So you’ve just had your first website developed, or you’ve had a go at building one yourself. Great! You’re on the way to getting yourself established online. Now comes the next step, You need to bring visitors to your site. To do this you need google to pay attention to your website and after a little research you will be asking the question “what are backlinks?”.
Backlinks are a very important part of the marketing strategy for any new website. This article is designed to give you the answers to these questions as simply as possible for complete beginners, to help you make the right decisions about the direction you should go when marketing your website.
What Are Backlinks? – The Simple Answer
Backlinks are any clickable links (url’s) that link back to your websites homepage or to a specific URL on your website. For some people the act of writing and publishing their content online may be purely cathartic, but the majority of people actually setting up and publishing a website will do so because they want others to read and visit their site. Links can also be referred to as “Internal links” (A link from one page on your website to another page on your website) or “External links” ( A link to a page on a different Domain). So a “backlink” is an External link that is linking back to your website.
So now we’ve answered the question “what are backlinks?” but you need to know what backlinks look like. In the majority of cases typing out the full address of a website or page doesn’t always look attractive on a page, which is why most websites will use anchor text for their backlinks. This anchor text is usually a better way of explaining to visitors what the backlink is about and it also looks more natural on a web page. This can be as short as a single word or as long as a sentence, and is usually highlighted in a different color, which indicates to the visitor that they can click on the text to visit your website. To make links display like this you need to use some basic html, the code is as follows –
<a href="http://shimsy.com">Write your Anchor Link Text Here</a>
So on a webpage the code above will display like this – Write your Anchor Link Text Here and when clicked will send users to the url – http://shimsy.com
Why Do I Need To Know About Backlinks?
One of the most important parts of growing any website is to get visitors (traffic) to the website, and developing a network of backlinks is an important part of doing this. The question of ‘what are backlinks?’ will naturally lead on to the purpose of these links, and what they do is to bring visitors to your website from other websites. Not all backlinks will be as successful as others however, as the quality of the backlink will depend on how successful the other website is. For example, a backlink on a website with a million daily visitors will normally bring much more traffic to your website than a backlink on a website with a thousand daily visitors.
Backlinks And Search Engines
What are backlinks in the eyes of the search engines? This is why backlinks become very important. A search engine needs to determine how relevant your website is. To put it simply what a search engine does is consider the number of websites that link back (backlink) to your website when considering how important your website is, think of every backlink as a +1 vote because your website has been recommended by another website. Obviously every backlink doesn’t carry the same weight, if a high authority website with high traffic links to yours then it has a lot more value than a small low traffic website, having lots of backlinks from spammy low quality websites could even have a negative impact on your websites SEO, but there are not any fixed rules, Google will judge your site based on complicated secret algorithm that is updated every 3 months or so.
Developing a network of backlinks from established websites will help to improve the standing of your website in the eyes of the search engines. A higher ranking with these search engines for a relevant search term can bring you targeted traffic to your website, which is why so many website development guides and SEO experts work with backlinks.
How to format your backlinks
It is important to choose your “Url protocol” when publishing your websites address around the internet or when giving it to others who will link back to you. The beginning of the Url in your address bar indicates what protocol is being used:
- http://shimsy.com – Standard link without the “www.” – This is shorter and commonplace for modern websites.
- http://www.shimsy.com – Standard link with the “http://www.” – A bit to long unless you really like the look of the “www. “.
- https://shimsy.com – This is ” https” – the extra s stands for “secure” – You will only need to use this if you have SSL on your website (for online payments etc).
- https://www.shimsy.com – ( Again a secure link but with the “www.” added).
It is important to pick the right one for your website and stick with it, because if you have links pointing to each different protocol you will end up diluting all of those “votes of confidence” you have been working hard to receive from different places around the internet. I recommend using the standard http:// (for example – http://shimsy.com) because adding “www.” is really not necessary these days it just makes your address longer and adds no benefit.
This just covers the absolute basics of the question “what are backlinks?” this guide was designed to inform non tech users how to get started. What are your thoughts about this? Is there something we have missed out. Leave a comment below and let us know!
Article Image by Widjaya Ivan