What are backlinks and why are they important?

For most small businesses getting a steady stream of new customer enquiries through their website means getting onto the first page of Google’s search results. Although there’s no guaranteed way of doing this good quality content and backlinks can certainly help.

What are backlinks and why are they important?

Backlinks are simply links back to your website from other people’s websites.

Backlinks tell search engines that your website is important and they help to improve your site’s credibility and search engine ranking. However, backlinks only really help if they are placed on good quality websites that are in some way related to what you do.

Backlinks from large, reliable and trusted websites are the most valuable kind so you should focus your efforts on getting backlinks from these types of sites. Websites near the top of Google are likely to be high quality.

So let’s look at some common types of backlinks and how to get them.

  • Natural links are by far the most valuable. This is where someone links to your website simply because you’ve got great content on it. To get lots of natural links, write articles on your website that are going to be useful for your customers and demonstrate your expertise, then share them through social media. If they’re interesting enough people will share them and people will start to link to your content.
  • Online directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages and Freeindex are great if you’re a local business. You can set up a company profile on these directories, add photos, a description of your business and then link back to your website.
  • If you’re good at writing interesting content and you’re an expert in your field you could offer to write guest blog posts for other websites and blogs. Contact the site’s webmaster, share some examples of your writing, talk through a few ideas and they may commission you to write something.
  • You can add links to your site in forum posts or comments, just make sure the link is accompanied by something helpful. For instance, you might comment on a post in LinkedIn and then link off to an article on your website that helps someone with a particular business problem they’re facing.

Writing your link

When it comes to writing your link pay attention to the anchor text. Don’t just write a link that says ‘read here’ or ‘click here’. Ideally, you should include one or two of your main keywords in your link’s anchor text.

For example ‘Interior design solutions’ would work well as a link. It tells the search engines very clearly what kind of site the link will go to. If you put a location in there as well ‘Interior design solutions in Stockport’ it can go some way to helping with local searches.