This post covers the most important basics you need to know about backlinks. Getting backlinks to your web pages is an essential part of search engine optimization (particularly for Google). However, not all backlinks are equal. In this post, I describe the three things that matter most, in terms of backlinks. These three factors are: Amount, value and anchor text.
Note: If you prefer watching a video to reading, scroll down to see my video accompanying this post.
Here’s a short description explaining each of the three factors:
This first factor is the simplest. The higher the number of backlinks pointing to your site, the better this is for your ranking.
The thinking behind this is simply that every link to your site represents something like a “vote”. Someone linking to your site is basically saying: “Check this out, there’s something worth seeing there.”
And the more people are saying that there’s something worth seeing on your site, the better your site must be.
On a perfectly innocent Internet (what a weird concept), this would be all it takes to determine the rank of websites. But because there are many people with commercial interests online and it’s fairly easy to build links yourself, determining rank based solely on the amount of backlinks would just result in those pages whose owners have the most powerful link-spamming bots working for them to rank highest.
This is where the other two factors come in.
This is the most debated and most elusive factor determining website ranks. The value of any given backlink is dependent on many different variables and no one, apart from a few engineers at Google, knows exactly how link value is determined.
Here are some factors we can be pretty certain about:
Finally, the anchor text of your links is what determines which keywords you will rank for. For those who don’t know, the anchor text is the text you click on, to follow a link. As an example, here is a link with the anchor text reading “Killer Bunnies”: Killer Bunnies
The anchor text of your backlinks help the search engine spiders decide which keywords to rank your page for. Ideally, you want to get many backlinks that have your targeted keyword as their anchor text. However, you should avoid getting many backlinks that all have the identical anchor text, because this looks unnatural.
For the links you build yourself, I recommend using your keywords in the anchor text in most cases, related keywords in some cases, and something completely unrelated (e.g. “Click here”) in a few cases.
The rule of thumb for good backlink building is this: the more natural your backlink-profile looks, the better.
In other words, aim for diversity when you build backlinks. You can’t go wrong with links from different sites, using variations of anchor text and placed in different contexts on the sites.
Also, don’t shy away from getting links from low-authority sites. As long as it doesn’t take you too much time to get those links, even low value links are useful and make your overall link profile look more natural.
Here’s the video, where I say the same stuff I wrote in this post:
If you have any more questions about link-building, ask away in the comments section below! Cheers,
I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better marketer and product creator. Read more about my story here.