September 16, 2009
Backlinks are a key component in search engine optimization. Search engine consultants talk about the importance of backlinks for achieving higher search engine ranking. That’s because the more one-way backlinks you have leading to your website, the more important the search engines believe your page to be.
There are two types of backlinks: one-way links and reciprocal links.
One-Way Links are basically backlinks that only go one direction. Maybe it’s a link that goes from your website to another website. Or maybe it’s a link that goes from another site to yours. Either way, it’s only going one way.
Reciprocal Links are backlinks that go from one website to another, and then back to the original website.
It’s important to differentiate between one-way back links versus reciprocal links. Many search engine optimization experts believe that one-way back links are more valuable than reciprocal links because they’re much harder to earn. The thinking is that since they’re harder to earn, they must be more valuable, which means other people think very highly of your site. If people think highly of your site, it must be an important site, which means the search engines will give it a higher ranking than those sites that do not have a lot of one-way backlinks.
As search engines like Google grow and improve, they’re putting more emphasis on how popular a website is, not whether they use all the right keywords. This popularity is measured through one-way backlinks. They’re like votes to Google, and search engine ranking is more like a popularity contest: have a lot of links to your site and your site achieves a high ranking. The easiest way to find the number of backlinks that lead to your site is to visit Google or Yahoo! and type in the following command:
You will be shown a list of all the websites that have backlinks to your own domain. If you want to see who has links back to a particular page on your site, then type in the whole URL to that individual page.
Although no one can be sure of the exact algorithm Google and Yahoo use to rank sites, it’s commonly believed that if a website has more backlinks, it will achieve a higher search engine ranking. There are other factors that go into the whole search engine ranking, but backlinks are one of the more important ones.
But it’s important you have good quality backlinks, not just links that appear on any page you can find, like a link farm or sticking a comment on a page that has nothing to do with your website at all. That is, if you sell hammers, don’t put any backlinks on a page that sells children’s shoes.
That’s because search engines like Google have started cracking down on link farms and backlinks spammers. The search engine spiders know how to tell the difference between backlinks on a link farm and links on a quality website. If you are caught spamming, you will be dropped in the rankings, or possibly even dropped completely from Google’s index.
So you need to pay attention to the quality of your backlinks, now more than ever. One way to do this is to make sure you use the proper anchor text in your backlinks. For example, do not ever hot-link the words “click here.” What you’re basically telling the search engine spiders is that the website is about Click Here. Instead, use the keywords about the site that the backlinks are leading to. If you’re creating backlinks to a site about hammers, put the word hammers in your links. “Click here” isn’t about hammers.
In short, if you want some great search engine results, be sure to include backlinks as part of your search engine optimization strategy. You’ll see it pay off with improved search engine rankings.
With 20 years in marketing, advertising and 10 years in internet marketing, Rostin Reagor Smith has refined the SEM SEO Expert Formula. Hundreds of case studies have combined to build the formula that drives search engine ranking through Social Media Optimization, Online Reputation Management, Social Marketing, Link Building and web 2.0 communities and resources.