What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links that point back to your websites. The number of backlinks you have is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website.

A search engine considers the content of the sites to determine the QUALITY of a link. When inbound links to your site come from other sites, and those sites have content related to your site, these inbound links are considered more relevant to your site.

Backlinks

Everyone wants their website to get a high ranking on the search engines and there are many ways to go about it. Backlinks is one the most powerful methods. Backlinks are also one of the most dangerous SEO factors to tinker with if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let’s start by taking a look at what backlinks are…

BacklinksWhat Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links that point back to your websites. The number of backlinks you have is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website.

A search engine considers the content of the sites to determine the QUALITY of a link. When inbound links to your site come from other sites, and those sites have content related to your site, these inbound links are considered more relevant to your site.

For example, if a webmaster has a website about how to get your website on the first page of Google, and received a backlink from another website about SEO, then that would be more relevant in a search engine’s assessment than a link from a site about public speaking.

The more relevant the site is that is linking back to your website, the better the quality of the backlink.  If inbound links are found on sites with unrelated content, they are considered less relevant.

Backlink Bombing

Many webmasters have more than one website. Sometimes these websites are related, sometimes they are not. You have to be careful about interlinking multiple websites on the same IP.

If you own seven related websites, then a link to each of those websites on a page could hurt you, as it may look like to a search engine that you are trying to do something fishy. Many webmasters have tried to manipulate backlinks in this way; and too many links to sites with the same IP address is referred to as backlink bombing.

Anchor Text backlinks

There are different types of backlinks… The links you should focus on are Anchor Text backlinks. Anchor text is the text that is hyperlinked. This text helps Google (and other search engines) know what the site being linked to is about. If you wanted your site to rank in Google for ‘Dog Training’ then the anchor text should be: <a href= “http://www.yoursite.com/” >Dog Training</a>

‘No Follow’

Google doesn’t follow and give weight to every link though, as you sometimes get sites that tell Google not to follow the links on their pages. These sites use a tag know as: ‘NoFollow’ If you view the source code of a page.

It looks like this:
<a rel=“nofollow” href=”http://www.yoursite.com/”>.

‘Do follow’ links – <a rel=“nofollow” href=”http://www.yoursite.com/”> – will give your site weighting. Google counts these links and passes ‘link juice’ onto your site, and ranks it better.

Link Farm

While it is fairly easy to manipulate links on a web page to try to achieve a higher ranking, it is a lot harder to influence a search engine with external backlinks from other websites. This is also a reason why backlinks factor in so highly into a search engine’s algorithm.

Lately, however, a search engine’s criteria for quality inbound links has gotten even tougher, thanks to unscrupulous webmasters trying to achieve these inbound links by deceptive or sneaky techniques, such as with hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose sole purpose is to provide inbound links to websites.

These pages are called link farms, and they are not only disregarded by search engines, but linking to a link farm could get your site banned entirely.

Reciprocal Links

You will probably have to get the word out there about your site. One way webmasters got the word out used to be through reciprocal linking. Many webmasters had agreed upon reciprocal link exchanges, in order to boost their site’s rankings with the sheer number of inbound links. In a link exchange, one webmaster places a link on his website that points to another webmasters website, and vice versa.

Many of these links were simply not relevant, and were just discounted. So while the irrelevant inbound link was ignored, the outbound links still got counted, diluting the relevancy score of many websites .This caused a great many websites to drop off the Google map.

We must be careful with our reciprocal links. There is a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website. This will mean that you could get into trouble with the search engine just for linking to a bad apple.

It is helpful to keep track of your backlinks, to know which sites are linking back to you, and how the anchor text of the backlink incorporates keywords relating to your site. A tool to help you keep track of your backlinks is the Domain Stats Tool. This tool displays the backlinks of a domain in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Another tool to help you with your link building campaign is the Backlink Builder Tool.

You need to have a large number of QUALITY inbound links. This tool searches for websites that have a related theme to your website which are likely to add your link to their website. You specify a particular keyword or keyword phrase, and then the tool seeks out related sites for you. This helps to simplify your backlink building efforts by helping you create quality, relevant backlinks to your site, and making the job easier in the process.

A good tool for helping you find your backlinks and what text is being used to link to your site is the Backlink Anchor Text Analysis Tool. If you find that your site is being linked to from another website, but the anchor text is not being utilized properly, you should request that the website change the anchor text to something incorporating relevant keywords. This will also help boost your quality backlinks score.

How to Enable backlinks on Your WordPress Site

If you use WordPress it has a handy option that will help you to see backlinks to your posts. To enable backlinks on your blog go to your Settings|Comments tab and select Show. Once everything is set up, you’ll see a new link marked “Links to this post” next to the comment link for each post. If you click that link you’ll be taken to the post page, where the backlinks are all listed beneath the comments. Clicking the triangles next to each link will display a snippet of text from the page linking to you, as well as some author and date information.


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19 thoughts on “What Are Backlinks?”

  1. Thanks for the info, as i am getting a bit frustrated, adding my site to all these directories and just by chance checked my backlink status to find i had none, then i saw the term outbound links so then wondered if i was doing the right thing, stress! I do feel a bit more clearer now.

    Thanks
    Max

  2. I must admit, I find it a hassle to keep up with all the Google rules. One day you’re following them, the next day they change the rules. It’s a hamster wheel I’m not willing to run on …

  3. After having lost my page rank for over 8 months I made my site totally NO FOLLOW and I make sure to put the rel=no follow on any link that appears! I’m not taking any chances!!

  4. Great explanation. These connecting links are sometimes hard to understand, and to create. I always need help understanding which are the kind I want and which ones to avoid. That’s a whole other kind of work to do.

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