What Are Backlinks And How Do I Use Them?

Backlinks are the backbone of rankings in Google search results.  A backlink is basically a link to your website which effectively is considered a vote to the quality of your website content.  The more people link to you, the more importance your website gets for it’s given keywords.  This is and has been the fundamental strategy of how Google and many modern search engines rank their content for the search results.  Once people discovered this, gaming backlinks were born.

Some Vocabulary

  • SERPs – Search Engine Result Pages
  • Anchor Text – When you create a link, the clickable text is considered the Anchor Text.
  • PR – Page Rank is a value 0-9 which indicates the authority of a webpage.  Each page has a pagerank where 0 is the lowest.

Basic Strategy

“Quality over Quantity in your Backlinks”

As I mentioned, the fundamental strategy IS/WILL BE (for the foreseeable future) backlinks.  The basic strategy is to get many links to your website preferably with higher PR to raise YOUR site’s PR and gain more authority in the eyes of Google.  The keywords your page will rank for is determined by your OnPage SEO and the anchor text at which your site is receiving links.  The amount of backlinks one needs to get to the top of SERPs is based on the competition of how many other websites are ranking for the same keywords.

Evolving Your Strategy

In the past people were able to just dump a ton of backlinks using automated software and keyword stuff their content to improve relevance.  Those days are pretty much over and even if  you could still do it I don’t recommend it.  The problem is when a ranking loophole gets exposed, it is flooded with people using that technique.  What ends up happening is Google will make an update and all your backlinking efforts will go down the drain and your rankings in SERPs will fall.  I believe in making more sustainable legitimate looking backlinks that will stand the test of time.

Pandas and Penguins

Google’s latest two updates Panda and Penguin were designed to hit scammers and spammers.  The effects of these updates are not 100% known, but I will summarize the general consensus.  Panda was to remove duplicate  content, especially duplicate content that were OUTRANKING the original.  If I wrote a blog post and someone else just copied it off my blog and put it on his, who should get higher rankings?  I should get the credit as opposed to the copycat EVEN THOUGH he may have a more popular website.  Google’s panda update centered around this duplicate content issue which was running rampant on article directories and autoblogs.

The latest update is the Penguin update which was designed to target spam sites.  The first to fall were the private blog networks.  Private blog networks are a collection of blogs with the intention of ranking other sites with them.  People started to buy subscriptions to access these private blog networks to rank their site and it worked well!  Unfortunately, like I talked about earlier, you should be thinking about longevity in your backlinking, because once google found out, they de-indexed these private blog networks and many websites tanked in the SERPs because those backlinks they had became worthless.  I also believe penguin is detecting spam and discounting their linking power.

It is more important than ever to have natural backlinks or “natural looking” (wink) backlinks more than ever.  If you chase these loopholes, you will constantly go back to step 1 after an update.

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