Backlinks: the guide to creating inbound links to a website

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Once you created your website, you still have to improve your SEO, which is a delicate task. To do so, you should optimize your website in different ways. In this article, we will tell you about an important aspect of SEO: backlinks.

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What is a backlink?

The backlinks (or inbound links) of a page are the links which lead to this page.
The number of backlinks is a determining criterion for your SEO. The more backlinks you have, the better for your SEO.

Why are backlinks so important?

Since 2004, google takes into account new data for website indexing, such as website creation date, online availability date, date of the first backlink, number of links considering the creation date etc.
Google’s analysis of links is thus very important: a decreasing number of backlinks may indicate that the page has become obsolete or is not updated any longer.
The disappearance of a link may mean that the page has been deleted or replaced by another content.
On the contrary, a steep of the number of the backlinks over a short period of time may indicate that the page enjoyed a buzz or that there was a fraud attempt.

Where to place your backlinks?

The page you place your link on, is called the original page. It should be well indexed (and have a good PageRank) and above all be relevant with the theme of the target page. It should not have too many backlinks.

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How to create an efficient backlink?

The link text (also called link anchor) is essential for your SEO. For example, the words Link or Click here or any other generic term will be much less efficient as far as SEO is concerned than specific terms related to the topic of the target page. For the same reasons, you’d better use textual links than visual links (a link that only contains images). In the case of an image link, you should use alternative text (alt attributes) in order to optimize your link.
Also remember to vary the link anchors. Indeed, using the same anchor all the time may seem suspect to Google and is likely to be penalized. Use keywords and their synonyms allowing you to exploit what we call the long tail (long list of less often used keywords). Don’t hesitate to read our guide How to write with keywords?

Hardlinks / NoFollow

Backlinks must be hard links (which means that they must not use redirection scripts). They must not be nofollow. In this case, the link will have no effect on SEO. Indeed, the nofollow attribute allows a site owner to tell search engines not to follow these links. This mode allows the websites allowing visitors to contribute (forum, comment, social networks etc.) to prevent link-spamming.  This does not mean that you must neglect them. For they still bring traffic to your website which is your main goal.

Illegal practices

There are some illegal practices related to netlinking. You should try to avoid them because search engines severely penalize them.
Examples of this could be hidden links or link farms. Link farms are websites which only contain artificial backlinks, to try to cheat search engines, these links are ignored by search engines but can also lead to the banishment of your website.

Obtain backlinks

There exist several ways to obtain backlinks.
For example you can exchange links with partners. You can exchange links with sites whose topics are very similar to yours. Thus you will improve both their and your SEO. Make sure nevertheless that your exchange is fair (the number and placement of links must depend on the page popularity)
Next, you should give priority to natural link creation. Your website must add value, which may lead other sites to create links. Adding new content and updating existing information will allow you to increase your number of backlinks and to improve your SEO as well as your website reputation.
As a conclusion, SEO is a background task and you should keep on working on it. You now have an additional tool to improve your SEO. It’s up to you now!

Alexandre Hilf
Chief Marketing Officer
My thirst for knowledge and interactions brings me to share my best tips with you, so that you become a real marketing expert.

Last update: December 18, 2020

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