SEO Optimization: Backlinks

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are the web pages that point back to your website. The more you have, the more you appear on top of search engines. Not link are created equal though: the more popular a link is, the more it brings you up. For example, a link with a high page rank will bring you lots more bonus points on google... Fine, lets get all page rank 10 links... brilliant idea, except generally, it is harder to get listed on high page rank sites like wikipedia.

Types of links

There are several types of links:

It is important to distinguish further how sites link to each other:

  • Two way links - Great way to get started... many people will link to you if you link to them. These links are also called reciprocal links. you link to me, I link back to you... they are useful but not as potent as one way link in the eyes of search engines. It is still a good way to get started.
  • One way links - someone links to your website. Generally the best scenario but they are also the most difficult type of links to get. A good way to get some are web directories (paid or free). Also, have your URL in your profiles, your posts in communities.  In the long run, the best way to get links is through having fresh quality content... people will tend to link to you naturally.
  • Three way links: Person A links to site B, Site B links to site C and site C links to site A... Many times the links go through an intermediary

Homepage links vs deeplinks:

  • home page links  - hyperlinks that point to your main web page. The more you have, the more your ranking go up.
  • deep links - links that link back to a specific page within your website (not the main page)

Ways to get links

A few ways exist to get links.

  • Web directories such as DMoz are a great way to start
  • Ask your partners - many times, they will be happy to link to you
  • social networks - great way to engage potential visitors which in turn - if they like your content will post your link too
  • Profiles - make sure all your profiles link to you
  • Forum posts - always have your url in your forum post. Not worth much for each link but hey
  • Paid links - can boost temporarily your popularity but not necessarily the best way in the long run. Not only do many of the paid services eventually lose their page rank but as soon as you stop paying, you lose all these links
  • Fresh content & RSS feeds - that is the best way in the long run to get increasing number of links to your content. Combined with publishing to social networks. It is a great way to get links in the long run, builds brand awareness... and get the traffic of visitors coming back.

Not all are considered traditionally SEO per say like engaging social media... but keep in mind the more people come to your web site, the more they will talk about you, the more physical links you will get... which equals more traffic... which is the reason you are doing SEO in the first place

So which links are best/ which should I focus on?

Ideally, you should aim for one way links that are nested within a page of content from a high ranking site (also called an authority web site) but they are not always easy to get into unless you have quality content or money to spend. Again because quality content is king for SEO, it makes the process a lot easier if you have such content... sometimes you may get linked to without asking.

Of course, until you get such links, 2 way links are a good way to get started. Links in forum posts, user profiles are always a good plus. Posting links in social networks like twitter and facebook may help though not necessarily directly. Note that due to recent changes, posting on google plus may effect rankings of your contacts in google search results.

Whatever you do, avoid getting links from bad neighborhoods. and be careful about blackhat SEO... it may give you a temporary boost, but big sites like BMW or walmart have learned the hard way after they had been delisted/blacklisted by google for trying to game the system.