What are backlinks? Link Referral 101

In the Search Engine Optimization world, backlinks are your websites referrals: proof others vouch for your content and its quality. The more links appear on other sites quoting something from yours, the more value your website or page will have to users, Google and other search engines.

Quality vs. Quantity

As it tends to happen with SEO, quantity means little next to quality. When determining the value of a website to a searcher and how much visibility it should have, search engines take into consideration both factors. However, followed backlinks from trustworthy, high authority sites will always be considered much more valuable than those coming from low authority and potentially spammy sites.

In fact, although followed links are definitely something to aim for – it doesn’t mean that no-follow links aren’t valuable. Just the mention of your site on a high quality website is good enough to give your business a thumbs up in the eyes of users and search engines.

Where to start? Competitive Backlink Research

The reason why you create (or should strive to) great content for your site is making it interesting enough so that people will want to use and share it. The more they share your webpage by linking to it, the more visitors will want to come in. So, backlinks from sites with content related to yours will always be much more valuable than those coming from any random corner of the web.

So, when it comes to link building, the first thing to do may be a little something called competitive backlink research, which basically means digging into your competitor’s backlink profile (the list of pages and domains linking to a website) in order to gain insight about the link building that may have helped them rank well for your target keywords, so you can now target these domains as well on your own campaigns.

Remember, Quality Over Quantity: How to Attract Valuable Backlinks

Now that you know who to target when it comes to generating backlinks, you can add up to the great results by making sure your site is regularly updated with great quality content, repairing any broken links on it and establishing a presence on social media that continuously links to your website.

While looking at your competitor’s backlink profile, use the domains that show up as a leverage and make sure your site’s being noticed by them through the making of quality comments on their posts, asking to be added to their specific directories related to your niche or geographic area and guest posting.

Remember, Google works hard to penalize and stop the effects of sketchy plans such as buying, trading backlinks or abuse them in any way – “link farms” anyone? – so stay away from these sorts of strategies and focus on generating quality links by creating great content and promotion within your site’s area of interest.

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See Also: Competitive SEO, Technical SEO, SEO is High Tech Work.