Off-page SEO: Backlinks

By Matt Bertram

By Matt Bertram

Matt Bertram is Head of Digital Strategy at EWR Digital. He is a nationally recognized expert in SEO and the Co-Host of the top rated SEO Podcast, "The Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing." Author of Build Your Brand Mania: How to Transform Yourself Into an Authoritative Brand That Will Attract Your Ideal Customers with contributing articles in Forbes, Search Engine Journal and numerous other publications pertaining to digital marketing.

Backlinks are one of the strongest forms of off-page SEO and play an important role in improving your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).

Simply put, a backlink is created when another website links back to your website. Think of backlinks as road signs on the information highway that point readers to your website. There are three types of backlinks you can incorporate into your website. Read on to learn more about each one.

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Natural Backlinks

The first type are called natural links. Natural links are the most valuable and high-quality type of backlinks. Natural links are created when one website links to another simply because they want to.

For example, if a food blogger links to their favorite restaurant’s website, the restaurant earns a natural link. Natural links are great because you don’t have to ask for them, and they come from content sites that are topically related to your service, store, or niche. On the other hand, natural backlinks are hard to come by since you really can’t ask for them. You have to acquire them over time by producing high-quality content that people will naturally want to refer to.

Part of the reason natural links are highly valued is that they’re associated with strong anchor text. Anchor text is created when a backlink uses a keyword in the text of the hyperlink, essentially “anchoring” it to the topic. For instance, on a site that sells organic dog food, anchor text would look like a hyperlink that says “organic dog food” rather than “click here.”

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Backlinks are road signs on the information highway that point readers to your website.

Manually Built Links

The next type of backlinks are called manually built links. Manually built links are backlinks that you ask for. To create manually built links, you’ll need to contact fellow website owners and ask them to link to you. The most important part of building manual links is making sure to contact people relevant to your industry. Having a few highly-related manual links can be helpful for SEO, but having a smattering of unrelated manual links will likely harm your website instead.

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Self-Created Links

The third and final type of backlinks are called self-created links. These are exactly what they sound like: backlinks you create yourself. You can do this by adding your site to online directories or NAP listings.

This may seem like an easy shortcut, but too many self-created links will actually harm your website in the long run. When Google notices that a site has an abundance of backlinks (especially in unrelated places), they mark the website as spam. To avoid being demoted on the SEO rankings, only choose self-created links that have high visibility, like Google My Business or Yahoo’s Yext.

Prioritize quality over quantity of backlinks.

In the end, backlinks are best created with quality in mind, not quantity. Think of backlinks as building blocks to good SEO. And you wouldn’t want shabby building blocks, would you? Focusing on natural links (and some manual links) first will help protect your site from being marked as spam. It will also help direct relevant readers to your website who may turn into subscribers, customers, and even new backlinks.

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Looking to boost your off-page SEO? Contact the EWR Digital team online or talk with one of our experts by scheduling a 15-minute call at 713-592-6724! We can’t wait to help your business start growing.

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Off-Page SEO: Backlinks | EWR Digital – Houston, TX