What are Backlinks in SEO?
The search engine optimization (SEO) process consists of a number of strategies to improve the visibility of a website on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Visibility means a better position for a website, by showing up on the first page of results for a specific search query.
SEO strategies are either on-page or off-page. Just as these terms suggest, on-page means tasks performed on the website while off-page tactics are employed off the website. Getting backlinks is one of the most important off-page tasks for a website owner.
Plainly speaking, backlinks are hyperlinks from relevant, authoritative websites to your website. Each link to your website brings with it some rank value, popularly called link juice. They emphasize the fact that the internet is a web with connections from one web address to another.
The SEO process of acquiring backlinks is known as link building, and it involves slow, calculated steps. Additionally, you have to measure results often to know the impact of backlinks to the ranking, the pages that need more backlinks, and the general health (spam score) of the type of links generated.
Qualities of Good Backlinks
Great backlinks are:
- Relevant to the content on your page. For example, you cannot link a blog post on a drug rehab website from an ecommerce store selling shoes.
- From websites with a low spam score. If a website already has a red flag for spam, run!
- Natural and not forced into pages.
- From websites with a great ranking already.
How to Link Back to your Website
There are two types of link attributes. When you inspect the html code of a page with backlinks, you will see either a dofollow or a nofollow in the link attribute. For example, you will see Backlink Management Software.
The nofollow value tells search engines not to consider those the link as it indexes a page. Rel=nofollow are frowned upon because they tell search engines not to follow the link to the website, hence no link juice. Such links mainly come from blog comments and the reference section of major websites.
Despite the no link juice policy, they will generate some traffic to your website especially if you are among the first to comment in a blog, and you give decisive opinions related to the topic.
Rel=dofollow links are more difficult to find, and they come from sources like news websites, influential blogs, the resource pages of institutions and regional guides. Every time you get such a link back to your website, you get some link juice and therefore improve your ranking.
While thinking about the type of backlinks you want to generate, it is prudent to think about anchor text. Simply, the anchor text is set of words on which you place a hyperlink to your website.
For example, a phrase like LovingDA could be more appropriate instead of displaying https://www.lovingda.com. Hence, LovingDA is the anchor text. A great anchor text assists the search engine identify the keyword the linked page should be ranked for.
The best anchor text is an exact match of the title of the page, the direct URL of the page, the keyword of the page’s content or the brand. However, too many exact match anchor texts might be flagged for spam. When gathering backlinks to a specific page, you can create several anchor texts around the main keyword and the other related terms that sum up the content of your page.