Back Back Back It Up: Why Backlinks are Vital to Your SEO Strategy

All marketers should be aware of how important SEO is to your organic and local rankings. About 20% of your SEO efforts will be on-page optimization. So, what’s included in the other 80%?  Well, there’s citations, backlinks, content, mobile, page speed, etc. The list goes on.

Backlinks have always been an important Google ranking factor. As time has progressed and Google has updated their algorithm, they’ve learned to weed the good from the bad. Yes, link quantity is good, but link QUALITY is becoming even more important.

Are you still asking yourself why you should care about backlinks when it comes to SEO? How about this, backlinks are the top 3 of Google ranking factors. Convinced now? Awesome. Let’s dive in.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks, also known as Inbound links, are simply links that are directed to your website. The number of backlinks you have can be an indication of the popularity or position of your website. Google, Bing, and other search engines will give more credit to websites that have quality backlinks. This is because they consider those websites more relevant to the search query.

Notice the word QUALITY above. This is key. Not only should the referring domain having high authority and a high trust score, the site should also be relevant to your industry. Wouldn’t you find it strange if a dog food website linked to a travel site? So would Google.

As I mentioned previously, Google doesn’t weigh all backlinks equally. There are some types of backlinks you want to avoid when working out your backlink strategy.  Article directories, $5 Fiver gigs that promise tens of thousands of backlinks, irrelevant link exchanges. All of these can cause a huge spike in backlinks and Google will see that as spammy black hat tactics and penalize your site.

So, what should my backlink strategy consist of?

  1. Set goals: It can be difficult to prove a link building campaign is successful, even when it hits certain goals. Because of this, marketers have to not only set realistic goals but to make sure that the goals they set are more than build X number of links. The goals need to tie into organizational goals and have a positive impact on the bottom line of the business. Like all good marketing, focus on long-term gains, not overnight quick-wins.
  2. Identify your assets: What is it you’re going to use to attract and get links? Some examples of assets can be blog/article content, products, services, people, and or data. Be sure that the assets you create are relevant to the audience you’re wanting to attract.
  3. Identify types of links you need: Do you need links to your home page? May links to an interior page like a product or service page. You can also have links to keywords you’re targeting.
  4. Identify your sites: make sure you find sites that are not only authoritative but relevant as well. These can be news sites, government websites, educational websites, community websites, charities and other businesses. Remember, quality links so do press releases, reach out to suppliers and sponsors. Tap into communities that your customers frequent (such as Reddit, StumbleUpon, forums, and blogs).

SEO strategies are not set it and forget it. It takes a long time to build authority especially if a site is new. Don’t expect to rank #1 overnight. Want that coveted position 0 on Google? You’ve got to work for it. Stay tuned for more blogs from me on how to rank on Google. Want to learn more about how we can help in your SEO plan? Contact us today.