When searching for increasing traffic to your website, you have often come across the term backlinks. Backlinks generally refer to links placed on other websites that point to pages on your website.
Why are they important?
So what is the importance of backlinks for your website? Google’s rise to the dominance it is today, and the reason most of its competitors were let down back when there were dozens of popular search engines, was its patented PageRank algorithm.
What set PageRank apart from other search engines at the time was the way your search results were ranked. The most common way to rank a website in the past was to look at the keywords present and how closely they related to your search query. However, this means that a spamming site can easily clutter their site with popular search terms to rank their pages high in search results irrelevant to their content.
PageRank introduced another metric to measure a website’s relevance to search queries. Google takes every backlink you receive from another website as a “vote” that your website contains enough relevant and desirable information that the other website wishes to link to. In this way, Goggle reduced reliance on keywords present on a website to determine how highly it should rank. At the same time, it encourages site owners to develop quality content instead of stuffing their pages with keywords.
Every time you link to another website from your own website, you are effectively voting for that link. It is important to note that if your website contains links to sites that Google classifies as spam and shady, this will affect your PageRank. The same happens when links to your website appear very frequently on dubious websites. This is based on the logic that if you are in bad company, you are very likely to be one yourself.
While having bank links is important, getting quality ones is even more important. In February 2003, Google received its first patent for the methodology of giving more weight to links from authoritative websites. A few links from a group of reputable sites will work in your favor far more than having hundreds of links from low-ranking, low-quality sites.
How to get backlinks?
Getting desirable backlinks from another website is a tedious process. Websites in the past commonly had a links or resource page just to list websites that the site owner thinks you will find interesting. You could email sites with similar content to set up a link on their site and you would reciprocate. As websites changed, the links and resource pages became increasingly obsolete as the links were embedded within the content itself wherever fit the context.
When blogs came into being, anyone with internet access could publish and manage online content without any programming knowledge. As more and more content is created on the Internet in the form of articles or posts, the practice of linking interesting information in these posts has become even more common. This is where the easiest way to get backlinks is by writing interesting articles or posts that people will want to read and in turn share with others. Whenever your articles are reposted or shared on others’ blogs, you’ll automatically get backlinks without much effort beyond writing the article itself. At the same time, you’re also driving traffic to your site, so there’s really no reason not to if possible.
While Google has since added over 200 more criteria by which it ranks a website, backlinks remain a key component in establishing your website in search results. An entire industry offering search engine optimization was even created to help clients increase their search traffic by creating quality backlinks. Google’s search engine is constantly being refined and updated as its engineers discover new ways to associate information with your queries. What works today for driving search traffic may not work in a few months. However, PageRank is the core innovation that has helped bring Google to the position it enjoys today and is very likely to remain so for a long time to come.