Backlinks are important. Backlinks make the difference between a great page ranking on the fifth page of Google and a mediocre page ranking #1. They are so important that websites will spend thousands of dollars to get them, and bloggers will write whole blog posts for the sole purpose of getting backlinks. They are some of the most important trading chips for internet marketers. Just one backlink can send your site soaring up the ranks in Google’s search results.
In this post, I’ll explain what backlinks are, why Google loves them so much, and how you can get more backlinks for your own website so customers can finally find you.
What is a Backlink?
Before we talk about why backlinks have this magical power, let’s talk about what backlinks are. If you don’t already know, a backlink is a link on another website that links to your page.
For example, let’s say you have a page about Siamese cats. The New York Times posts an article on their website about different types of cats. They include a link to your site in the article so readers can learn more about Siamese cats. For you, that link is a backlink because it links back to your site.
One article could have many links in it, and the same article could have many backlinks on other sites that link back to the article. Basically, these links are what connect the whole web together. These links are what gave the World Wide Web its name in the first place. You could imagine the links like the threads of a spider web that connect all the different websites together.
Why Do Backlinks Matter?
Without backlinks on your website, you might as well not have a site as far as Google is concerned.
Why do the search lords over at Google care so much about backlinks?
Before Google was ever founded, its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were students at Stanford. They discovered that the best way to find a credible scholarly article was to find one that was referenced by other articles. Based off of this concept, they made their first search engine. That’s how Google was started, and other search engines have followed suit.
The logic goes like this: if your site is good, people will see its value and link back to your site. It is also much harder to trick Google when it comes to backlinks. You can make all sorts of modifications to your own website to try and trick Google into thinking it’s a great site, but you can’t force other websites to link to yours because you don’t control those websites.
Not only are backlinks important, but backlinks from respected websites are especially valuable. You can think of backlinks as letters of recommendation. The more recommendations you have, the more respected you will be in your field. However, a recommendation from the president of a major company will help a lot more than a recommendation from a local high school student.
How Do You Get Backlinks?
Now you know what backlinks are, how important they are, and why they are so important. Almost everyone in internet marketing knows that. What really sets you apart and makes you a great marketer is how you get those golden backlinks.
Lucky for you, we talked to an expert on search engine optimization, Ryan Joos over at Nifty Marketing. Ryan showed us the strategies he’s used to help his clients get backlinks to their sites, build their credibility, and get more customers.
You can watch the video he did for us here:
In case you are like me and like to skim through things, I went ahead and outlined the major points for you right here:
Link Building Principles
#1 – Scalability
The process should be able to be repeated again and again to get more links.
#2 – Specific Audience
Decide on who you are targeting for backlinks, make sure this audience is large enough, and/or the links are valuable enough. Example: teachers, doctors, pet bloggers etc.
Members of the audience should have a website and the ability to change their website.
#3 – Shareable/Linkable
Give this audience something that they would want to share with their followers and/or share on their site. In other words, make that specific piece of content something worth linking to.
Make the process of linking to your site as easy as possible for them.
Doing scholarship programs is valuable because it gives direct value to universities and it can get you links from “.edu” websites which are among the most credible websites. This makes their backlinks more valuable.
Scholarship programs are scalable so you can reach a lot of universities. The outreach is usually easy, and it is great P.R. for your company.
It’s not hard to implement this strategy. Simply email the university a link to a page on your site that explains the program and has a form for the students to fill out and apply for the scholarship. The university will probably post it somewhere on their site for their students and BOOM — you have a great backlink!
Give people something they would actually want to link to. It’s not enough for it to be good quality. It must be compelling in some way so people will feel a need to share it.
Create an infographic targeted to a specific audience. Example: a social media safety graphic for mom bloggers.
You can write a blog post for another website or have someone else write the post. Make sure that the blogger includes a link back to your site. Example: a post for mom bloggers about teaching children about disabilities, written by family therapists.
Ryan and his team have many other link-building ideas which you can use. You can find them here: https://niftymarketing.com/list-of-local-link-building-ideas/
To put this all simply, backlinks are GOLD. You need to give other websites golden content so that they will reward you with a backlink. Do that consistently, and the Google gods will reward you by bringing your website to the top of the search results. Backlinks are your ticket to the promised land, and now you know how to get them.