If you’ve just started investigating ways to improve your website’s visibility, you might have come across the term “backlinks” and how they are important to the success of your website. How much do you really know about them, though? This post is designed to serve as a crash course in backlinks, providing you with everything you need to know to hit the ground running (with our help, of course).
Backlinks are part of a three-pronged approached to any effective search engine optimization. The three components are onsite optimization, social media optimization, and backlinks. For the time being, we’ll keep the focus on backlinks and how they can help get your website the exposure it needs to be successful.
Basically, a backlink is a hyperlink that comes from a source outside of your own website that points to your website. Let’s say for example you have a parenting blog and you link to another blog in one of your posts – that link is considered a backlink to the other website, as it “links back” to that site.
There are two main benefits to backlinks. First, they help you to gain better rankings within the search engines, and second, they increase your direct exposure by way of external sources and their already-targeted audiences. Let’s explore each of these points a little more closely, shall we?
First, there’s the issue of the search engines. When a site has a lot of backlinks leading to it, the search engine “reads” those links as votes of confidence in that site. By linking to your site, a website is saying “Hey, readers! Check this out! You’ll like what this website has to say, too.” The more of those links you get, the more the search engines will stand up and take notice of you. But it’s important to note here that not every link carries the same weight. The higher the authority of the linking site, the more weight the link will carry. More links are good, but one backlink for an authoritative site will hold more sway with the search engines than lots of links from low-authority sites.
In addition to the search engine optimization benefits of backlinks, they can help to increase your exposure in another way, too. The number of backlinks your website receives also increases your site’s exposure by getting your site in front of more virtual pairs of eyes. Let’s say for example you read something on a website and share the link with your Twitter followers. Or, if you read something on Facebook and click through to the company’s website. All of those things are forms of backlinks, links leading from one website from an external source. The more of these kinds of links you can get to lead to your website, the more exposure you’ll get.
As you can see, backlinks help your website in two ways: by helping the search engine spiders to find you, and by increasing your reach and exposure.