Why you need a backlinking strategy

Written on 24 August, 2015 by Verity Meagher
Categories: Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation | Tags: google, search engine optimisation, search engines, seo

Tech teams are tweaking and refining search engine algorithms every day, and ranking as highly as possible is crucial for maximising leads and sales on the web. Quite simply, without a strong strategy for search, you risk missing out on profit and part of that strategy should be backlinking.

What is backlinking?

Backlinking, or external links, are hyperlinks that direct to any domain other than the domain the link exists on. In short, a backlink is another website’s link to your website.

The backlink study

For years now, Google has been telling marketers that backlinks are not important to their algorithms and that building links won’t help your website’s search positioning. To research this, a scientist over at SEOmoz, Dr Matthew Peters, performed an in-depth study examining the top 50 Google search results for approximately 15,000 competitive keywords to examine the factors that correlate with higher search rankings and how often. The study showed that the highest correlation occurred between better rankings and the number of linking websites. In fact, 99.2 percent of all websites had at least one external link, and the study found “almost no websites ranking for competitive search phrases that didn’t have at least a single external link pointing at them, and most had significantly more links.”

Clearly, backlinking is important. But that’s no reason to go back to the SEO techniques of circa 2007 and start using manipulative link-building techniques. Since the first Penguin algorithm in 2012, Google has dedicated time to sort the good links from the bad, and the safest way to proceed with link building is through good old honest link earning.

How do I earn links?

Even in the late ’90s, websites were focused on link building, but the methodology was more wholesome: a desire to earn links for the sake of directing relevant traffic to your site, rather than links for links’ sake. That’s what we need to return to.

The first step to earning links is to create great content that people really want to share. A useful, meaningful infographic or video; a beautiful photo shoot; a valuable piece of research; the genuine endorsement of a company or publication: all of these will give other websites and bloggers a reason to reference you with the kind of genuine and well-earned link that Google counts favourably in its algorithm.

Another way to earn links is to enter into a partnership with related businesses, bloggers and publishers and link back and forth to one another, but only if, when and where it’s relevant.

Working harder to create valuable content and experiences is a multi-benefit game, with backlinks being just one of the things that make it worth your while.

Do you have a manipulative backlinking horror story or an earned backlinking success story to share?