is considered black hat SEO because it attempts to create a false narrative about the value of your website’s content. It can hurt your rankings in the long run.
More importantly, even though backlinks are sometimes called “one-way links,” the authority they carry flows in two ways. Google values user experience above all else; as purchased backlinks are more often than not connected to low-quality and even suspect websites. Google will use their value or lack thereof and may penalize your site’s ranking, as chances are good you will be providing a poor user experience.
How Do Backlinks Help?
As noted, backlinks operate in fashion similar to a testimonial, they let search engines know that other quality and informative sites value your content. In fact, they value your content enough that they are willing to give their own audience the ability to access your content from their website. This is an incredible statement for an organization to make and Google rewards it by increasing the placement of your website in a search result.
What are the Best Backlinks?
The best types of backlinks are those which bring with them a high level of authority. This 'domain' authority is based on the value the website itself has. In other words, the more recognized a website is, the more authority it passes along when it links your website. This means that a single high-quality backlink can be more valuable than a dozen or even hundreds of low-quality ones. Finally, Google will most likely ignore low-quality backlinks because they offer no value.
Official .edu and .gov sites are the most valuable because they are considered reliable 'out of the box.' This is because websites with these domains had to fulfill specific requirements before being granted the extension. This means that if you have limited resources and want to begin developing a backlink strategy, obtaining a .edu or .gov backlink offers the best bang for the buck.
Of the two, obtaining a .edu backlink is the most practical to attempt. This is because there is no lack of universities around here to contact, and they may be more responsive to your request. On the other hand, government agencies may have more stringent regulations due to oversight or other concerns.
Some ways to approach your local university for a backlink include:
- Invest in a Scholarship: It doesn't have to be a five or more figure scholarship to gain a university's attention. For most students, any amount will help, and a link to the University's scholarships page will more than pay for the investment you've made.
- Offer Internships or Employment: Many students are interested in acquiring real-world work experience. Placing offers on the University's career pages is a great way to have them link back to your website.
- Provide exclusive deals to the University: Everyone loves a bargain. You can offer your services at a discount to students and faculty members.
Invest in Your Website
Backlinks are a valuable SEO resource; thus, quality websites are reluctant to hand them out because if they attach themselves to a subpar website, their authority could be jeopardized.
Think of it like this: if someone reached out to you out of the blue and asked to put a link to their, say, car dealership on your website, you’d probably say no. If the same person was networking with you and coming up with a way both of your businesses could benefit from a relationship, that’s a different story.
Your website should embrace best practices, reflecting modern techniques such as being responsive and mobile-friendly. It should have a modern website's look and feel, matching current web users' expectations with easy navigation and attractiveness. Your website should feel connected to your community because most of your customers will be your neighbors, and potential backlink providers will judge your value by how much your customers value you.
Finally, your content needs to be as informative as possible if you want to entice a high-quality website to link yours. When another website links to your content, they are offering your opinion or expertise to their customers. If your website isn't providing high-quality content consistently, you significantly reduce your chances of acquiring the type of backlinks that push your website to the top.
Take Your Website to The Next Level
If your website isn't being noticed, then it can't do its job. Unfortunately, just having a website isn't going to be enough to gain attention; you must use various methods to drive traffic to your site. One SEO practice won't provide the results you need to break through the noise of your competitors. If you're interested in taking your website to the next level, Directive can help.
We have a wide range of tools and services that can help your website develop the type of brand that attracts other businesses' attention. Call 607.433.2200 today to learn how Directive can help your business grow by making the most of your essential communication tool, your website.