Backlinks: Because You Were too Afraid to Ask What They Were

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in SEO

by Sage

Afraid woman screamingHave you ever had a conversation with your web designer and they keep mentioning backlinks, or perhaps overheard some colleagues with a website discussing the importance of having backlinks to their site, and you have no idea what they are talking about. You understand that it is an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization, but thought that a backlink was just the act of clicking the back button in your web browser.

If you are looking to boost your rankings for your website within Google, there is one thing that is essential to any search engine campaigns: building backlinks with keyword targeted anchor text.

Now after reading this I would suggest that you do not fixate on just backlinks for your site.  Keep in mind that proper SEO is like a table: It will need all four legs to work correctly.  I am sure that your table may be able to stand on two or three legs, but it will always be in a precarious position; much like your website will be if you only focus on one aspect of SEO.

What is a Backlink?
Backlink:(b?k-l?ngk) A link to your website from an external website or page.

What is Anchor Text?
Anchor Text: (?ng’k?r t?kst) The text that is used to within the link to a website

Here is a prime example of a backlink to a site that has resulted in a #1 position in Google.  If you go to Google right now and do a search for the term ‘click here‘ you will see that the download page for Adobe Reader is in the number one position.  Adobe.com has not attempted to optimize this page for the phrase ‘click here,’ but what has happened is that so many people have created links  to the Adobe Reader download page using ‘click here’ as the anchor text that Google has decided that this site is the most important site pertaining to the phrase ‘click here.’ Many sites will have something similar to following:

Can’t open the PDF? Click here to download Adobe Acrobat.

Google Click Here

So why do backlinks work?

Having backlinks to your site is almost like a vote of confidence from another website.  Basically the external website that is linking to your site is saying to Google: “I think this website is important, I also think that the anchor text that I have used accurately describes the site, or the site’s content.”  Keep in mind that Google will also take into account where the vote of confidence is coming from.  You want to ensure that this vote of confidence is coming from a decent source.

How do I determine if a site is good enough for a backlink?

To discern this you need to think: Quality.  Take a look at the site you would like a backlink from and answer the following three questions:

  1. Is the site relevant, or of a similar theme to mine?
  2. Do they provide quality content to their visitors?
  3. Do I think the site is reputable?

If you have answered yes to the questions above, then the site is probably a good candidate to solicit a backlink from.   Of course now that you know what a backlink is, and you know how to decide if it is a good candidate for a backlink you need to learn how to find these websites.  Stay tuned for a future post that will cover a few sites where you can easily obtain backlinks to your site.