Backlinks can make a world of difference in an online marketing campaign. Businesses that invest in both content marketing and backlinking almost always surpass the competition.

Backlink Basics: Why They Matter So Much

Search engine algorithms consider several factors — including content levels, on-page SEO indicators, and link popularity — when ranking a website, and backlinks are one of the most important. You could post five Pulitzer-quality blog posts a day, but if other websites don’t link to yours, they may never get noticed.

However, don’t gather links from low-quality sources! Doing so could blast your website into oblivion! Quality matters, which is why it’s essential to have someone on your side who can distinguish between helpful and harmful backlinks.

Backlink Variety: The Spice of SEO

Variety is the spice of life — and the maxim holds for search engine optimization! Having 1,000 backlinks from the same website isn’t as good as having one backlink from 1,000 websites. However, status matters! In some cases, a single backlink from a prominent website could be worth more to your SEO efforts than 1,000 from unknown sources.

What constitutes a respected website? Generally, they’re platforms with either high-traffic volumes or institutional value. For example, backlinks from Wikipedia and government websites are worth their weight in gold and are called “foundational backlinks.” Ones from established media outlets are also desirable.

To be clear, backlinks from medium-value sites aren’t worthless, and you should pursue them in addition to foundational backlinks. Think of them as a supportive link net that buoys the foundational ones.

Best Practice: Growing a web of foundational and supporting links that point to your website will ignite your search engine performance.

Backlink Velocity: Timing Is Everything

When it comes to backlink velocity, understand two important things:

  1. Search engines reward organic popularity.
  2. Algorithms are smart bots that can detect and punish abnormal activity.

As such, when a website acquires thousands of links out of the blue, the activity spike may appear suspicious to android bots. In some cases, the platform may be marked for suspicious activity. In the worst cases, it may be de-indexed altogether.

What Is De-Indexing?

Search engines are like the all-mighty Oz. Behind the scenes, they control the bots that rank sites. Algorithms also have the power to banish platforms from their indexes — and will excise websites that unnaturally manipulate their rankings by purchasing bulk links and other frowned-upon techniques. When a site is removed from an index, it will never show up in a search, rendering it invisible to potential clients and customers.

One of the worst things you can do is buy a bunch of links on the cheap from a disreputable source — only for them to activate all at once. It’s a one-way ticket to the rankings graveyard because the sudden link velocity is a red alarm to search engine bots. Buying cheap links may feel like the right decision at the moment of purchase, but it could easily blow you 10 steps back — or off the map altogether. We’ve seen it happen.

Best Practice: Build backlinks in a calculated and natural manner. One thousand new links over nine months are much more preferable to 5,000 links in five minutes.

Backlink Volume: More Isn’t Always Better

Don’t be a Veruca Salt when building backlinks. More isn’t always better, and SEO greed can send your website down the garbage chute.

How can more not be better? Once again, it’s a function of the intelligent search engine bots that decide who lands where in the SERPs. They’re equipped with quality control sensors, and they punish platforms attached to low-quality link farms. So let’s say you have 20,000 links pointing to your site, but they all come from the equivalent of “Cheap-Links-R-Us,” then those 20,000 links may harm, not help.

What Are SERPs?

SERP stands for search engine result page. When you enter a query into a search engine like Google, the system returns thousands of links that match your question or phrase. Those pages of links are called SERPs in online marketing lingo.

Best Practice: Stay away from link farms because more links don’t always translate to better rankings. Link quality matters just as much as volume.

How DIY Backlinking Can Backfire Badly

As we’ve mentioned, backlinking can be downright dangerous in the hands of a novice. Adding too many links too quickly can harm your site — as can links from bad websites.

SEO professionals use tools that reveal other websites’ status rankings, and they can also unearth your competitors’ backlinks. This knowledge is invaluable.

Beyond the tools, professional online marketers enjoy institutional knowledge. They know what works and what doesn’t. They know which sites to avoid and which to embrace. Plus, they have the connections to ensure your web of backlinks is the exact right mix of foundational and supportive.

Best Practice: If you don’t have experience with link-building, it’s wise to let a professional handle it. Mistakes can lead to de-indexing.

Backlinking Extra Credit Reading

Above, we’ve reviewed some SEO backlinking basics. If you want to dive deeper, here are some recommendations:

Blogging is an important part of any SEO campaign. Click here to learn how content improves your website’s search engine ranking.
If you plan to blog, be sure to check out this guide to the five things every post should have. After you’re done with that, learn how to leverage keywords in your writing.
In this article, we reviewed a handful of technical aspects regarding backlinks. An article we published a few weeks back gets into why backlinks play a major role in all SEO campaigns.

Connect With a Backlinking Expert

Rounded Digital can handle all your backlinking needs. Our team of professional online marketers will build a web of foundational and supporting links that will drastically improve your online marketing efforts. Get in touch today. We’ll review your current digital footprint and present several options that will boost your performance in the SERPs — and ultimately increase your bottom line.