I have a page that ranks in the top 10 for the term “Niagara Wineries”. It’s been in the top 10 for over a decade, with almost no work to keep it there. Why? I suspect it’s because of its backlink profile.
Backlinks and Their Importance to SEO
If you’re wondering what the heck a “backlink” is, you’re not alone. A backlink is just a link to your website from another website. That’s it. Nothing special, right?
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Why are Backlinks Important?
They’ve been important for years, actually. They’re kind of what set Google apart from the rest of the search engines waaaaaaaay back in the day when Google was a new thing. (Our company’s older than Google, so we remember. We’re not richer than Google. Just older.)
You see, Google’s algorithm considered links between websites an interesting way to rank sites. A differentiating factor between sites was the number of links they had pointing to them. A site with more links probably had better content. Why? Because there was less stuff online back then and sites with tons of links really did have better content.
Of course, opportunistic SEO folks gamed the system, creating systems called “Link Farms” that would create hundreds of links to your site. Google figured this out and started updating the algorithm to take the source of the link into consideration.
Backlink Sources and Relevance
Google’s mission is to provide its users with relevant results. When link farms got popular Google recognized this was a problem. They tweaked their algorithm to look where links were coming from. Putting it simply, the more closely related the site content is to yours, links from it are considered more relevant.
As an example, a website about hangliding might attract links from other hangliding websites as well as companies in related fields. Outdoor equipment, parachute manufacturers, and insurance companies all might decide to link to the site. Can you see how this might work?
Links from other hangliding sites will be considered most relevant. Insurance companies? Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, so those links will probably be considered far less relevant.
What about a website about kittens? Links from that site to the hangliding site will be considered irrelevant by Google. They’ll recognize one is there but that link probably won’t provide any ranking benefit.
How Do I Get More Backlinks?
First step: Create something worth linking to.
Second step: Promote it. Yes. Promote it. If people don’t know about it, they won’t be able to link to it.
This is work. You can’t just create great content and assume people will find it and link to it. Well, you can, but you’re not going to get great results. This is something folks forget. Content Marketing means produce great content and then market it.
Without marketing you just have content and you’ll be dependent on search engines to love your stuff. If you work on building backlinks to your content, search engines will love your site and content even more. You just have to put in the work, or hire a professional 🙂
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you’d like to know more about backlink building, please leave a comment for us below or contact us and we’ll be happy to chat!