Gone are the days when you could simply write a few keyword rich sentences and get your website on the first page of Google! Nowadays you have to be a little bit more canny and use other methods to ensure your content is being read by your targeted customers. ‘Backlinks’ are a recent tool that writers can use to ensure increased traffic to their sites. So what exactly are they and how can you use them correctly?
Backlinks are where you link your website to another site. You can use any word to make a link, the actual website address or name of the company, a keyword that is relevant to your topic can also be used. The more backlinks you have, the better as it is an indication of how popular or important your site is. We are finding that Google, especially, will send more traffic to websites that have a large number of good quality backlinks, and they will consider these websites to be more trustworthy and creditable than others who do not. Not all backlinks are the same however and you should be careful when choosing who you are going to link back to. Search engines are looking for three main points in backlinks:
Relevance: So if your website is about selling secondhand cars and you have several links to other garages or local mechanics, these are considered to be relevant. Do not be tempted to link to other sites of no relevance, for instance you would not link a car garage to a spa resort.
Quality: Make sure that the sites you do link back to are of a good quality, so if you are showcasing a new product on your site and John Lewis happen to stock it, link back to them. Or if you are blogging about a new film that has just come out, link to the official trailer.
Amount: A large number of backlinks on your website shows you have content that is important and relevant to the targeted customer. A site that has many backlinks is viewed by search engines as trustworthy and popular. Especially if the backlinks themselves are also linked in turn.
Do not try and manipulate backlinking however, as Google in particular have become wise to practically every trick you can think of. Some webmasters have tried to create multiple backlinks by using hidden links, or automatically generated pages whose only purpose is to provide backlinks to websites. Called link farms, they are totally disregarded by search engines, and you could even get your website banned by them. And be wary of linking to websites that are untrustworthy, as there is currently a Google patent in the works that will deal with not only the popularity of the sites being linked to, but also how trustworthy a site is that you link to from your own website.
So basically choose high quality backlinks, try and get a large number of them and keep them relevant. Remember, search engines are always looking for good, trustworthy sites to push traffic to as they also have their reputation to keep. They will not send traffic to any sites they are not sure about and having good quality backlinks is one way they can know instantly if you are a reputable website.