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What Are Backlinks (and Do They Still Matter)?

Backlinks for SEO

Exploring the role that backlinks plays in SEO

Google and the other search engines use (roughly) 200 ranking factors as they determine which site should rank first and which sites should rank last.  Of all these factors, backlinks seems to get the most attention.  This article will explore what backlinks are and why they get so much attention.

What Are Backlinks?

Quite simply, a backlink is one website mentioning another website and linking to it. It is not merely referencing the website or it’s web address. It has to be a clickable link.  So me simply talking about Google doesn’t count as a backlink but if I link to Google, that is a backlink.

Why Do Backlinks Matter?

If you are important or influential, people talk about you.  If your website is useful or interesting, people will link to you.  The more influential or interesting you are, the more backlinks your website should have, right?  Well, it’s not quite that simple.  In a future article we will be writing about specific steps you can take to get more LEGITIMATE backlinks.  Think about it.  Can you imagine how many links there are on the internet pointing back to Nike?  Every kid who gets a new pair of Nike basketball shoes might post about it on social media.  Every shoe store that sells Nike shoes might have a link back to their website.  There must be millions of backlinks to Nike.  Now contrast that with the local sneaker shop.  How many backlinks do you think they have?  Who is talking about them or linking to them?  Not too many websites (in most cases).  This is why backlinks are such an important factor for Google’s ranking algorithm.  It’s like a “vote” by the world.  Whoever has the most votes, wins.

A Little Backlink History

In the early days of search engines, backlinks were everything. In those days, you could launch a website and create a whole lot of links from many different websites pointing to your new site and before you knew it, the new site was on the first page.  As a result, unscrupulous SEO companies popped up all over the internet and would charge website owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars to list your site across thousands of “link farms”.  It was an easy way to cheat Google.  Those days are gone.  Search engines have become much smarter and these backlink stuffing tricks don’t work anymore.

A Quick SEO Warning

Some SEO companies still use the “blackhat SEO” technique of listing your website link on link farms.  If they do, you risk being blacklisted by Google.  Your ranking might shoot up fast for a few weeks, but eventually, Google will catch up with you and your site might lose everything you gained and more!  Be careful.  This is serious stuff!

How Can You See Your Backlinks?

You can use a free service online like Majestic SEO to track your backlinks.  There is also a great professional tool called Moz.  Both of these tools allow you to see who is linking to your website.  Once you learn more about backlink building, these tools become very important.

The Right Way to Build Backlinks

As discussed above, we will be writing a detailed article about this topic, but for now, we will keep it simple.  Create great content!

The more interesting and useful something is, the more likely it is that people will talk about it and share it.

That’s the first part.

Once you have created the content, it is up to you to promote it, to share it, to “push” it out into the world.

Once you understand how to create true quality content and you understand how to promote that content … you simply need to DO it, over and over and over again.  THAT is how you win at the backlinks game.

Our DotCom team is amazing at creating high-quality backlinks that attracts higher Google rankings.  From awesome content writers to designers, graphic artists, backlink builders, SEO specialists, and more … it truly takes a team to get this work done and it takes an experienced and talented team to get it done correctly.  Contact us if you’d like to explore how we can help your Google rankings.

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