April 29, 2008

Backlinks - What Are They?

When hearing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a term that will come up quite often is “Backlink“. For us who have been doing web design, niche marketing and sEO for a while this is a term we way too often take for granted that everybody “knows.” However, this is not the case and I often see people misunderstand this term or not understanding it at all. Basically a backlink is not more than a link to your site from another site.

A link back to your site = Backlink! :)

A Backlink is also called an “incoming link”(Also See; Reciprocal Link). The number and - more important - the quality of backlinks represent one of the most important factors in determining a site’s “PageRank”. The value of any backlink is determined partly by the PageRank of the linking site, which, again, is determined partly by the quality of its backlinks, and so on.

Getting quality links back to your site is often one of the hardest tasks in SEO and website owners (and especially Black Hatters) often try to “cheat” by making blog farms/link farms and similar systems to outrank competitors. These methods, while they may have great positive impact on your rankings short-term, may be catastrophic to your rankings if, for instance, Google finds out about the linking-scheme.

There are of course both black hat, white hat and even grey hat methods to build backlinks and they all have some benefits - it is up to you to decide which methods you use and I would say that a combination of them are often best.

Just remeber to step carefully when using the more “illegal” methods and do not play the game if you cannot take the punishment.

Here are some guidelines to go by…:

*Do NOT just throw out garbage spam content to get backlinks from article directories, blogs (your own or others) etc.
*Do NOT join linkfarms which sole purpose is to provide backlinks without quality.

…BASICALLY: Always provide quality content and do not make “Scraper Sites” with junk content.

If you are familiar with Search Engine Trust (SET) you know how ugly it may turn out. SET was a network of blogs and members could submit articles to these blogs. Their network consisted of hundreds of blogs and the content on these sites were mostly junk made by “spammers”. Google joined their network (or so it seems), tracked down their sites and de-indexed them. What was a super effective backlink netowrk shooting the members sites high up on the search engine rankings had, more or less, their complete network de-indexed over night.

The value of the network was crushed to pieces in one giant strike basically.

There are still networks and ways to gain backlinks but I would recommend the white hat ones where you actually have to contribute with something useful in order to get a link back to your site. This may be writing an article, posting useful comments etc…

PortalFeeder, TrafficKahuna and probably FirePow are great networks to join if you have the money.

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1 Comment »

  1. Don’t be too much worried about links. It is usually considered that the more links Google sees, the more traffic you get. But back links can easily be achieved by keeping fresh and unique and original content on the site. A site that has freshly and regularly updated content attracts more traffic. If users are impressed and satisfied with your content they will automatically cast a vote. The most important thing is not code, not page rank but the content. It is said “Content is the king” The greatest challenge should be to create websites that are useful to others. Palcomonline.com

    Comment by Palcom Web — June 13, 2008 @ 10:11 am

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