May 29, 2014
As anyone involved with online marketing is aware, search rankings, visibility and other factors are critical for a business to succeed. If a company cannot be found, or isn’t considered reliable in the information it provides, its future is limited.
Links play a large role in this. Links create an online roadmap that connects one source with another, making it easier for the reader to find information and increasing search engine rankings.
The benefits of backlinks don’t stop with rankings however. There’s much more to them than that, check out a few additional benefits below.
Backlinks Under Fire
Before jumping into the benefits of backlinks, it’s important to note they have come under fire recently. With the evolution of Google’s search algorithms, backlink networks, sites promoting paid links and sites with an excessive number of unnatural links have been shut down and eliminated from Google’s search results.
Does this mean the practice is nearing an end? No. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts recently addressed the future of backlinks, explaining, “I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them. Inevitably, what we’re trying to do is figure out how an expert user would say this particular page matched their information needs. And sometimes, backlinks matter for that,” he continued.
While credible backlinking is important, and authorship and other methods for boosting authority and credibility are crucial, backlinks matter and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. If you haven’t included the process in your digital marketing strategy, the time to shift focus is now.
As mentioned previously, authority matters for search rankings and for gaining Web traffic in general. However, it also matters when trying to attract new customers or to keep current customers loyal. They want to know that your brand is the place to go for specific information, that what they find on your site will be useful and reliable.
Backlinks can be used to build this sense of authority – when other sites link to yours, your brand receives a nod in the “this is the place to go to learn more” direction. Yes, this authority helps with SEO, but, it gives your visitors confidence that what they’ll find on your website will be trustworthy and worth reading.
Branding Still Matters
There’s no way around it, branding has always been and will always be an important method of establishing a niche in a given market place, gaining recognition and retaining customers. While the face of branding may change — as it already has, having gone from marketing materials and logos to digital communities and social networks — the practice is important.
People want to do business with companies and brands that are familiar, that they recognize and that they associate with positive experiences. Link profiles, built by backlinks can help in this area. When reading through another site, your link will be visible to whoever is doing the reading. Will they click the first time your link is shown? Maybe not. But, your brand will start to become familiar, you’ll start to be associated with the content on the sites that host your links.
This means that for backlinks to become a part of your branding strategy, they should be widely used on a diverse group of sites that are associated with your industry or product. Over time, the strategy will start to show results and your links will be a part of your brand, driving visitors to your site — where they’ll be able to experience all that you have to offer.
There’s no question about it — online relationships matter. This is the base upon which the hundreds of social networks that are currently thriving were built. When it comes to your brand, the more visibility you can garner, the wider your online reach will be.
Far too often, the potential for online relationships relies entirely on social networks — the number of followers, the number of likes a post or comment receives, how many people take the time to comment on what’s shared and so on. The problem here is that any brand on social networking sites’ reach is limited to a group of followers. Yes, the following can grow, but the influence still stops with those who’ve already decided to make an effort to follow or to become a part of the conversation.
Backlinks expand this realm of influence by reaching beyond the parameters of traditional social media. In fact, when links are posted on external sites, the potential for gaining new followers increases each time. This means that it’s simple to attract followers that have never stumbled upon a social media brand page or profile.
Link building also increases the visibility between brands and influencers. When asking for a backlink, you’re forced to make contact of some sort – to reach out to another brand, blogger or page manager and to make a request. This allows for the opportunity to introduce yourself and your brand. Even if a link doesn’t result from the conversation, potential partnerships or advertising opportunities could arise in the future.
Backlinks make these relationships possible by expanding influence and garnering attention.
Yes, backlinks can go a long way toward increase search engine rankings and are impossible for SEO strategies but, the benefits don’t stop there. Considering the fact that they’re likely to be around for some time and are critical for establishing credibility, branding purposes and building relationships, they should become a part of your strategy sooner rather than later.
Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses like Mr Rooter succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to see more of her work or get in touch.