One common SEO mistake small business owners and solopreneurs fall victim to is building poor quality backlinks. Often times, these business people maintain their own websites, yet they don’t fully understand what backlinks are. And as a result, they may unwittingly fall victim to a backlink scam.
What is a backlink?
Simply put, a backlink is a link to your website that is included on another website. For example, let’s say you are a member of a networking organization. One of the member benefits is an online membership directory that lets you display your company’s website URL. Anyone with access to that directory can click the URL and connect directly with your website. That website listing is a backlink.
What tyes of backlinks should you avoid?
Beware of emails from companies that want to exchange links. They offer to include your website link on their website and ask you to return the favor by including hteir website URL on your own website. The problem with this strategy is it can backfire on you. If the company belongs to an industry that is not related to your industry at all, Google could penalize your site with a poor ranking or even ban it.
Another backlink to avoid is one from a mirror site. This is typically a website created by an internet marketer just to publish a collection of websites, generally with the same content on each. The purpose is to direct links to the sites in hopes of better rankings. But these sites are typically filtered out of the search results, especially when content isn’t useful to the online community.
You should also avoid getting backlinks from blacklisted websites, gaming sites, adult entertainment or other questionable online communities.
What types of backlinks are useful?
Backlinks from relevant sites such as your social networking accounts, membership directories related to your industry or networking groups you belong to. Online press release websites are good, as long as the releases you’re publishing are not frivolous, and focus on news that your customers would be interested in.
Do backlinks even matter?
Yes and No. Poor quality backlinks will still hurt you, but you don’t need to worry as much about creating good backlinks. Google’s head of search, Matt Cutts, said recently that SEOs spend too much attention on link building instead of focusing on the user experience especially the websiet’s design, and then the broader marketing effort. He recommends spending more time on social media and other areas to build awareness of your website.
Watch the full interview here:
Image courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net / Stuart Miles