We all want to drive more traffic to our websites. But with so many sites vying for our attention, how can you get readers to click on yours?
It’s all about the inbound links, also known as backlinks. But what exactly are they? And how do they work to improve your page ranking?
Before we dive in, let’s start with the basics.
What exactly are inbound links?
An inbound link is a hyperlink on a third party website which points to a page on your site. They connect your page to other websites and channel traffic onto your site.
Never underestimate the importance of inbound links – they’re essential for SEO. And they should also be considered in any SEO audit.
In fact, the number of inbound links you have to your website goes a long way to determining your Page Rank.
What do inbound links have to do with page ranking?
Search engines analyze inbound links to your site. Discovering a number of high-quality backlinks are an indication to the likes of Google or Bing that your website is trustworthy.
Higher page ranking is fundamental as the world shifts to thinking about digital transformation. In this framework, inbound links need to be part of your strategy.
Image Source: Pixabay
It may come as a surprise therefore, that a staggering 94% of the world’s content has zero external links.
Yet strong inbound links are essential if you want your website to sit at the top of Page Ranking. Inbound links are a foundation of good search engine optimization (SEO) and will make or break your ranking status. Links are one of the top two considerations for Google’s page ranking algorithm.
The assumption is that important websites receive a greater number of links from other websites. Conversely, poor links will leave you floundering in the depths of internet cyberspace where no-one will see you.
Read on to discover how to set up quality inbound links that search engines will love.
How inbound links drive traffic to your page
Page Rank is the algorithm a search engine uses to assess the quality of a web page. Amongst other things, it looks at the number of links you have to gauge your page’s importance.
Google rates pages based on relevance and the popularity of links. The way it assesses whether other people think your content is valuable is partly through the number of inbound links to your website.
A help page from Google puts it like this:
“Google uses sophisticated text-matching techniques to display pages that are both important and relevant to each search. Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”
So how can you be sure your inbound links are good enough to win top search engines’ attention?
Tips to generate good quality inbound links
First of all, think about the anchor text – the clickable text in an inbound link.
Does the anchor text give a good indication of what your visitor will find when they click on it? Analyzing the anchor text is one way Google has of determining relevance. It’s also very useful for someone deciding whether to click on the hyperlink or not.
You may not have much control over anchor text on external sites, but in some cases you could ask site owners to edit it for you.
Try to build inbound links from well-known media such as the BBC, CNN, or the Huffington Post (it’ll be tough, but worth it if you can get them). Contacting a journalist with news about your product or service could result in a story with a link to your website.
Another way of gaining valuable inbound links is to position yourself as an expert in your field. Why not offer to be interviewed by an online industry magazine? This is a natural way of linking back a podcast, article, or blog to your site.
Or, write a guest blog for a relevant industry site. This is a fabulous way of creating content that you can link to your site.
Aim for a range of links from sites that are similar to your topic. For example, if your website is a service that offers contact center optimization, set up inbound links from third party call center, phone system, unified communications sites.
Another way to get backlinks is to participate in relevant forums which could lead to referrals to your site. Search ‘forum’ with your niche and fill out your profile.
It’s all a question of online networking. You need to know your customer base and use essential SaaS metrics, if that’s the industry in which you operate.Start discussion threads and comment on others’ threads and blogs. The idea is to present yourself as a trustworthy contributor.
Again, if you can get linked to by authoritative and strong brands, your site will naturally rank higher by association. The more people you know, the better your chances of striking a great business deal.
Image Source: Pixabay
Content is the key to the best inbound links
Links from pages directly related to your product or service are perfect. Forget any site that isn’t indexed, however, as it won’t appear in any search.
One of the easiest ways to win these golden links is to invest in great content.
Your content needs to be interesting, informative, and to fulfil the reason why someone may click on your site. Writing quality articles is a great way to increase your inbound links, and consequently, your page rank.
For example, you might write an article about ‘How FoIP Has Brought Fax into the Digital World’. You could then link up with relevant communication companies. These could all create great inbound links.
Pick your keywords with care
Keywords are essential for SEO and can greatly increase traffic and rank. One way to discover the type of keywords your audience uses, is to visit popular forums and blogs.
Tools such as Ahrefs can then analyze the domain that your potential backlink comes from to see if it’s ranking well for those keywords.
Image Source: Pixabay
Great content also needs to look fantastic
If your content is easy on the eye, it will have a much better chance of being picked up by other websites. The best user experience comes from sites that are visually appealing as well as credible and trustworthy. This is especially important when thinking about building a mobile app.
Attention spans are fleeting, so you need to ensure your content includes at least some of the following:
· Images, gifs or videos
· Social media posts
· Lists with bullet points
· Contrasting font sizes and colors
A few things to watch out for
A range of tools are available to check backlinks.These tools will also tell you if they’re still live or indeed, broken.
Content is constantly changing and links are often deleted, resulting in a 404 page which indicates that a page doesn’t exist. An error page is a sure-fire way of ejecting readers from your site so don’t ignore them.
And take care. If you connect a blog post or a page to a site with suspect authority, your ranking could suffer.
If you’re approaching a website owner for a possible backlink, there are some useful tips about how to go about it here.
Search engines look for inbound links as proof that other sites vouch for your site.
Gaining natural links is the goal. Always think about how a link building campaign can add value for readers of linking sites.