How frustrating is it to learn everything you need to know about backlinks? Very, because we know from personal experience that understanding backlinks is not an easy feat. To make your website findable, you will have to find ways to get backlinks. Did you know that Google’s original search engine was based entirely off of a backlink analysis? Leading to my next question, do you know the history of Google and the development of the ranking of the backlink? No? Well, let’s not go into the full story of Google’s history, but you can read more about it at the link above. To sum up what the reasoning for how the backlink ranking system came around. Google became public in 1997, it’s was created due to an irritation over not knowing what pages were most useful, and wishing there was a system similar to research papers and citations. Larry Page (co-creator of Google) named his project BackRub, which was a tool to be able to count and recognize each backlink on the web as if they were citations proving the value of a paper. It would also sum up the importance of the link, and rank it. Nearly, two decades later, and it still a major item on ranking search engine optimization.
You may have ended up here because you want to know how to improve your website's search ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) and ways to get backlinks. Or you really, want to know what a backlink is, and everything that goes into one, or you could be looking for eCommerce SEO services. No matter what, backlinks are a major contributor to helping generate traffic to your site, and ranking your site on search engines.
What are Backlinks?
To begin, what is a backlink? A backlink is a hypertext link on a page that links to another page that has many different forms; it could be a direct URL link, a picture, or words that are bolded or underlined. If you are lucky enough those words, that picture or that URL goes directly to your page, and there you have acquired a backlink.
Okay simple, all I have to do now, is go to people pages where I can leave comments with my page on it or I can just go buy backlinks. Nope, not that simple, if you buy backlinks, Google will catch on eventually and blackball your site. Also, yes, blog commenting works but it is not an organic link and it is likely a no-follow link. An organic backlink indicates that you have great content on your site and other sites are recognizing it themselves, it is not a link that you yourself have made.
A few terms you should know as well is when people say either power or juice of a backlink they are referring to the power of one backlink. The relevance of a backlink is a determining factor in how much power is transferred if the backlink has no relevance to your site it can cause a negative impact to your site's value. What you should also know is the value of a backlink.
There are many factors that go into a backlinks value:
- The domain authority is the most important factor when consider getting a link from another sites page to yours (see below for what factors into a sites domain authority.)
- The page authority is the weight a single page holds in a web directory.
- Anchor text relevance - be sure to vary this or else you may end up with a penalty. This is in the process of being partially phased out.
- Alt text relevance is used in images it is used to explain to crawlers and the visually impaired what the image is
- Source content relevance - Backlinks don’t just pass SEO, they also pass the relevance of the SEO, bi-directionally.
- Domain relevance is related to the source content relevance
- Source page title relevance - has a smaller effect than the source content, but search engines still consider this an aspect to consider.
- The sources trust how many sites away are you from a trusted seed site. Trusted seed sites, are those with a very high domain authority, think large social media platforms, Wikipedia, new sites (Fox, CNN), .edu or .gov sites.
- Traffic - does it bring traffic to your site? Does it, give it to another? If it doesn’t, then it probably won’t be a very useful backlink.
- Anchor Title is like anchor text, however, search engines do not value it like the other, due to it not being visible.
- Is it a follow or a Nofollow link? With this factor in backlinking, it is telling a search engine that you either want or don’t want your site to be associated with the other. A Nofollow link generally gives not juice to the backlinks site, there are exceptions though, like Wikipedia.
- The page is crawlable, if the search engine crawlers are unable to find your backlinks, then they cannot determine the SEO value of them.
- How many backlinks are on the page, each additional backlink takes juice from the others. Some sound advice you should consider, is less is more.
- Placement of the link - if the backlink is in the first 100 words of content then it will have more juice.
To see how each of the factors above affect a single backlink SEO value check out the infographic below! Keep reading to find out about the anatomy of a backlink, and a few ways to generate high quality backlinks. If you are already tired, and want an easy way out go ahead and ask us for your eCommerce SEO service's needs! We now know what a backlink is, continue reading to find out what makes up the backlink.
What is the Anatomy of a Backlink?
When you are working on giving your site a better ranking or a finding a variety of ways to get backlinks it takes time and you will have to work on it. No one can tell you a search engines exact algorithm for ranking sites. There are plenty of tried and true white hat SEO methods that Google loves and tends to boost sites rankings. However, before you start trying the methods, you need to know what goes into a backlink to successfully build your SEO.
When you want someone to link to your page or someone else plans on linking to your website, you need to make sure you know how to do it correctly for it to provide the SEO value you want. The anatomy of a backlink is important to understand. However, you first need to have quality content, which can bring in, organic backlinks and raise your traffic volume.
What Makes Quality Content
Nofollow links: A Nofollow link causes search engine bots to ignore the links. However, do not ignore this type of link, because it can generate traffic, by someone realizing your content has good information behind it. Google expects there to be Nofollow links, and they actually improve your search ranking. You should focus on twenty percent of your backlinks being of this type.
Domain Authority: Domain Authority Is a logarithmic score that affects rank, a number of factors go into the score. However, it is a prediction how well your domain will rank in search engines. There are a variety of tools, that rate the domain authority. Ways to increase your domain authority (these also happen to be some of the factors that Google ranks your site):
- Increase quality traffic to your site
- Lowering your bounce rate
- Have organic backlinks
- From differing domains
- SEO, SEO, SEO!!!
- Check out SEOsitecheckup.com, Google Webmaster tool, SEO report card, HubSpots Website Grader, WooRank (most of these are free, and will tell you what the backend of your site needs to be fixed. Some you will only get to use a limited amount of times, before a payment is required.)
- Speed up your sites load time
- Slow pages, leads to high bounce back rates, non-returning customers, loss of potential customers, leading to loss of profits, etc...
- Increase your social media presence
- Over two billion people are using some form of social media, take advantage of it.
Page Authority: Is the authority a single page holds in search engines.
Length: For the content on your sites pages', search engines generally only read the first and last one hundred words on your page, so be sure to hit your keywords in the very beginning and end. A landing page, should not be a novel, rather it should be shorter than any other pages' content. However, just because higher word count usually rank better, does not mean a 750-word meaty article, can’t play with the big dogs. Just make sure you thoroughly hit on a topic and do it better than those you are trying to outrank. To view a statistical view of the length of what your blog's content length should look like. Check this out.
Images: Helps search engines analyze what your site is really about (only if your image has ALT text), and it breaks up the text, and will most likely make people stay on your page. Our brains can hold onto images longer then they can hold onto the words we’ve read. Videos and infographics are becoming more and more standard, so go ahead and get started learning what your traffic likes and wants most.
Formatting: If you just have a blob of text, and it’s not broken down, it’s proven that people will just click the back button, leading to poor engagement metrics, and poor page authority. You need to break up your content, into paragraphs, use titles, subheadings, and bullet points.
Relevancy: Is important, that it doesn’t just include the text on your page (see more on relevancy below), it also means the links on your page, tags, and their domains. Tip, don’t just go off on a rant that has nothing to do with what you originally began your post about.
Backlink relevancy: Search engines rank using the relevance to your content, to the relevance of the content you are linking to. Link to sites that are talking about what you are. Don’t link to random sites, that has nothing in common with your own.
Domain relevancy: Domain (home page) relevancy, means that the site is in the same realm as your own site. Meaning, if your site's main focus is about automobile engines; try to link to a site that is about racing, car parts, new car technologies, models, etc.. To make your site more authoritative, acquire links from different domains. Also use Authority sites for your outbound links, do not use spam riddled sites for your traffic to go to.
For more information on specification, on quality content.
Below you see the basic anatomy of a backlink, and I will explain what each part represents.
HTML HREF: HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, and HREF stands for hypertext reference.
URL: URL is your website's address and stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Things you should do to enhance your URL:
- Have a keyword or two in it, to enable it to optimize your SEO;
- Have the URL be related to the main idea of your page;
- Use a hyphen to separate your words, instead of an underscore;
- Keep it short:
- Good Example – Engine23.com/Backlinks-Anatomy
- Bad Example – Engine23.com/BlogaboutBacklinksandtheanatomy
HTML Link Title: This section is a vital element in search engine optimization. The title will describe what the destination page is about. It also helps search engine figure out what you are linking to, put a keyword or two in this section for improved optimization. How search engines use this:
Result pages: Keywords in the title section will rank your page higher in search engines for related searches
Relevancy: how relevant the backlink is to the text in your page. You can communicate to search engines the topic of a page by linking to a well-known authoritative source on the topic. This is important for anchor text as well. Google uses the relevancy of Titles, and Anchor text to help rank your site. Do not just link to any common word, optimize your relevancy by using keywords that describe the link you are directing people to.
Web Browsers: Your title tag, will show up in the address bar in your web browser
What is Anchor Text?
A few things before we get into the forms of anchor tags:
Anchor text helps search engines identify what your content is about, and what you are linking your content with. This is a great SEO optimization tactic. This text should be what you want search engines to improve your ranking for, it affects how relevant a search engine sees the backlink is to a query. Use keywords, but remember to use different keywords, and not all the same thing.s
Penguin, you mean the arctic bird that looks like it’s always going to a fancy soiree? No, we need to talk about Google Penguin, you should know about the rules implemented, to catch scammers, and other sketchy sites out there trying to rule the ranking boards, by buying links. Google Penguin catches inorganic links, that's why it is important to use various forms for your keywords, if you use the same word for every link, Penguin will eventually catch on, and lower your ranking or shun your site completely. Google Panda, uses an algorithm that takes lower quality sites from higher ranks, and moves higher quality sites, to those higher ranks. Google Panda is regularly updated about twice a month. We really want to emphasize why buying backlinks is not the way to go about gaining backlinks. Google has implemented Panda, Penguin, and other algorithms, to make quality content more important, than the money you can put into buy backlinks.
If you buy backlinks, your chances of ending up with your site being ostracized by Google are very high. This, in turn, will cause your site to lose traffic, with not being ranked in search engines. Never hire a firm that says they will buy you backlinks, it may take more time to get backlinks naturally. However, your site will not run the risk of being considered spammy by search engines. It is considered better to have 5 authoritative backlinks, rather than 20 from spam riddled sites. Engine23 understands that obtaining backlinks is not an easy process, and if you find yourself in need of help, just contact us and let us know what eCommerce SEO services you would like.
Types of Anchor Text
This anchor is just the URL of a site. Any variation of a website's URL can be used for this type of anchor
Ex) https://www.engine23.com, www.engine23.com, engine23.com
This anchor is an image on your site, that uses ALT text and the image name to aid in ranking your content. A key thing to remember in this form is ALT Text. ALT Text is the text description in the HTML of the page, to describe what the image contains. A search engine's crawler cannot tell what a picture is, they rely on the ALT text to describe what it is. Use this as a way to use your keywords that you are trying to get ranked for. Search engine optimization is the most important, it helps to describe what your content is about, and you can add keywords to it. For your visually impaired visitors that require a screen reader, which will read the ALT text. For your visitors whose browser isn’t showing images on the screen, the image ALT Text will appear instead.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) catalog’s and returning system, which uses a mathematical equation, that recognizes similarities between words and theories, from a set of text. Search engines use this equation to give you answers to your questions. This type of anchor is used with tools to position your keywords in different variations. A free tool to help find different variations for your keywords is Google, after your search your term, scroll down to the bottom and look at the “Search Related section.”
Ex) Magento Development. Magento development companies. Magento Development services. Magento Development team. Magento Development Agency.
Anchors that do not describe what you are linking to.
Ex) For more information, Click here, Connect with others.
Brand and keyword anchors
This anchor uses your companies/product and the keywords you are targeting in the anchor text
Ex) Engine23’s is a Magento Development Agency. Engine23 is an eCommerce Development team. Engine23 are experts in Magento and eCommerce Development.
Partial matching anchors
Is similar to LSI, however, using this anchor you use your own creativity rather than an application
Ex) Magento Development experts. Expert eCommerce Development team. Professional Magento and eCommerce Development.
Again, this anchor shows similarities to partial matching anchors, they differ due to the length of the anchor text.
Ex) Team of experts in the field of eCommerce and Magento development. Professional agency that specializes in building eCommerce websites, and Magento development.
How to Make Your Website Popular
There are many different ways that you can get backlinks and make's your site more searchable. You can do guest posting, share your posts on other sites (StumbleUpon), or keep your content up-to-date. To find out more, keep reading.
How to Keep People Reading - Infographics
An Infographic is a chart that shows relevant data, information and pictures that people can easily read.
This method is very popular, and people like things that are concise and to the point. It needs to be eye appealing and not just a bunch of facts jammed together. If you have extra cash in your marketing allowance, it is probably wise to spend it to hire a professional graphic designer, it will give you a return on your investment, because people will use it on their site, gaining you backlinks. On the other hand, if you are creative or do not have the funds to pay someone; there are sites out there that you can create one on your own for free. Note to remember: Keep your audience in mind. Collect your data, and make sure it is relevant to what you are trying to demonstrate. Cite your sources! Look at the cool infographic we made here at Engine23 regarding the SEO value of each individual backlink you use.
How to Get Free Backlinks Easily - Moving Man Method
The Moving Man Method is the use of taking advantage of those companies, who have either re-branded, or went out of business.
Brian Dean, also known to content-marketers, bloggers, and anyone else who has seen his site as Backlinko, has created this term, and made it his own.
Like the video said, this method can bring in a lot of business. Businesses always going out of service, this method will be useful to look into often.
How to Keep People Coming Back - Blogs
The page on your website, that should be updated quite frequently. With new content, that has informal information, usually related to your products, your field, or your clients.
Blogs keep people interested, you should consider posting at the minimum of one article a week. To make it easier on yourself, take a day write as many blogs as you can, and save them and post them periodically. Timing is also key, use the tools on Facebook, to see when most of your followers are active, and post a link to it, to get better results. Hootsuite, is a great tool for scheduling your post. Use Google analytics to see what drives consumers to your site, is it organic, direct, referrals or from social media account. This may make you think of new ways, how to best target your users.
Keep your blogs relevant, do not talk about refrigerators, when you are trying to represent a washing machine You have a product you can expand that and stretch it limitlessly without it going in the opposite direction. Link others sites to your blog, and then email them and let them know about your article and your reference to them, this may or may not lead to a backlink back to your site. You shouldn’t have an abundance (more than 15), but you should place a few throughout, to back up what you are talking about.
How to Steal from Your Competition (Legally)
The Skyscraper technique can be used to create more than double your traffic, and backlinks.
- Find your competition and make a list (50 or more works best). Two ways to do this, use a site like ahrefs.com or search Google with “related:(insert your website URL or a known competitors’ URL)".
- Find their most trafficked content.
- Make a list of that content and see if your audience would be interested in the list.
- After choosing an idea that your audience will like, take it and create content that is better than theirs.
- Post it, and let people (people who linked to your competitors, and other people that would link to it) know about your article. Do not outright say link this on your page, instead discreetly put the idea in their heads, relating it back to the content that it would fit nicely with.
- Sit back and wait to see if all your hard work makes a difference.
Note: This is a time-consuming process (if you’re anything like me, you will do this wrong several times, before hitting the ah-ha moment of getting what you’re actually supposed to do.)
How to Use a Free Platform to Gain Traffic - Social Media
Social Media are websites or apps that let people meet up and share content that interest them.
It is not an exaggeration when people say billions of people are active on social media accounts. The most popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +, and Snapchat. To utilize these sites there are a few key things to remember:
- The most important thing to remember is that your reach only extends to those that you are connected to, and you need people to share your content
- Do not post product after product, you will be unfollowed or ignored.
- Post relevant articles, blogs that relate to your product or service
- Do not write a long post (Facebook post, Twitter tweet), nobody wants to read a book while they are one their social media account. Instead, use PICTURES and VIDEOS to make people stop and look/watch.
- Follow your competitors, leaders in your industry, important people in your industry. These people will keep you updated on what your competition is up to, and give you some ideas on how to expand and market your business.
Note: I cannot stress enough how this method can increase your traffic greatly.
If you haven’t read the history of Google, we suggest you do. It is a surprisingly interesting read, you will learn how to make your website popular, and that may give you the knowledge you didn’t know you wanted before. Apply what you’ve learned here to your own site, to generate more traffic to your site. If you are looking for eCommerce SEO services, we can help you with your needs, just contact us. Don’t be afraid to contact Engine23 with suggestions, or things you have learned, through your journey of creating great backlinks. Follow us on Twitter@Engine23Agency.