If you haven’t thought about your backlink profile until now, this guide from Broadband Genie’s Alex Tofts will give you all you need to start and to unlock the potential SEO power in your business.
So what is a backlink, and why are they so valuable?
A backlink is simply where one website links to another website. Think of a link as a thumbs up or a vote of confidence for your business. The more thumbs up you have, the more likely you are to rank for relevant search queries.
Value of links
Not all links pass the same amount of value. Getting a link from highly trusted, popular or high authoritative website will pass more value to your website than those from the other end of the spectrum.
It’s difficult to say how much more value a link from a website such as the BBC that has a domain authority (DA) of 93 but it would be worth more than, say, ten links from lower-quality sites in the 10-30 DA range.
Another way to think about it is, if I say Simon is a good cricket player, that doesn’t really matter because I’m a terrible cricket player. But if Freddie Flintoff says Simon is a good cricket player, now we’re talking.
Supercharging search results
Search engines use links in two ways.
- Finding new web pages. When a site is crawled and indexed by a search engine, they use links to find new pages and look at the number of links pointing to that page from other websites. Google published this videoabout how it works.
- Links as a ranking factor. No one knows the exact formula in google’s algorithm, but in the 1990s, Google dominated the search engine scene with links as the significant metric.
All evidence points towards links still being one of the main ranking factors in Googles algorithm. Moz has an annual piece of research that looks into this. Every year their study has shown a clear positive correlation between the number of links pointing to a webpage and its position in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Obtaining high-quality links could give your site or a particular page the boost it needs to jump one or two places in the search results. Gaining just one position can boost your click-through rate (CTR) by 7% plus on top of any referral traffic.
Where to start
Building links is an essential part of an SEO strategy, but this can be a time-consuming process. Here are a few quick wins to get you started.
- Snap up existing brand mentions. Enter your business name in quotation marks into a search engine and find results where they have not linked out. You will soon have a list of targets.
- Guest posting. Reach out to sites and offer your expertise to write an article for them, in return they will be happy to give you a backlink to your business.
- Testimonials. Have a think about what services your business uses and get in touch if you can write a review for them to post on their website.
Sometimes you will get a link and notice a bit of extra code in the page source. The “Rel=nofollow” is the PR’s and Off-site SEO’s arch-nemesis. This is where a website has asked search engines to ignore that link and thus any “link juice” is not passed to your site.
It’s always worth asking the website owner or editor if they can remove the nofollow tag. Even if you’re unsuccessful getting this turned around, it’s not doing any harm to your business. In fact, just being mentioned on an authoritative site can boost your rankings.
- Mention (free). This is great for spotting those brand mentions without having to do the leg work.
- Hunter (100 searches a month free). Can’t find the right contact? Simply type in the website or person to track down the contact details. If Hunter can’t find it, they normally provide the best guess on the email format. Paid options are available if you’re burning through the 100 searches a month too fast.
- Ahrefs (plans available from £77). For those looking to advance their link building strategy, Ahrefs has plenty of tools that you can apply to broken link building, analysis of your own links or your competitors link profile.
You can also check out more Free SEO Tools in one of our previous blogs.