The Basics of Backlinking
Search engine algorithms change on a frequent basis, but one factor has remained the same. The basics of backlinking. Links to your website are one of the best tools that will help increase website traffic and keyword ranking. Think of links as votes from other people that are giving your website credibility. There are certain criteria’s that search engines consider for these links to be considered valid votes. Consider that when you start to build up your inbound link strategy. These include:
- Link Relevancy
- NoFollow Links
- Authority of the linking Website
- Disqualified/Bad Links
There are few factors that are considered when search engines calculate link relevancy. A well-established website will have a large amount of outbound links to similar topics as their own content. Overall website content is also added into consideration, including the text surrounding website links. Google holds a patent for code that specifically analyzes the text around website links to calculate how relevant the content is to the link itself.
What’s a ‘NoFollow’ Link?
Do you remember the crawlers that we talked about in our previous article “What does SEO stand for and why do we need it“? Well even computer programs need instructions and ‘NoFollow’ links fall under that category.
Imagine a car driving down a road until it hits a 2 way section. The 2 different ways may have their own road signs indicating which way you’re allowed to travel. In this example one road could have a ‘do not enter’ sign on it informing you that you shouldn’t follow that way of traffic. NoFollow links have that same type of sign attached to them to tell search engine crawlers that yes it’s a link (or road from our previous example), but they should not follow that way of traffic. These kinds of links will not be followed by the crawlers and therefor will not count towards your overall page authority.
So why do ‘NoFollow’ links exist if they do not improve your websites ranking or overall SEO?
The simple answer is that its a way for search engines to determine who has valuable and relevant content. The majority of search engines nowadays offer paid search engine marketing. To keep it fair, there has to be a way to determine if a link is for paid traffic or not. If search engine results were impacted by paid advertisers, then the search engine itself would lose credibility. Currently you can purchase better placement on the page, but you cannot purchase top keyword ranks. That is only achieved through time and the basics of backlinking.
There are cases though when its debatable if NoFollow links are still beneficial to your websites overall ranking. High authority sites like wikipedia only use NoFollow links, so technically they give you no ranking benefit. However they can still provide credibility and traffic.
Most users will never check if a link is DoFollow or NoFollow when browsing their favorite websites. Users do not care what kind of link it is, they only care if the content is good and relevant to them.
Show respect for authority
This one is a pretty simple one. Respectable and relevant websites (good content, large number of viewers / users, a lot of inbound / outbound links) receive more link credit / authority than for example a website with minimal content and links. It’s like when you’re trying to find a news article about a recent event. Would you trust a small news website over a major news network like BBC? Most likely not.
Unnatural and disqualified links. Don’t try to cheat the system
The reality of SEO is that it’s easy to find plenty of ‘providers’ who offer large amounts of backlinks for a cheap and affordable price. Unfortunately, these kinds of services can often hurt your website ranking more than they help. If you follow the basics of backlinking, then you will probably never have to worry about having any bad links. Defining what exactly a ‘bad link’ is will usually turn into its own kind of discussion.
The general rule though is that organic links that are created for new content on your website are most likely search engine friendly. Believe us when we say that search engines will be able to tell if a website is suddenly flooded with backlinks and traffic. Yes, a new website jumping from 2-3 daily viewers to 400 – 500 looks suspicious even to computers. Do yourself (and your business) a favor and simply try to not use these kind of services. If you’re curious about your current backlink count, then you can try out MonitorBacklinks.Com. They provide you with a quick overview of how many backlinks your site has.
Now that you know the basics about backlinking its important to follow through with this new information. It all comes back to the rule of building a website with good content, so that more viewers will want to check out the rest of your website. The links will follow naturally.