What Are Backlinks and Why Should You Care? A Beginner's Guide To Backlinks
If you do not give a hoot if people come to your website or not then you do not need to worry about backlinks. But if you have a web presence because you want to reach out to other people or create a business or make money or just communicate your information to others, then you need to be concerned about back links.
Otherwise … No One Is Going to Find You.
Basically a back link is a vote for your site. It is a link from other sites to yours. Just as an e-mail address is a link to you via e-mail, a back link points to your website or blog. This is important because the more votes that you get, the higher ranking you will have in the Google algorithm, which means that you will get a better ranking in Google. Of course everyone's goal is to get on the first page of Google. Back links have a very heavyweight in the way Google determines who gets on the first page. And the same is true for other search engines.
The science of creating back links can get very complicated and I want to keep this very simple for the real beginner. For example if you have a website, and let's say it's a blog where you're writing content about some subject. You want other websites to link to yours, and they can do this in two ways.
One backlink would be a link to your specific post from another website. For example; you have posted an article on your website about the joys of having a tropical fish tank. And now you're going to write an article on the care and cleaning of the fish tank. This article is probably longer and is completely different then the information in your post. You're going to take that article and you're going to publish it through one of the free article publishing websites such as EzineArticles or ArticleBase.
When you write articles and post them on an article site for free, there will be a section for author information. You would put your URL for that specific post which refers to the article that you just wrote. In this way you have created a link that points to a specific page on your website. Other fish tank enthusiasts will read your article and notice your website and possibly click on it. Bingo! You just created a link to you site and someone visited you. Exactly what you want … traffic to your site. Imagine thousands of people reading your article, going to your blog to read more.
Another kind of link points back to your website in general.
For example: if you go to another website that allows you to make a comment on what someone else has written, you will also have the opportunity to put your name and website or URL. This also creates a back link to your domain.
One kind of back link points to a specific page on your website and the other back link points to your website or domain in general. Both are important and both have their value. But here is the one Golden Rule.
Quality Versus Quantity.
Remember that in the world of backlinks quality trumps quantity. Over time you could create 1000 back links to your website, but if these were low quality it would mean nothing. One of the things that determinates quality is the content of the other website. It has to be relevant and should be original. If your website talks about cooking and food and you have links from websites that talk about auto repair or house painting it's not going to make much difference to your website. That content is not relevant to what you're doing.
So when you make a comment on another website it's important that the website has a good page ranking (PR) and that it's relevant to your website. If you're writing about food and you had a back link from Food and Wine Magazine or The Food Network those would have very high page ranks and would certainly be relevant to your topic.
The higher the page rank (PR), from the website that back linked to you, more weight it carries in Google. This means that you have very important votes for your website and there before your chances of getting a higher ranking in Google are improved.
In conclusion: back links are votes for your site. The back link can point back to a specific article or page on your site or, your domain homepage. Quality is king in the back link world. Google rewards back links that are relevant, have content, and are of high quality.
If you're new to the whole Internet marketing scene I hope this has been helpful for you. I'll be posting more about back links and if you have a specific area of interest please leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.