Being Freed
Being Freed
Being Freed
A backlink is a hyperlink that appears in someone else’s page or post and leads to your website. They’re (usually, mostly) good for your SEO.
Backlinks

How do backlinks work?

Backlinks work by directing internet traffic from one site to other relevant content.  At its root, the purpose of a backlink is to help website visitors discover other sites that contain similar or related material.  

Every time someone includes an external hyperlink on a page or post, they’re directing their viewers to another site they may be interested in, and they’re giving someone else a backlink.  In this context, “external” means that the link directs the person off the website they’re currently on, toward a new site.  For example, this hyperlink leads you to my client’s website: so, I’ve just given her a backlink.  If she were to add a link to my site on her site, she would be giving me a backlink.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of backlinks?

There are a few benefits of backlinks.  They tell search engines that other people trust your work.  They also tell them which other sites your content relates to.  Say you sell a product.  When a blogger adds a link to your product in their post, search engines understand that people who know what they’re talking about trust what you’re selling.  When the blogger is well-established and has high domain authority, the backlink is worth even more.  So: good backlinks help your website by boosting its SEO. 

But bad backlinks can harm your SEO.  If you ask all your friends to backlink to your site or (gasp!) you pay someone to do it, search engines may ding you for it.  For the sake of all things SEO, don’t buy or sell backlinks.  If you get too many backlinks from sites that have nothing to do with your business, they’re worse than useless; they look contrived, and you’ll seem untrustworthy.  They also confuse search engines – obscuring the purpose of your site.

Stay focused

You may have noticed that I mention scuba and ukuleles regularly on my website. You know: on my website that’s supposed to be about building websites? Here’s the thing: I have plenty of other hobbies, but I try to keep my chatter to those two so I don’t wash out my message too much. I would love nothing more than to build lots of websites for queer, ukulele-playing scuba divers, so I focus my subtext on those things, hoping that Google takes note and sticks my website under the noses of my peeps.

Backlinks and local SEO

Backlinks are particularly helpful for local SEO.  If you sell ukuleles, and you want local uke players to find you, you may include links to related businesses in your city like a luthier, music teachers, or strum clubs.  Technically, these are outbound links; you’re actually giving those other businesses backlinks.  But when someone in your town searches for any of those things, your site is more likely to appear in the search results.  Best yet, if you can get those businesses to reciprocate with links back to your site, everyone wins.

How do I get backlinks?

This is a huge topic and one for another post.  But TBH if you need to know right this minute, just searching for that phrase will get you more answers than you’ll need.

Sooooo...do I want backlinks?

If you want to boost your SEO ratings, you want backlinks.  Ask colleagues to mention you in a post.  Make sure that businesses adjacent to yours know who you are, so they can link their traffic to your site.

Vocabulary

Backlink – a link that directs someone to your website.  “Backlink” is synonymous with “inbound link”.

Domain Authority – the level of trust search engines place in a site.  A site with high domain authority is highly trusted. 

External link – a link that leads viewers to an outside place, such as a website or document.

Hyperlink – a link that connects you to a place or thing, such as a website, a .pdf, or a place on a page.

Inbound link – a hyperlink that directs someone to the current space, i.e., to the website you’re currently in.  “Inbound link” is synonymous with “backlink”.

Internal link – a link that leads viewers to another place within the same website or document. 

Link – short for a hyperlink.

Link quality – the SEO value of a link.  Links that come from reputable and popular websites, or sites whose subjects are the same as yours, are of higher quality than links that come from obscure sites or sites whose purpose does not align with yours. 

Off-page SEO – online marketing and networking tools you use to promote your posts and pages.

On-page SEO – tools and techniques you use in your pages and posts to boost your SEO.  These might include keywords, focus keyphrases, links, and content architecture. 

Outbound link – a hyperlink that directs someone away from the space they’re currently in, i.e., to a different website.

Referring domain – The website which contains links to other sites.  See my “Interesting links” section below.  I have 6 links, so this post is a referring domain to those six links.

Relevance – backlinks that come from sites with a similar purpose to yours are more relevant than ones that come from random sources.

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Freed with her ukulele while scuba diving

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