Technically, a backlink is any link received by a web node from another web node. In Google terms, backlinks are viewed as a voting mechanism by search engines. Although other ranking factors (content, speed, user experience, etc.) have increased in importance, backlinks are still a vital component of website’s ability to rank for a given keyword or topic. In this blog, you will learn about backlinks, anchor texts, misconceptions of backlinks, and tips on link building.
Good vs. Bad Backlinks
When thinking about backlinking, there are many ways that make it a good backlink, but there are also ways that make it a bad backlink.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
- Backlinks for authoritative sites on a given topic
- Both sites have content geared toward the keyword topic
- Anchor text and web page content congruence are highly weighted in SERPs
- The backlink and anchor test are properly contextualized within the article
What Makes a Bad Backlink?
- Topically irrelevant domain
- Lack of contextualization from the article to the anchor text
- Spammy anchor texts
- Low authority domain
Backlinking should not waste your time, therefore, knowing how to backlink will help you build your next backlink plan.
Why is Anchor Text Important?
First, let’s start off with the Semrush definition: Anchor text is the clickable text that appears in a hyperlink. The importance of an anchor text is:
- Description of the page being linked to
- Contextualizes the reference between sites
- Allows the user to effectively target high-value keywords with link building
- Helps search engines understand what keywords the site is relevant for/trying to rank for
If you are trying to understand how to use an anchor text, here are a few best practices from linkgraph to help you:
- 30-50% of your anchor texts should be branded keywords or naked URLs
- Do not over-optimize for exact-match phrases; use semantic variations of your primary keyword
- Include natural anchors such as “read more”, “click here”, “according to”, etc.
- Annotation text is just as important as the anchor text
Misconceptions of Backlinking
There are always misconceptions about everything you do and see. Here are two misconceptions on backlinking:
- If I earn a large number of quality backlinks in 30 days, I will outrank my competitors.
This statement was true about 10-20 years ago, but now the quality of the link is more important than the quantity of links. Having a consistent flow of topically relevant backlinks pointing to your site month over month will be exponentially better than having a large burst of links followed by periods of no activity.
- Backlinks alone determine if a website will rank well in search engines.
Backlinks are simply one of the hundreds of ranking factors search engines use to sort web pages. Other core factors include relevance of content, quality of content, usability of web page, context and settings.
Tips on Link Building
There are many different types of link building. A few include guest posting, business listings/directories, editorial links including HARO, user generated content (UGC) links, and digital PR. To increase your success rate of link building, here are a few ways to start:
- Look at your competitors and create a look-alike segment of publications/websites
- Review the content strategy of each publication
- Draft your articles and pitches
- Find a way to connect with the site owner, editor, or journalist (Email, Contact Forms, Social Media, Link to them first)
Backlinking can be time consuming, but in the long run, it is still important to boost your web page ranking on search engines. Link Building remains a fundamental building block to a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) program.