Backlinks; What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

Backlinks; What They Are and Why Do You Need Them?Principles of PageRank

Backlinks, also known as incoming links or inbound links are links that come into a website or web page from another website or web page.  In basic talk a backlink is any link received by a web page, directory, or website from another web avenue. For instance, your company links your website to your blog. Linking your website to your blog or another website gives more credibility with search engines and optimizes the search engine experience.

The significance of these backlinks lies in search engine optimization or SEO. The number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page. This is one of the factors Google uses to determine the PageRank of a webpage or even a blog. The more visitors to your site, the more popular the site. So the more you push or anchor your website onto other pages, websites, or blogs, the more people you get to visit or click that page. Backlinks may also be visitor noteworthy for personal, cultural, or semantic reasons because they indicate who or what group of people are paying attention or are visitors to that page.

Search engines, such as Google, use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the important factors for determining a website’s ranking, popularity, and importance. Google’s description of its PageRank system, for instance, interprets that a link from page 1 to page 2 is a factor in considering that page 1 thinks that page 2 is important. Even though this may not be true, search engines use it to determine who should be first on a page rank.

There are several factors that determine a backlink’s value. Backlinks that are from authoritative sites on specific topics are highly valuable. If both sites have content geared toward the topic’s keywords, the backlink is considered to be significant and will have a strong influence on the search engine rankings. A backlink represents a favorable search engine vote for the receiving webpage granting another webpage their link.

Another important factor is the anchor text of the backlink. Anchor text is the descriptive labeling of the hyperlink as it appears on a web page. Search engine spiders or crawlers examine the anchor text to evaluate how relevant it is to the content on a webpage. Anchor text and webpage content are highly weighted in search engine results and the page rankings of a webpage. So be careful with respect to keywords and how they match up to your content.

People often use these SEO strategies to increase the number of backlinks that point to their website(s). Some of these methods you can do yourself, but there are also companies that can do them for you at no cost. However, there are other costly methods that require quite a bit of financing, planning, and marketing to work. Often times, these will be the sites that you see on the first page of a search, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your website on that same first page using simple marketing strategies, so pay attention.

There has recently been a buzz throughout Twitter and Facebook, and yes even Google, that backlinks no longer hold the key to a good PageRank. Though this might happen in the future, as of now backlinks are still considered important to your standing in the search engines.

Sites for blogging such as Squidoo, Blogger, and HubPages are valuable avenues to creating backlinks.  Posterous.com is also a way to produce backlinks. Sign up for Posterous via email at post@posterous.com and account will be created. You then choose Autopost and Posterous will post to a variety of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, Blogger, and WordPress.

Leaving comments on other people’s blogs is another strategy for backlinks. Be sincere and positive with your feedback. Look for blogs that are in your field, comment on their blog or article, and then leave a link to your website, or just ask them to visit your blog.

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Promoting and your video to large directories will get you indexed and it is a great way to build backlinks to your site. Videos can easily be made by using an existing article, and spiffing it up some. Videos can be made with Windows Movie Maker or some other free video making operating system – you just have to search them out.

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