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Published by George; 08-Mar-2013, 07:39:23
Revised: 08-Mar-2013, 08:01:19
I'm always asked this question by non Web professionals and it kind of annoys me that people aren't more clued up about the Web, especially when this is such a basic topic. Many so-called Web enthusiasts also don't know what backlinks are/why they need them/how to get them, which is a little sad for the industry. Anyway, this article is aimed at beginners to "web dev" and SEO, so I hope I can provide you with a little information and improve your understanding.
Easy questions first, so what is a backlink? You've probably become used to this kind of explanation when it comes to SEO:
“ backlinks are hypertext references that point to your document sitemap structure and/or content in an attempt at positively effect your SERP in any given search engine or ranking system. The backlink anchor is an important aspect of any SEO campaign and should be considered when building your own backlinks for the purposes of SEO.
That's probably the kind of horrible, nasty explanation many people have come to expect nowadays from the so-called experts. So, a backlink is simply a link from a website to another website. It is a hypertext link that points "back" to another site on the Internet somewhere.
Just for clarification, the "anchor" is actually just the text used as the link itself. For example "click here for more info" would be the anchor text in that link.
Every website on the Internet needs backlinks at some point in its life. A website with no backlinks is like a swimming pool with no water... it's pointless. Backlinks are the mainstay of your traffic and search engine rankings and without them, you might as well not exist in the first place.
A backlink from a website is like a vote for you. It's that website's way of letting the search engines know that it thinks you're good enough to share some of its traffic with, hence that website is vouching for you. If Barack Obama had no votes in is 2008 election, would he have been put in charge of the United States? Likewise, if your website has no backlinks, why should Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines care about it? Why should any search engine put that website on page one without a single backlink? No votes means no page one, I'm afraid.
This is not an absolute, and I accept that it is more than possible to get to page one for keywords and phrases that are not competitive, mainly the words and phrases that only get hundreds-to-thousands of searches a month, but if you're trying to rank for a competitive keyword or phrase with no backlinks, forget it!
The old "how do I get backlinks" question strikes again. If you want a more detailed explanation on how to get backlinks with not much work and effort, see our article on how to get easy backlinks.
Squidoo, HubPages, EzineArticles, Blogger, GoArticles, WordPress and others, are all fantastic websites freely available for you to use. Squidoo, HubPages, EzineArticles and GoArticles are all free article submission sites available to the general public. They each have their own policies, but allow submission of almost any type of article and give you the privilege of adding links to your website/pages. The best sites are:
Submit your RSS feed
Setting up an RSS feed for your site is a convenient, simple and free method you can utilise to gain backlinks to your website. Once you've set up an RSS feed, you can submit it to any and all or the RSS directories available. Some popular ones include:
Submitting your website to web directories can provide you with high quality one-way links (to your site) without much effort. If you haven't already submitted your site to any of the freely available directories, I recommend doing so. Some free ones include:
Any quality SEO campaign is going to take time and effort, of course, but that doesn't mean it has to be difficult. Your SEO campaign is an ongoing job that never ends, and you will always be faced with the task of driving traffic to your website.
The key to building a successful campaign is to have other people do the work for you. What do I mean by this? What I'm trying to say is you are not supposed to create your own backlinks. We all have to start somewhere, so giving yourself a kick-start is absolutely fine, but it is not reasonable to assume that one person, even two or three, can successfully compete with the big players when it comes to SEO. That is why you need other people linking to your content.
Of course now you're thinking there's some special trick, place or secret that you can learn to get a bunch of people to start doing your work for you. No, not so; what I mean to say is that you're going to be creating high-quality content for your readers (right?), so naturally they're going to want to read it, share it and link to it.
The old adage "content is king" is absolutely true. Your content is the lifeblood of your website, without it you have nothing to offer (unless you're a service-based business), so naturally the more you have, the more likely someone is going to link back to it. The more high-quality content you have, the higher the chance that any given reader is going to want to share it. See our article on writing high quality content if you want some tips on SEO and producing quality content.
So, backlinks are the most important part of SEO, but getting backlinks should be secondary to producing the highest quality content you can, content that attracts those links in the first place. Think about YouTube: the most "rated" videos are almost always the ones which receive the most views. The reason is because the search engine within YouTube favours the content with the best ratings. Generally a video with the most ratings is the video that most people enjoy/want to watch, and that's just how the system works. It may not always be fair when something that's clearly s**t goes viral, but backlinks are like ratings for your website. The more you get, the higher you rank.
Focus most of your energy on producing the best of the best of the cream of the crop when it comes to content. Make your work stand out from the crowd, make it attractive, make it sweet and desirable. That's the key. If you do this, you will naturally gain the backlinks you deserve.
Keeping with the YouTube analogy: just how many subscribers do you think you can generate by creating puppet accounts and subscribing to yourself? How many accounts can you realistically make in a day, week... month? How long will it be before you simply give up trying to create puppet accounts and accept the fact that you need other people to do it for you.