One of the most frequently asked questions about search engine optimization I get involves backlinks. Namely, what are they? And why do I need them?
Backlinks are links from another website that point to your website. They are an important ingredient to SEO because Google rewards you with a higher page ranking when you have them. In fact, Google says on their website that “the more links you have, the more likely it is that the Googlebot will visit your website.” And the more frequently Google visits your site and sees new content, the more likely it is that your site will move higher up in page ranking.
However, Google also says it will penalize you if your inbound links come from web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” such as porn sites. So avoid these sites like the plague!
How do you get backlinks?
You can get them from a variety of sources including:
- Article submission sites such as Ezinearticles.com
- Professional associations, charitable organizations
- Directories – such as Yahoo, DMOZ.org
- Blog sites
- Online Press Release sites
- Social Networking – Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Don’t try to do all of these things at once. Spread them out over a couple of months time. Then, you can start checking on your progress by utilizing a free backlink checker site. Google’s Webmaster Tools can help you here. But there are also many other free sites available online.
I used two of them recently and got interesting results. The first one I checked was www.online-utlity.org.
This free tool analyzes up to 1000 inlinks (backlinks, inbound links) to arbitrary page (or website) and shows domains of backlinks. It shows separately different classes of URLs like .edu, .mil, .com, .net, .gov and other. It is similar to host and IP backlinks checker, but it might be a bit faster and doesn’t do IP address analysis of backlinks.
When I searched my own website, www.gloriarand.com with this backlink tool, it turned up 96 backlinks.
Another site I tried out, www.backlinkwatch.com found 182 backlinks to my website. It also showed me “anchor” text, pagerank, total outbound links on that page, and nofollow flag for each of my available inbound links.
It is a good idea to check your link visibility frequently, or at least once a month. But don’t get impatient if you’re not seeing as many links as you think you should. Some get picked up by Google faster than others.