Find out how backlinking really works, and what to avoid!
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art and science of making sure a search engine can find your website. SEO can be frightening because it’s always changing. As dishonest SEO “gurus” use devious “black hat” methods of gaming search engines in their favor, the big search engine companies, like Google, fight back. Google’s goal is to make it easy for a user to find what she’s looking for. Your goal with SEO should be the same.
There are two main components to optimizing your search engine results. You first have to research and choose the right keywords – the words people type into Google. Once you have the right words in the right places, Google (and the other search engines) can find you.
But once Google finds your page, it has to put it some order with other similar pages. And if you’ve ever searched Google, you know you rarely go past the first page of results. The second factor in SEO is making sure your website is on that first page, as close as possible to the top of the page. Why don’t people go past the first page? No one knows – users would rather type a new search phrase then go to page 2.
Backlinking is one of the ways you can make your Google page ranking higher. Backlinking can mean a few things, but what most people mean when they say it is “other websites linking to your website.” A better term would be Inbound Links.
Think of inbound links as the internet version of good word-of-mouth. If you wanted a dog trainer, and 20 dog owners recommended the same person, you’d trust that person. Furthermore, if a person with high standing, like Cesar Milan from TV’s The Dog Whisperer recommended someone, you’d trust that trainer too. On the internet, you get better “word of mouth” by being linked to from lots of other web pages, or from a few high profile sites (or both).
If you hire someone to take care of your SEO, that person will use a few methods to build inbound links:
- Commenting on relevant blogs with links back to your site.
- Linking to other blog posts – this sounds counterintuitive, but most blogs link back to whatever sites originally linked to them.
- Guest posting on other relevant websites.
- Linking within your own site.
- And, most importantly, having content worth linking to.
This last step needs to be reiterated: if you have something people want to read, then most of the work is done already. Having fresh, updated content won’t lead directly to new conversions, but it will get your name higher in the search engines. And once you’re the first website to pop up on Google, you’ll be the first business people check out.