Link BuildingSearch Engine Optimisation

What Are BackLinks? How Can Back Links Improve Your Google Rank?

By August 20, 2009 6 Comments

What are backlinks? And how can they improve your site's ranking?

Firstly, What are Back Links?

A back link (or “inbound link“) is any hyperlink coming back to your website.

From the Google Search Engine’s point of view, each backlink scores a point for your website.  In effect it is saying “this website is worth a visit, go and check it out!”.  After-all, the internet is built on hyperlinks.

The more significant the website that is linking to you, the more those points are worth.  For example if you manage to get a hyperlink from the home page of NZHerald.co.nz or TradeMe.co.nz to your website, in effect it is saying “hey listen up, we don’t make this decision lightly, you must check this website out, these guys are awesome!”.

So you can see that a single backlink from a high profile website is worth hundreds of backlinks from websites that no-one has ever heard of.

If you are interested in Search Engine Optimisation (or possess the new technology called an “email account”) you have probably come across email messages from offshore based companies who offer to generate back links for you. Don’t be tempted to take them up on their offer. You will get thousands of back links of such poor quality that they mean nothing to Google at all.

Are some back links better than others?

Oh yes.  Here are the 2 biggest factors in determining the quality of a back link:

  1. Does the backlink to your website come from a webpage with a high PageRank? (PageRank is the system that Google uses to score every webpage between 0 and 10)
  2. Is the content of that webpage is related to what you do? (eg if you’re a doctor and your link is on a carpenters website you get very few points, but if its on a popular medical website you get lots!)

So, how do you get high quality back links?

Start with listing your website on every New Zealand web directory you can find. Start with www.Finda.co.nz.

While search engines can tell which links are editorial and which are fabricated by you, business directories can still help with local SEO and building website authority in general.

Don’t bother with the ones that ask for payment.  Stick with the free ones.

Then start searching for blogs, forums and community discussion boards where issues and ideas that are related to your products and services are talked about, and add your thoughts to the conversation.  For example, here’s how to generate a backlink from a blog:

How to add a backlink to your website from a blog

  1. Your Name. Put your most important keywords here.  Not your brand name. Eg I put “Sheldon (Search Engine Optimisation Expert)”.  Most people just put “Bob”, that’s a waste.
  2. Your Website Address. Either put the url for your home page, or to another landing page like your blog
  3. Your Comment. Write something useful here. “Great post! Interesting article!” reeks of SPAM, and risks being deleted.  Read the article carefully and think of a way you can contribute by adding your ideas or framing things in a different way, or asking the author a question.

If you have the discipline to do that 5 times a week, you will get the satisfaction of watching your website climb the Search Engine rankings.

If you don’t have the time, then that’s where we come into the mix.