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What is a Backlink? And How Do You Get a GOOD One?

By Tim Brown
Updated May 15, 2020
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Links Matter in SEO Infographic
Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:

Have you ever been reading an article – and they link off to a useful resource, like this?

  • Every single link like that, that exists – is like a vote for that page that it’s linking to’s importance, in Google’s algorithm.
  • Some links votes count more than others.
  • You can do things to increase the amount of these links to your site.

The Briefest History of Backlink

Remember back in the day when Yahoo reigned supreme? Well, if you don’t it was basically a directory, with a very busy homepage, that you would use to drill down into categories to look for resources like what you wanted. It was busy – and the pressure was high. I still remember that little “What’s New” item on the top left, it was exciting!

 

 

But then! Ask Jeeves came a long, and people got used to typing in questions.. even though the answers weren’t always relevant, it started the ball rolling.

Then Google created a better index based on crawling pages, their word usage, and…. BACKLINKS

Backlinks were a great way for a program to be able to see – how important a page was. And Google started using ‘PageRank’ or other metrics to see what pages mattered the most.

  • If they had a lot of links to THEM, than the pages they linked to were powered up too. Early Search Engine Optimization specialists started rising up and using terms like “link juice.”
  • Early attempts as SEO were wild, and varied – spamming large amounts of links all across the internet, and Google evolved to make it harder to game the system.
  • Still – to this day, SEO specialists use linking efforts like ‘guest posting’ (writing articles on other people’s websites), press release distribution (like PRDistribution.com,) local directory listings (like Yext or this Fiverr gig).

Links Matter in SEO Infographic

Not all links are created equal – beware of creating links just for quantity

The problem with backlinks is…

That the easier they are to get unfortunately, the less of a Google ranking signal they SHOULD be.

Because if Google is super easy to game, then any new company could just come along and beat you out by building one more shitty backlink than you.

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So Google does it’s best to count legitimate, high-end, and popular websites as the gold standard for GOOD backlinks. 

That being said – you can get links from “Good” websites fairly easily too, so what else is important?

  • The anchor text matters – linking with ‘Concord Home Remodeling‘ or ‘Wilmington Delaware Roofing Company‘ (ideally the link actually comes from a relevant / niched website on a post about the topic though because topical relevance matters too.)
  • Link velocity matters too – how quickly are links coming in?
  • What other indicators of traffic are there: social media activity, time people are spending on the site, natural/random other people linking to the site (for things you’re not necessarily targeting for commercial intent.)
  • More links to internal pages from other websites matter over time too. Especially if you’re trying to rank those for specific terms.

In fact, although the term ‘backlink’ normally refers to other websites linking to you, but in the meantime – if you do better internal linking, you increase your chances of ranking higher as well. Particularly if you take pages that are ranking well – and link to pages you WANT to be ranking well.

Aleyda Solis - SEO expert shares number one underrated SEO tactic - Social Media quote

 

But how do I get my first GOOD backlink?

Use Inc.com/verified, it’s very cheap relatively speaking for the metrics that the site has.

All you do is check out that link, click sign up and purchase a verified profile. They’ll send you a email to fill out your company profile.

Another good backlink might be Ontoplist.com if you’re looking for an immediate boost.

What are some more advanced ways to get a backlink?

  1. Help a Reporter Out – this site allows you to pitch reporters with stories. Pitch 5 reporters a day for a couple weeks and my guess is you’d get 5-10 legitimate backlinks from the effort (an hour a day)
  2. Charitable Events or Sponsorships – sponsor the country music festival in town, the industry event that has a lot of attention, or other things that are generally good for marketing your brand and BONUS – you get SEO juice too. Ask them to link to your site from their homepage ideally.
  3. Scholarships – Create a writing contest on your website, challenge students to participate and the winner gets 1k. This needs to be paired with aggressive outreach to colleges to get (traditionally powerful, but maybe less so now) .edu backlinks.
  4. Private Blog Networks – This is probably one of the more shadowy remnants of SEO’s past, that still work when done right. Read into the risks and rewards – but the basic idea is that you buy up old domains that have ‘link power/juice’, build out real-enough looking websites on them at scale, and then link out from them. Really – these have to be on separate IP’s and registrars, and be in the niche that you’re trying to rank for, for the greatest effect. Not for the faint of heart.
  5. Expired Domain Redirects – Alternatively, you could buy domains that had a bunch of New York Times, CNN, and Entrepreneur.com links to to them and redirect to a page on your website. This has only worked when I’ve matched the topic the domain was about closely in the resource on the site I redirected to, but it does work somewhat.
  6. Broken Link Building – Find a useful resource that no longer exists, but had a ton of links to it, and then outreach to the sites that were linking to that resource, and ask them to replace the link with one to your site.

Why don’t many SEO companies do link-building even if it’s super effective?

Companies don’t do link-building because:

A. They say that it’s spammy, or that Google discourages it. 

B. Link building is a lot of work, and many clients don’t know any better. 

We believe that even though Google actively discourages link-building (because it’s in their best interest if people can’t game their algorithm), that it works really well. We see that because we do link-building as part of our campaigns and our average client doubles their traffic year over year (and leads go up 39.9%.)

Graph with statistics about backlinks and the number of referring domains. SEO Statistics and graphs

If you don’t want to do it – we do link-building as part of our normal SEO work

But if you’re not ready for good old fashioned ‘spamming the heck out of everyone’s inbox’ trying to do broken link building, perhaps you’re ready for a SEO marketing company like Hook Agency, that builds links (as well as does keyword research, technical SEO, and content marketing) for you on autopilot every month and reports on the results as well as upcoming trends. Send us a message if you’d like us to help!


 

Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads:
 

 

 

 

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Tim Brown
Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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