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What Is a Backlink?

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SEO, backlinks, meta-descriptions… expressions related to the referring of an internet site on the most search engines can surely give you a headache! You surely want your project to be on Google’s first page of results, however, we are sorry to let you know that you will need to work to make it through. There are now millions of pages on the internet, even some on the same subject than your website. What can you do in order to be chosen as the first result by search engines instead of others? One way to improve your importance is to have efficient backlinks.

What is a backlink?

Although there are also internal links, backlinks are paths that lead to your website. Indeed, when there is a link that redirects a visitor to your website from another one, it is a backlink. As mentioned by Kristof Maret, search engines will prefer a website which has backlinks because it will be perceived as having authority. (The link in the last sentence is indeed a backlink to another blog.) You can find the list of all websites that bring you visitors in the Acquisition section of your Google Analytics page, under the referral channel.  

Are you still struggling with this concept? Imagine that the Internet is a huge road map and that your website is a small village. You certainly want to have people to visit your restaurants, hotels, and boutiques. To do this, you need roads that bring visitors to your town. The more you have roads, the more you might have visitors. The roads that lead to you must also be easy to follow. Moreover, if there is a direct path between your village and a bigger town, you will probably benefit from their outreach. Thus, backlinks work the same way as paths on a road map.

What is the difference between a good and a bad link?

To start with, do not think to put links to your website everywhere! It would only be to your detriment. As it is mostly the case, Google prefers links and websites of good quality. Did you know that there were websites that put hundreds of links on their pages in white font and white color? They thought they were clever because by doing so they could publicize many websites without people knowing it. Nevertheless, our most-known search engine was cleverer; it quickly saw the trickery and then imposed colossal referral penalties over the last years on those who had questionable practices. The first SEO rule is to avoid having issues with Google since it is the most important search engine by far.

To sum up what a good backlink is, first try to find honorable partners that have more reach than you do. It does not need to be only websites that appear as the first results on search engines (but it would be great if so). Moreover, a link which appears directly in a text will be considered as more pertinent than a link located in the comments for instance. We also suggest you have a look from time to time at the referral websites that have links to you on your Google Analytics page. You need to check if it is appropriate links and not spam since it could damage your indexing.

How to get these backlinks?

There are many ways you can have backlinks linked to your website. As mentioned above, it is critical to choose quality over quantity. It would be interesting to look for relevant backlinks from review websites (Trip Advisor, Yelp), online directories (Yellow Pages), or even from organizations or associations related to your line of business (Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, Sudbury Sport & Social Club), for instance. Furthermore, you can also contact websites that do comparisons between products or services in order to make known what you offer.

It is also possible to make partnerships with influencers, as well as with other bloggers to increase your visibility. Know how to find complementary websites to yours; your product must be useful to them. Hence, it will be easier to convince them to leave a link to one of your articles. You can always ask for an article exchange for your respective blogs. It works that way: you write them an interesting article and they write one for you. You will then have a backlink to their website and they will have one for yours. Nevertheless, take the time to read and approve what will be published on your project, as always. On another note, make sure your social media are linked with your website. Take also the time to choose links that bring people to different pages of your website and not only the home page.

In conclusion, you do not need to be a wizard to understand how backlinks work, however, you need to take the time to do some research and make sure to find good partners. It might seem difficult to be seen by search engines but with discipline, everybody can do it. As mentioned above, one of the great tools to help you follow all referral sites is Google Analytics. Are you unfamiliar? If yes, do not hesitate to read our Google Analytics series, you will not regret it!

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