A Short How and Why of Backlinks

Ever since search engines got more sophisticated than ‘just a list of websites’, people have been trying to manipulate the factors that rate and rank their sites – a task made more difficult by the fact that  these factors change on a regular basis.

Search engines want to give us exactly what they think we asked for, modified by their chances of making some money for themselves (cynics eye view). We as website owners want roughly the same thing except that any money flowing should come our way.

So what can we do to improve the situation in our favour?

All that used to be necessary to get a top ranking was to get a few backlinks from other sites to ours. Then it became backlinks from relevant sites (same or similar niche to ours). Now there are over 200 factors to take into account and as an non SEO expert I couldn’t begin to know a quarter of them, (so if any SEO expert catches me out then please feel free to comment and let me know. I’m just basing this article I what I perceive to be popular opinion).

External links and their sources are still important, so more weight is given to a link from a website that talks about similar things to what yours does. That doesn’t mean that off-topic backlinks don’t count, they just count less. Also how important the providing website and web page already are in the search engine’s eyes – The site rank and the page rank.

Blog posting and commenting is still good for backlinks, provided the content it relevant. Short comments are not usually given much credence, but longer comments are. Some webmasters try to qualify any backlinks from their comments as ‘no-follow’ which means search engines should not follow them, but since they do anyway it doesn’t seem to achieve much. Perhaps a little more weight is given to a follow backlink (as opposed to the no-follow backlink) but it seems to make far less difference than it used to.

It’s not just where the links come from but also what words are used to link back and sometimes the words around the link. So you can have links that involve keywords as the link or you can just have: For more information on this keyword – Click Here with the ‘click here’ holding the link code.

It is also good for your own page and site rank if you link to external authority sites, for example linking to Wikipedia for an authority definition of a word or phrase. I guess this shows the search engines that you acknowledge other sources of information, which makes you more trustworthy and reliable.

One other way to improve your own site’s status is with internal linking between pages. WordPress is useful here as it isn’t difficult (and it’s usually advisory) to use part of a margin column to hold ‘recent post’ links.

A final thought here is to remind you that if you thought you were clever and set up lots of websites on one hosting account is that you need to know that all the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses will be the same for each one of your sites and although they might have different domain names, search engines may see them as the same place. Bad news if a bunch of friends all got together for mutual backlinking and found they were all on the same host and server. As above, the backlinks wouldn’t necessarily be invalid, just they wouldn’t carry so much weight.

So here you have the briefest of outlines to how search engines rank your site and pages. As always, feel free to comment. I love reading them and try to reply to all of them too. The website that you type into the registration block becomes a backlink from your name, so there’s a bonus for you there, and on this occasion, if there’s a link in your comment too I’ll let it through if I think it adds value to the conversation here.

To get 500 free backlinks to a site or page of your choice (and these are good backlinks, not spammy ones) just visit http://bit.ly/links4free They’re actually rather good, certainly as good as any you could get on Fiverr and great for boosting individual blog posts up the rankings a bit.

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8 Comments

  • hey steve
    i do agree backlinks play a vital role in terms of SEO but any difference in negative side of it like you know maybe rankings nofollow links and less PR website
    thanks anyway it was informative

    • Hi Supreeth,
      Thanks for coming by and commenting. Once you get established then you can be more fussy about where you place your links, but I believe, that as long as you stick to related niche sites you shouldn’t go far wrong.
      Regards,

      Steven Lucas

  • Dawn on

    While backlinks are important, I’d rather spend time on delivering content that will bring people people back to the site.

    I do know that your backlinks should look natural. Follow, no-follow links has seeminging always been a topic of debate.

    Keyword variation is also important when you backlink.

    While Private Blog Networks (PBN’s) are popular once again, I suspect that if you are using the same one over and over, that the search engines will eventually figure out what is going on (even with keyword variation). Those networks also have premium pricing.

    One thing I recommend you never do is use an automated bot software for backlinking. They are inaccurate in choosing sites to link to and they are also spammy.

    So I suppose that if you really do want to do backlinking that does not flow from your site directly, then paying for manual linking with a PBN would be your safest bet.

  • onyeka on

    Thanks for the insight into back links and how they affect ranking. I have always been advised not to acquire mass back links as they could hurt blog ranking. I’m certainly not a slave to google ranking, but I do not want to risk my blogs being axed as a result of these kind of links. Have you personally used them successfully?

    • Hi Onyenka,
      I’m very much of the slow but sure approach by blog and forum commenting. I make sure I give full replies where possible of 150+ word count.

      I’m not a slave to trying to rank, especially not in the IM niche where you probably need tens of thousands of links to make a real difference. For now, just write quality posts. Post your links in quality places and give value with your own comments. You can’t go far wrong with that.
      Regards,

      Steven Lucas

  • Tim on

    Great information Steve. I have often wondered about backlinks and there real value. I am going to read and digest this a little further but thanks for the post. This whole SEO thing is a tough nut to crack.

  • Hi Steven, thanks for the post. Few things to ask.
    1) What is the ‘follow’ , ‘no follow’ about?
    2) I didnt know the length of a blog comment matter. can help elaborate or at least, is there a so call minimum no. of word count??

    Thanks 🙂

    • kelly on

      Follow means google’s search engine will index the page and then count the links of that page to links outside of the domain name.

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