What is a Backlink and Why Should I Care?

by Justin Lewis

Over 10 years ago I wrote up an extremely detailed post titled “What is a Backlink?” and that post ended up ranking right at the top of the search engines within the first month. Back then, all you had to do was have a good title, a lot of content and have other websites link to that page for it to rank. When those others sites linked to that page, those links were called backlinks.

To make it even easier to digest when you click on a link on Facebook that links to another website out of Facebook, that website received a backlink. In other words, when you visit a Facebook page and see a link to another website it helps that website. However, it’s not as simple as that.

in fact, there are MANY different ways that backlinks work online.

Here are a couple simple examples of backlinks:

  • Anchor Text: This is when a word or phrase links to another website.
  • Image Links: When an image links to another website.
  • Button Links: Similar to a word or phrase, however in the form of a button like “Learn More” or “Buy Now.”

I will soon be posting up a very in-depth post explaining exactly what backlinks are, but this is meant to be a simplified version.

Beyond this there are things called do follow and no follow links, however my suggestion is if you are just starting out you should ignore these terms. Keep it simple for now and think about what’s going to benefit you. A Backlink shouldn’t be created just for the sake of a Backlink, instead it should be created to generate traffic.

Now that you know the type of backlinks, here are examples of where you can get backlinks that could potentially generate traffic to your website:

  • Directories
  • Social Media
  • Guest Blogging
  • Forums
  • Commenting on Articles
  • Press Releases

Note that you can’t just write content, you must also link from these external websites to your website using a hyperlink like the following example using anchor text:

Keep Going Daily

The anchor text in this link is “Keep Going Daily” however you don’t have to use anchor text that is the name of the business/website, you can also use keywords that relate.

Here’s another example but linking to the same page:

Motivational Blog

Now the anchor text is “Motivational Blog” which means it’s more specific AND it could potentially help me rank higher for the phrase itself.

Also note that I’m making it so when you click on the link above it opens in a new window, this is suggested when you link to another website outside of your own. By doing this you keep visitors on your website once they’re done reviewing or visiting the site outside of yours.

To summarize, backlinks can help your website rank higher in the search engines. I would suggest more than focusing on ranking to instead think of getting links on websites where they generate you traffic. A backlink that people actually click is absolutely more valuable than one that just exists for rankings.

Stay on the lookout for an detailed resource I’ll be posting soon explaining what backlinks are and how to get them. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m sure it will help many business owners and developers online.

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