Why do we need backlinks for SEO?
We all know Google values the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a website as one of the most important ranking factors. But why is that so important? And why do we need them for our own websites? They are an effective tool in our arsenal and with the right approach, we can harness their true power.
Backlinks are the same as “votes” for your website in Google’s eyes. By getting more backlinks to your website you are proving to Google that your site is of high value and should be placed at a higher ranking in their search results. The more “votes” you get, the higher your site should rank on the SERP pages. But links can be risky…
Google wants to determine the trustworthiness of your content. This is done by looking at certain features and metrics. One of these metrics is the number of incoming links pointing to your website. The more incoming links, the better it is for your content’s reputation — and Google uses that as a signal when ranking your website in search results. Trust is an important factor in SEO.
Backlinks are the path to higher search engine rankings. But if you build links the wrong way, they can also be your downfall.
How not to build backlinks
Backlinks are a risky business. If you’re going to try and leverage them for your SEO efforts, then you need to know what risks you’re taking on.
More and more we are seeing websites getting penalised. Often this is due to the use of manipulative or black hat SEO. One of the most common tricks that I see people trying to pull takes place in the link building realm. It usually goes something like this: build a load of links using black hat tactics, then disavow all the backlinks pointing at you. This way it looks like your website was never running a risky link campaign and you can continue your SEO business as usual without any worries…eventually.
What’s the right way to build backlinks for your website?
This is a question that I get asked all the time. To answer this you need to realize there is no universal best practice. You must treat your link building like a sales pitch because that’s exactly what it is.
One of the best ways to build backlinks for SEO purposes is through outreach. Outreach is the process of getting an authoritative website to link back to your own website and plays an important role in SEO. It can sometimes have a bigger impact on the exposure of your content than the actual content itself.
A good piece of (relevant) content with backlinks is better than a lot of mediocre pieces of content with backlinks.
The difficulty with outreach is just that it’s hard to reach out to a complete stranger. It’s especially difficult when you’re trying to do so from a marketing point of view. But if you can overcome your own lack of courage and sell yourself, then your outreach campaign will be successful.
You need to be able to draw people in and make them want to link to you.
Writing outreach emails
Don’t bother writing outreach emails if you’re going to fill them with marketing fluff or generic phrases. Your emails won’t stand out from the crowd and you’ll probably be ignored. Write custom, personal emails with details specific to your recipient, don’t just send templates. Also, include links to your work that are easy for the recipient to find so they can share it on their own social channels.
One of the biggest challenges for an SEO is capturing someone’s attention quickly while also convincing them that you are worth reading about – whether in a blog post, a tweet or an email.
Some people think that they can just take a template from somewhere, fill in a few blanks and send it out. Think again. That will only get you unsubscribes and bad relationships. More often than not, the person receiving dozens of emails a day will just hit delete. This is where you need to stand out in the crowd. Things need to grab a potential client’s attention and make them respond back.
But many people struggle to create compelling emails for their outreach. The truth is that writing good outreach emails takes effort and practice.
More than just backlinks
There are two primary ways to get traffic from Google: backlinks and quality content (not including Paid). The problem with relying on backlinks is that it is time-consuming and hits your wallet. It also might put you on Google’s bad side, as there have been many instances where the search engine has penalized sites for buying links. You will see improvements with a well-optimized site in the long run but it takes months to build a sustainable flow of traffic.
There are many factors that influence your website’s search ranking. Things you know well, like keywords and meta titles, as well as others you may not have considered, like which pages on your website have the highest bounce rate. Website best practices can make a big difference in search engine optimization.
After you’ve finished optimizing all of the elements of your website, it’s now time to ensure that it is fast. Slow-loading websites can discourage users from returning to your website because they may assume it’s poorly made and not worth returning for.