Backlink Your Way to the #1 Spot in the Search Engines

By Anthony Stai

What's a backlink? A backlink is a URL link that is pointed towards your website and are very important to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. The backlinks from external sites can link to your home page or may link to internal pages within your website. Linking to internal pages is often referred to as "deep linking" and can help raise the importance of those internal pages in the eyes of the search engines.

The more backlinks you have referring to your website, the more the search engines trust your content. In the original Google algorithm, backlinks were a very important part of the equation used to determine where your site was placed on the search engine result pages (SERP's). In today's world, the algorithm is much more complicated and the value of the backlink has been diminished slightly from the original.

Google uses the backlinks to calculate a value called PageRank (PR). Many SEO experts feel that the PR value isn't necessarily the most important factor for ranking high in the SERP's. There are so many factors that go into the algorithm that it has become very difficult to guess what Google is really looking at. However, we do know that backlinks have remained a constant over the years.

Other terms for backlinks are incoming links, inlinks, inbound links, and inward links.

Backlinks can be used for more than just SEO. You can judge your website popularity (or spy on someone else's), find what others are saying about your website and find all links back to you (not in Google). Yahoo and MSN give you a much better picture of what your backlinks are compared to Google which only gives you a subset.

Google's reasoning for only showing a subset of the backlinks that it knows about for your site is to protect their search algorithm. Also remember that many times, the page that has your backlink will not show it's true PR because the page hasn't been through a Google PageRank update yet.

If my site links to yours then I'm essentially giving you a vote for your site. It used to be (and in some search engines it still is) the only thing that was important to rank high. But, over time, the search engines have been forced to look at other factor due to website spam. The search engines are now looking at the context of the page the link is on and may be looking at the context of the page the link is pointing to. This is called page relevance.

Here are some various methods for generating backlinks to your site:

1. Web Directories

2. Website Link Directories (some are paid and many are free)

3. Comments in forums and blogs

4. Purchased links (currently frowned upon by Google)

5. Link Exchanges where you trade reciprocal links or multi-way links

Also don't just get backlinks from high PR pages. You want your backlinks to appear natural. So getting backlinks from lower PR pages as well as high PR pages is a more natural pattern.

The wanted result of getting all these backlinks to your site is to increase the natural search engine traffic that is directed to your site by being on the first page of the SERP's. But you should also see some traffic that comes to your sites through the backlinks themselves. So, when getting backlinks, you want to keep the reader in mind and try to make it enticing for the reader to click your link because there is something on the other end that they need.

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