How important are backlinks in 2017?

By May 17, 2017Advice, Local SEO, SEO
how important are backlinks
There are many factors that Google and other search engines (wait, there are OTHER search engines?!) use to determine how a website is ranked in search.
Website structure, content, meta descriptions, title tags, schema, and backlinks are all signals that search engines use to determine a website’s rankings. Backlinks are links from other websites that help build up a website’s trust factor. The number and quality of websites linking back to a specific website increase the ranking of that site.
Sounds simple, right? Just get a lot of links.
In old-school SEO, the type of links didn’t matter as much. When an SEO professional which you too can become with the help of a local seo coaching, wanted to build links for their clients, they used to be able to just create a ton of different websites and place their client’s links on them. Boom! First-page magic!
Google caught on. Now, not only does that kind of link building (or “link farming”) not work, websites can actually be penalized for it. Which is the opposite of what you want when trying to increase your rankings!
Building quality backlinks is a time-consuming and sometimes costly process, but they are still very important in 2017. Googles search engines are getting more sophisticated and the quality and variety of links are becoming increasingly more important. Having 10 links from one website is not as valuable as having 10 different kinds of links from a variety of different websites. Google wants to show the most relevant results possible and having links is one way to show your website is relevant.
Think of a backlink as a digital recommendation. The more recommendations that a website receives from other websites, the more trust it will build up.
So, what type of links are there?
Follow vs. No Follow
A follow link means that a website is actually passing along some their web authority by posting a link. A no follow link means that a website is telling search engines to not pass along authority. An example of a very common no follow link is in the comment section of a blog.
Having a healthy mix of both no follow and follow links are important for building a healthy backlink profile. So don’t discount no follow links as they play a very important role as well.
Text links
A text link means that the link is built into clickable text like this.
The text that links back to the website can be important especially if the anchor text is one of your coveted keywords. (*cough* Seattle SEO *cough*)
Image links
Since search engines can’t really “see” images, having a link without anchor text won’t be as strong. But it’s still a great link to get.
Great, so now what? How do you get other websites to link back to yours and build quality backlinks?
Right from the horse’s mouth, here’s Google’s recommendation to creating backlinks,
 backlink building for google
“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
Summing that up:

1) Create AWESOME content. 

2) Promote the heck out of said content.

Some other ways to grow your backlinks:
• Make sure all of your digital real estate is claimed.
This includes all social media profiles, local and industry directories.
• Contact any partners you work with and ask for a link back to your website
(if appropriate) 
• Sponsor local events
Examples:  5K’s, festivals, or local Meet-Up groups needing a sponsor
• Create a scholarship
This doesn’t have to be a large investment, but a link back from an .edu website (and of course that special glow that you will feel helping someone getting a higher education) will be well worth it.
• Set up listening channels
You can set up a free alert in Google that will send you a message anytime your business is mentioned. Keep an eye out for these mentions and make sure they link back to your website.
• Comment on industry specific articles and blogs
These will most likely be no-follow links, but it’s a great way to stay connected in your industry, build some recognition within that community, and help ensure your link profile is varied.
Again the quality and variety of backlinks are what will last and create a strong profile.

What other ways can you think of to build strong backlinks? Drop them in the comments below! 

See our related post: Link Building for Local Business
Danielle

Author Danielle

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