What is a backlink?
If you are wondering what a backlink is, the simple explanation is it is a post on the Internet that includes a link back to another site or post. In essence, think of it as an added commentary on a post or site.
The goal of a backlink is to get a higher ranking on a search engine, such as Google, and therefore drive more traffic on your site or post.
There are a few ways to build backlinks; the first and easiest is to have good content others will want to see and read. The idea is others who are posting about the same type of topic will include a link to your content for their readers as well. The more people do this, the better for you.
However, especially if you don’t already have a large online following, you likely won’t get a lot of backlinks this way. You can generate backlinks for yourself by posting to forums, blogs, and directories.
Some directories you should consider getting listed on are Yahoo, DMOZ, and Jasmine Directory. You may have to wait a few weeks before being listed, but it is a free way to get backlinks.
Have a newsworthy event or information to share? Issue a press release to the media. This can drive some serious traffic to your site. You will read more about an effective press release below.
Why Do We Need To Get Backlinks?
If you’re trying to make money online then you need to either get traffic to whatever it is your trying to sell, or sell traffic to someone else that has a product or service they’re selling. If you’re attempting to make money with Adsense then you are just a middle man funneling traffic to other people with a product that needs buyers. So in the Internet marketing world traffic is money and those who have the most traffic are generally making the most money.
You might be struggling to see what relevance this has to the topic on hand but to get the most website traffic we need to get our sites as high up on Google as possible because Google is the big boss when it comes to controlling Internet traffic. We need to convince the world’s best search engine that we are worthy of their respect so that they will send us a nice steady stream of visitors for us to convert into cash in whatever way we choose. This is the game known as search engine optimization.
The battle to get to the top of Google is like a giant popularity contest where the most popular site gets to sit at the top of the Google castle and scoop up 40% of the traffic for a particular keyword. Backlinks are the key to the popularity contest in that they are the way that we collect votes in our favor from the rest of the Internet community. When someone with another blog or website links to your site they’re telling Google that they think you’re one of the coolest kids in school. Collect the most votes and Google is going to start taking notice of your site and send you to the top of the SERPs.
Another, equally important aspect of backlinks is their ability to signal to Google what your site is about. For example, if I link to this site with the text Make Money Online then Google knows that this is a site about making money online and will consider that when deciding where to put me in the search engines.
The words you use to link to your site are known as anchor text and it’s vitally important if you are to make the most of your backlinks that you take so much effort to find. A mistake that many beginners make when they are building backlinks to their domains is to use anchor text that bears no relation to the subject covered in the site.
If you leave comments in blogs for a backlink with your name as an anchor link what are you telling the search engines about your site that is of any value? Do you want Google to rank you highly for the word “George” or “Susan”? Probably not! At the same time using anchor text such as “click here” as a link to your site at the end of articles is a waste of your energy.
When getting friends to link back to this site I will get them to use anchor text such as “Make Money With Adsense”, “Make Money Online” and “Adsense Make Money” because that’s one of the best ways to let the search engines know what subjects I’m covering. Hopefully, it will also let them know that my site is respected for the content that covers that topic though if you’ve read much of my content you’ll realize that the respect is misplaced, that’s another story.
So get into the habit of having all your backlinks to be keyword-rich anchor text that is related to your blog. On that point make sure you mix the anchor text up or you might be penalized for Google bombing.
An effective press release
Many press releases are placed on a news producer’s desk or inbox and many of these releases are tossed to the side and ignored, but some are taken notice of and used.
The first step is to have an effective title or subject line. As someone scrolls through hundreds of emails to determine what is worth his or her time and what isn’t, you must have an eye-catching subject line.
The second – and possibly most important – step for an effective press release is to keep it clear, concise and to the point. Too many times I have started to read a release only to become lost in a lot of unnecessary words and information.
You must include the purpose of the release and why it is important – why would someone at home care about it? If it is a press release about an event, PLEASE remember to include the date, time, location, cost, and any other significant information. I have seen many event releases that didn’t include important information and therefore never reviewed, reported on, or covered the event.
If you do everything correct, you could get a story on-air, in print, or online. That story will likely include a link for more information – so make sure to include your link in the press release! A backlink to your site on a news or community website can mean some serious traffic and a huge boost to your search rating.
Use social media to your advantage
This is the age of social media – from YouTube to Facebook and LinkedIn to Google Plus. Creating a social media portfolio for your site can be important.
If you want to create a buzz about your site, you should create a Google Profile. This can include information about your site or business, photos, and even videos. This can mean some important backlinks for your site.
Bottom line: make sure you build pages for your website on social media. You can link back to your main site and create some serious traffic on your site.
What not to do
Something you cannot do when building backlinks is to interlink. This is when you link between your sites. Honestly, this probably won’t help boost your search rating much anyway.
Other things you shouldn’t do is to link farms, spam sites, or sites that contain illegal content.
You should avoid link exchanges; they could either just end up helping the other site more than you. In worst-case scenarios with these exchanges, the site could end up being a link farm. Your backlink landing on a link farm could do the exact opposite of what you want – you could end up being banned from search engines.
Slow and steady wins the race. It may be a lesson from a parable, but it could help you see long-term backlink success. If there are too many backlinks posted for you in a short amount of time, search engines may flag you as suspicious. Again, you could end up blocked.
What is Google Bombing?
Google bombing is a method of manipulating the search engine results by using a specific keyword relentlessly as your anchor text to get ranked highly for that word or phrase. Google has cottoned on to this practice and now punishes sites whose anchor text links look unnatural. The remedy for this is to vary your anchor text between a large number of related keywords for which you would like your site to rank. This is the reason that I don’t always use one specific keyword such as “make money with google” in the resource box of any articles I write.
Now you know the importance of being able to get links and making sure your anchor text backlinks are relevant to the subject of your content to further your SEO efforts. Next time I’m going to talk about another element of your links that is important and how to get yourself the very best quality backlinks available.