What is an SEO backlink in the world of search engine/website rankings? Can backlinks hurt your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or can they see your site obtain great results?
When I first started out online, I was somewhat taken back by the amount of different opinions by the so called experts out there (and I still am somtimes). Some people swear on back linking and advised me to buy as many as possible to achieve success, while others told me to stay well clear and let them come naturally.
Well that kind of advice was that? I was sat in the middle not knowing what to do or believe. As I stumbled around the internet, I found some solid information and tuition on backlinks which I chose to follow (with assistance), and in my opinion this advice was the best.
I want to share this information with you here, so if you are having issues understanding backlinks and how to go about applying them, please read on.
What Is A Backlink?
A backlink (in layman’s terms) is basically a link to one website which comes from another website. Here, I will give you an example.
This Is A Backlink – This link I have created points to Wikipedia, and it offers you more information about backlinks should you go to read it. Wikipedia has just obtained a ‘backlink’ from my website as there is a link running from my website to theirs. It is as easy as that. This same link is also known as an ‘external link’ from my site, as it actually leads away from here to another website.
A backlink is basically a link that points to one site from another and depending on the quality of these links, this can affect your reputation and rankings in the search engines. These search engines are crawled by what is known as ‘spiders’ and these make their way through pages and posts on the internet following links. This is how the internet works. Think of it as one giant spiders web.
In years past, unfortunately there was a loop hole that people exploited. It used to be very important how many backlinks were pointing to your site, and people were literally buying these backlinks in the thousands from third parties to boost their popularity (and rankings) in the search engines. This is no longer the case, and now quality is far more important than quantity.
How Things Used To Be
Do you remember years ago when you went to do a search for something using the internet? Very often you would be presented with results that were of little or no use whatsoever. Garbage websites that had been thrown together which were not really helpful and lacked the information you were actually looking for.
Well behind the scenes, websites like this achieved these high rankings (so people like you would see them in the searches) simply by applying backlinks.
There were (and unfortunately still are) online retailers that offered back linking services and for a fee they would send hundreds (if not thousands) of backlinks from other websites to peoples websites that payed for them. In the days of Quantity over Quality, this skyrocketed websites to the top of the search results, even if they lacked quality in every other way!
A lot of these sites were developed simply to make money (mostly scams), and once they had done so, they would vanish into thin air. From there, it would have been possible for them to build another bad quality website and repeat the back linking process simply to make more money.
This was in the early days, and of course technology caught up and search engines such as Google became wise to the situation. From there things began to change.
Panda, Penguin & Hummingbird – Heard Of Them?
As technology developed and it was uncovered that the system was being manipulated, there was a release of major algorithm changes that would reshape the internet as we know it today. No more would under the table techniques be accepted and the websites that had seen success (even with lack of quality) by the purchasing of backlinks and other manipulative ways were about to pay a heavy price.
This big update enforced significant changes in the search engines. Rolled out in February 2011, it saw all of these websites that were dominating the results hit hard and it affected a said 12% of the internet. Sites that were offering little (or nothing in quality) were all replaced in the top positions with sites that were offering a good experience to the visitors. Websites that had excessive advertising were also punished and lost all of their rankings. Backlink Quantity was also on the list and ready for a big hit too
Just over a year later in April 2012 another big update was rolled out, The Google Penguin Update. This went on to punish all websites that were in breach of the Google Webmaster Guidelines which included back linking. All of those sites that had sought backlinks using black hat techniques were heavily punished in the search engines. One month later another updated Penguin was rolled out and from there quality content was needed to rank well in the search engines. Content became king and back links were not as important for rankings as they once were.
The Hummingbird update was released in September 2013 to make way for more relevant results based on searched keywords. It possesses the technology to recover further and in depth results so that someone searching for something will get the best results they are looking for. It also incorporates a deeper meaning into the searched phrases so the user is presented with more accurate results.
Once these updates took place, thousands (and more) websites were hit. Sites that were offering quality to readers were given a higher ranking and those that sought to break the rules and manipulate the internet for the purpose of making money were punished. Back linking is considered old school now, however they do still play a role, just not in the powerful way they once did.
So, Does Back Linking Still Work Or Not?
The answer to this question is, YES and NO.
YES, it is important to have backlinks to your site, but you need to be careful with your approach to obtaining them. Earlier for example, you saw me add an external link to Wikipedia. In this case Wikipedia has gained a backlink from this website. It did not pay me for it, I linked to this particular site because it is quality. If you want to read more on back linking, it is further important information and a resource that will help you. Wikipedia is an authority and respected website and Google wants to see me offering useful information and resources to my visitors.
Now, if Wikipedia was to link to this website (for example), would that be good or bad? Well it would be very good. Like I say, Wikipedia is a respected source ofinformation, and if it was to point its readers in my direction, Google would see this as a solid quality backlink. For Wikipedia to want to link to this website, it means it has something important to offer.
This one important link is worth more than 1000 useless non relevant links.
If I was to go to a company and pay let’s say 1000 bucks for 300 backlinks. Would that be good for me?
Well, NO it would not. To have hundreds of links coming from various low quality websites does not do me any good at all. In fact, Google will see this sudden influx of links and more than likely they will kill my website because of them.
Having hundreds of links suddenly appear (most of them probably not being relevant to my work) will destroy any chances of this website becoming an authority resource for people to come to. It is an old black hat technique that is outdated, and with good reason.
Avoid Breaking The Rules
When you look to building a website or blog, it is important to follow the rules. Whether you are making a personal blog as a hobby or whether you want to start a full time business, it is import to stay inline and respect the guidelines.
Even today if you look around the internet, you will see offers for buying backlinks and/or other techniques claiming you can achieve high rankings and success within the search engines.
Look at it this way
Building a website takes effort, hard work and you are going to suffer ups and downs. Paying someone else for fast results will not work and you will be punished for trying them later down the line. Why pay someone hundreds of dollars to destroy the hard work you have already done?
If you follow a set curriculum with solid training and legitimate techniques then yes, it will take longer, but you will be more successful down the road.
How To Get Genuine Quality Backlinks
There is no easy way for going out and getting quality backlinks that work and offer value. There is only one strategy that works and that is putting in the effort and spending the time to do things correctly.
If you write content that is engaging, that people enjoy reading and will be happy to share then you will get links back to your site naturally.
Google will give you huge rewards for following their guidelines and offering quality content as well as a great user experience to your readers. Content is King now and all of your hard efforts and sweat will be destroyed if you try to purchase black hat SEO techniques.
Gathering endless backlinks to your site for rankings is an out-of-date strategy. All you will do is lose your money and bring your website or blog down to its knees.
Write quality content that people want to absorb and you will find the success and rankings that you desire.
My Final Thoughts
If you look around today and see the offers for back linking services, they are very tempting. They will try to convince you that the links they are offering are relevant and come from reputable websites. They read something like:
- Get 700 Natural And Unique Backlinks To Your Website Every Month For Just $5. Guranteed Traffic And Search Engine Rankings That Will Skyrocket Your Business
- Sign Up Now And Get 25 Free Quality Backlinks – Success Guaranteed
Try not to fall for these services as more often than not they are simply there to take your money!
It is far better to learn a strong SEO strategy and take advantage of the free traffic that comes with hard work and effort than it is to lose your money and destroy your website reputation.
If you want to know more about backlinks and applying them correctly and you are keen to learn how to build a successful business, then get started using the button below. Learn SEO, Keyword Research and good design techniques and stop wasting your time with out-of-date tactics that are not valid anymore. Follow a great path to building a powerful website.
If you have any questions then please feel free to reach out to me in the comments and I will get back to you.