Ever wonder how one website, seemingly no better than the rest, keeps coming up on page one of the search engine results time and time again for several different industry-relevant keywords? The answer is most likely because that website has more backlinks pointing to it.
Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website. To Google, each backlink is a vote. Unlike votes in the real world, votes from other websites are not all created equally. This concept is the very foundation upon which Google bases much of its famed search algorithm.
There are several ways to get other sites to link to you, some of which Google recommends (white hat techniques) and others that it does not (black hat techniques). For the purposes of this article, we will discuss the “legal” or white-hat technique for securing backlinks. Black-hat SEO can get your website flagged as spam by Google should therefore be avoided where applicable.
Here are three surefire methods of obtaining backlinks:
1. Quality Content
Information that truly benefits the user will be linked to and/or talked about on social media. In essence, give people a reason to link to your site by providing them with information they could not get elsewhere from a non-expert like yourself. Even if you write good, quality content throughout your site, it most likely going to be your best content — video, writing or infographics — that gets users to link to you. Internet marketers refer to this type of content as link bait.
One of our client sites, La Peer Health Systems, does something really great for the users on their website. La Peer provides all of its patient paperwork and forms on its website, so patients can fill out everything before they come in on the day of the surgery. Here is something that actually benefits the user, and because of that it’s getting a backlink from this blog!
2. Social Media
Post links to your articles and web pages periodically so that your followers can click to your site (and possibly link to it themselves). These social media links, though not weighted as heavily, do also count as backlinks.
Another benefit of an active social media account is followers. In this case, we’re not talking about spam followers or random people that just follow you back when you follow them; we’re talking about actual people with whom you engage with on Facebook or Twitter. If you build your brand out on a social media channel and post links to your own site, your followers will get that update in their timelines. If they benefit from your posts or the content you linked to on your site, then they will often retweet you or share your post to their followers or friends.
3. Blog Comments
Chances are that your particular online niche has quite a lot of industry-relevant blogs, so why not comment on posts when you have something to say? This establishes two things: (1) you are an active internet user who is participating in the on-going conversations of your industry and (2) you most likely get the opportunity to leave a link to your website. These links are also not as heavily weighted by the Google algorithm and are often “no-followed” but they count for something.
One Last Word on Backlinks
As we said in the opening, backlinks are votes from other websites. Good websites with a strong brand get linked to each and every day. They do so not by writing fluff content but by giving users something worth their time. The user then, in turn, spreads the word through links. That’s precisely why Google rewards backlinks so highly!
If you are having trouble getting people to link to your site, ask yourself the following question: Would you vote for your current website?
For more information about backlinks or help with any other aspects of SEO and online marketing, please contact us today at (818) 861-7092 or fill out our online contact form.