When Google’s algorithms are calculating where each individual website page should rank, there are somewhere in the region of 200 – 250 different factors that it takes into consideration. Within those ranking factors there are some that make a minuscule difference, and there are some which make a significant impact on where a page ranks.
Up at the very top, and by all reckoning, one of the top three ranking factors Google assesses, is the backlinks that go to a web page. Incidentally, you will note we say a web page and not a website. The reason for that is that Google does not actually rank a website, but instead ranks every web page within that site.
Obviously, the home page is likely to be the most important page, and the one likely to have the most backlinks linking to it. However, for SEO purposes always bear in mind that every page within your website will be ranked individually by Google, so when it comes to your backlink strategy do not overlook linking to the inner pages of your website.
Link building 101
if you are new to SEO or have never sought to rank a website before then you might be asking what backlinking is all about, so let us answer that briefly.
When Google is determining the rank of website, it uses a number of signals to determine its authority and importance. Obviously, the higher these are, the more likely that Google will consider it deserves a higher ranking than websites where these are low. The primary way in which Google measures a website’s authority is by the backlinks that are linking to it, from other websites.
A backlink is a bit like a mark of approval or vote of confidence. The more other websites ‘vote’ for another, the higher its importance will appear to be. Google assumes that the backlink is there because the website owner that links from their site to the other wants to send their visitors to it. This virtual seal of approval is a large positive with regards to SEO and ranking.
You might think that having read this, that the easiest way to get ranked highly is to go out and generate as many backlinks as you can. That can get you so far, but you will soon discover that some of your competitors, who have fewer links to their websites than you do, are still outranking you, even if all other ranking factors seem equal.
There is a simple reason for that; the backlinks that they have coming to their website carry more power than yours do. This brings us to a core concept regarding backlinks that you need to fully understand, and that is not all backlinks are created equally.
In other words, the ‘votes’ analogy that we used, if applied here, means that some votes, carry more weight than others. That means that backlinks each have different power, and the higher quality they are, the more power they will distribute.
Giving Google What It Wants
Google has released countless updates and information bulletins about what it is looking for when it comes to ranking websites. To make things more difficult for us in the SEO industry, that changes quite frequently, and in some cases, Google reverses some of its policies.
One policy that has been at the core of Google’s thinking for some time, is that it wants its search engine to produce results for its customers that have high quality as can be. In practical terms what that means is it seeks to rank higher those websites that it believes are high quality and carry some authority.
By doing so, it hopes that by having those sites nearer the top of their rankings what those searching will find are more trusted businesses and organisations, whose websites offer an experience for the visitor that meets with their approval.
What Google does not want is for low-quality websites that have barely any content worth reading or looking at. The fear Google has if that is what those searching are taken to when they click through to a highly ranked, but, low-quality website, then those people will start using a different search engine, in the hope of finding better quality results.
This is one of the main reasons that Google views high authority and trust as premium factors when determining its rankings. By doing so, it seeks to ensure that those searching online will continue to use their search engine. With backlinks, it has an ideal way of measuring that trust and authority, and this why the quality of backlinks is so important.
Why Does Quality Matter?
The question of quantity versus quality is one that is should be relatively easier to answer, as Google has made it clear what their preference is. It, therefore, seems bizarre that there are still some website owners, and even some SEO consultants who should know better, that think creating as many as links as possible is the way to do it.
No one is saying do not try to build as comprehensive an amount of backlinks as you can. However, this needs to be done in as natural a way as possible, otherwise, Google might flag it as spam. If you simply go out and obtain hundreds of backlinks and they all suddenly show up on Google’s radar at once, that will look highly suspicious.
If you think about it, is it natural that a website is going to have 200 websites all link to it in a matter of days? Of course not, and Google thinks that too, so instead of all those links helping you, they can actually hinder you.
Also if you give no thought to the quality of those links, and the sites you link from are low quality, or worse, spam websites, then Google will consider you guilty by association, In other words, they will class your website as also being low quality and not worthy of being ranked highly.
What beggar’s belief sometimes in terms of seeing those who are looking for shortcuts is, it does not take that much more work and effort to obtain high-quality links, than it does low-quality ones.
The difference is that if you are building backlinks from quality sites, each one of those links can have greater power, and influence on your ranking, than 10, 20, or even 50 low-quality ones.
Obtaining High-Quality Backlinks
One of the most effective ways of creating a backlinking strategy that will generate high-quality backlinks to your website is for it to be part of an SEO campaign. This will ensure that not only are you building a strong backlink portfolio but that they are also generated at a natural pace, thus Google will give you credit for them in terms of rankings.
Here at SEO Experts we can create and implement such a backlink strategy, either as a stand-alone service, or as part of a larger SEO campaign. Either way, it should boost your rankings, and thus generate more traffic to your website.
Should you wish to go it alone and build up your backlinks yourself, there is a simple process for how you might consider doing it. You take the direct approach and having done some research to determine which are the high authority websites you would like a backlink from, you email the business or website owner.
Now, do not simply ask them to link to you as this is almost certain to get you an emphatic, ‘No’, and possibly even see your email marked as spam. Instead, you first compliment them on their website and then offer to write a blog post or some other form of content for them.
Either send them an example or point them to previous content you have created so that they can see it is good enough to be published on their site.
The reason this approach can work is, first, you are praising them, and this obviously appeals to their ego. Second, content creation is time-consuming, and if they have someone willing to create content for them to save them doing it themselves, generating a link from that content is a small price for them to pay.
Never, Ever Pay For Backlinks
One final point we must make, and that is no matter how keen you are to boost your ranking, and no matter how much budget you may have for your marketing, never, ever, be tempted to pay for backlinks to your website.
You might come across other website owners who swear by it as a means to get ranked quickly, but it means taking a huge risk with your business.
Google’s systems almost certainly are able to tell when backlinks have been created normally, or when they have come from some kind of link farm, The scary things is with Google is, you are guilty until proven innocent, so they will simply delist you, and ask questions later.
If you have paid for links, you really have no defence, and that means your website has basically been banned from Google. Do not put your website and business in harm’s way.
If you are unsure what to do next to start your linking building strategy, get in touch, and we will be happy to advise you on how to get started. View our: SEO Case Studies