What are backlinks and why does my website need them?
We cannot stress enough that backlinks are so important for websites that want to rank well in search engines. However, many of our clients aren’t always familiar with what they are or why they’re so important. So, here’s our quick, plain-English guide to backlinks!
What are backlinks?
Very simply, backlinks are created when one website links to another. – See the link in the last sentence? That’s a backlink. That’s us linking to another website, in this case marketing giants Moz.com.
Why are backlinks important?
We used the link in the last paragraph to back up a claim we made. Therefore, we’re telling you that the site we’ve linked to is an authority on this subject. And we’re also telling this to Google. Google also sees a backlink as a kind of ‘vote of confidence.’
Google likes sites with lots of backlinks because this shows that lots of people have given this site a vote of confidence. And therefore lots of people think this site is high-quality, relevant and trustworthy.
And in fact, backlinks are one of the most important factors that Google takes into account when ranking websites in search results. Sites with lots of these links rank highly in Google because, again, Google sees them as high-quality, relevant and trustworthy.
But be careful…
Not all backlinks are created equally!
For a backlink to show Google that your site has a vote of confidence, it needs to come from another reputable, high-quality site. (And naturally, this means that sites with lots of good-quality backlinks are the ones you want to receive links from!) It also helps if the link comes from a website within your industry.
Why is this the case?
Well, let’s say you’ve been recommended a movie. Wouldn’t you trust the recommendation more if it came from someone who A) was widely respected for giving great movie recommendations and C) had a similar taste in movies to you?
If you receive a backlink from a completely unrelated site, or a site that Google thinks is low-quality, this may harm your site reputation.
How can i check if my site has backlinks?
Good news! You can check if your site has any backlinks for FREE!
Head over to Ahrefs Free Backlink Checker to get a free summary of your site backlinks.
You want to look at the ‘backlinks’ counter in the middle of the top row. – There’s no exact number for a ‘good’ amount of links, however ideally you’d want these to be in the hundreds or thousands rather than the tens.
What if i don’t have many backlinks?
If you don’t have many backlinks, your site will be unlikely to rank well in search engines – no matter how great your content is! That’s because at the moment, Google doesn’t recognise your site as high-quality or trustworthy.
But that’s okay! There are plenty of things you can do to get hold of some good-quality links such as:
- Submitting your profile to online directories
- Becoming profiled by online media outlets
- Get your content featured on related websites
- Feature another writer’s post on your website
- The broken link method (ask us more about this!)
- Ask your clients to link to you
Ask us more about this
If you’d like some more information about anything you’ve read here, or want to know how you can generate some more links for your website, we run a Marketing Clinic every Tuesday!
Come and visit us in our office in the centre of Cheltenham, have a great cup of (locally roasted) coffee, and we’ll spend an hour assessing your website and entire marketing approach. You’ll leave with some tangible action points, and some real clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts moving forward.
Get in touch with us!