I’m back with Back To Basics Part 3 and this week I’m going to be discussing what a backlink is and how it can be so beneficial yet equally very damaging to your SEO campaign.
Backlinks are as important as ever in Google’s algorithm but it has never been so important to make sure you are getting the correct backlinks that will benefit your SEO and not a backlink that could be damaging it.
What Is A Backlink?
A backlink is a link on another website which provides a way of referring people to your website. For example someone may choose to link to Google. If you hover your mouse over the Google text you will see that you can click it and it will take you directly to Google. These are the basics of what a backlink is.
Backlinks are a very important factor in the structure of the internet because if we didn’t link to other websites then how would we get around? Think of it like the London Underground; links provide a way of you getting from Euston Station to Ealing for example. Without that train it would be much more difficult to get to it and it’s the same with backlinks. If no one linked to anything then search engines probably wouldn’t be able to find it and it wouldn’t appear in the search results.
How Is This Relevant For A Search Engine?
Search engines use tools called crawlers that view content across the whole internet to interpret what is ranked on the all important page 1. The crawlers bounce from website to website because of links; it tells them that this website thinks this one is important and relevant and they go on to crawl that one as well.
Search engines rely heavily on backlinks for rankings not only because they allow them to crawl the internet more easily but also to determine the importance and authority of your website.
So because I have links, I have authority?
Absolutely not and this is the most important part of this blog post. A backlink to your website must be relevant. For example, if you sell furniture for homes, you would be best getting baclklinks from websites that specialise in home improvement or home renovation because your website would be relevant to the readers of that website. This also means that the people clicking through are more likely to convert into a customer for you!
A bad example would be a website about mobile technology linking to your furniture website because its simply not relevant and most likely of no use to the readers of the website. If your website is linked from a website with no relevance to yours people could click through and immediately drop off causing bad engagement rates which we discussed in part 2.
There are many factors that need to be taken into account when building links to your website but always stick to the following motto “Are people browsing this website likely to be customers of mine?”. If not, then don’t build it because it’s of no use to you or the reader.
Building irrelevant links can damage your SEO campaign because Google will pick up on whether the link is relevant and if it’s not it’s likely to harm your rankings.
Monitor Your Backlinks!
If you are doing SEO on your website you must always be actively monitoring your backlink profile using a tool such as AHREFS. You can build all the great high authority and relevant links you want but someone could also be building links to your site through negative SEO. Negative SEO is when someone builds links to your website with the aim of making you drop in the rankings and there is simply nothing you can do about it. I have worked with clients who were having negative SEO done to there website and through active backlink management it never affected their rankings at all which is why it’s important to keep checking for new backlinks to your website.
Anyone can link to your website from theirs whether it’s for negative SEO or just because they want to because they think it could be relevant. If you feel that it’s not, ask the website owner to kindly make the link nofollowed and then it will stop search engines crawling your website from theirs. Simple!
That’s it! Link building is a risky business and you shouldn’t do it unless you’re sure you know what is good and what is bad because too much bad could result in you getting a penalty and no one wants that! You’ll lose search engine visibility and in turn potential customers as your website drops through the rankings.
If you still aren’t sure then hire the experts to do it for you and let them keep your website future proof.
Next week I’ll be back with part 4 of Back To Basics and we’ll be talking about content, is it dead or is it the king of SEO?