By now you should realize what a fantastic tool a website can be for your business. As a small business owner, maybe you've even decided to dip your toe in the water and start learning a little more about them. If so, good for you!
Here's one thing you should know. You may have the most well-designed and informative website on the planet, but if no one visits it, it's useless. And that's why if you're going to do some reading up on websites, the best thing to research is search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization, aka SEO (don't you love learning new lingo?), is the driving force that brings traffic to your website. If you want your website to generate business, you need good SEO.
How Does SEO Work?
Let's play a situation game. Say you want to find a local accountant to file your income taxes with the IRS. What do you do? Type a few keywords like income taxes and then the name of your city and state in your computer's search bar and see what happens. Go ahead. We'll wait.
Chances are your effort brought up several pages filled with listings of local accounting firms as well as nationally recognized firms. These are what are called Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.
But how did your search engine determine which listings appeared on your SERPs and in what order? And if you were an accountant, wouldn't you want your site to appear at or near the top of your pages?
This is where backlinks come into play.
Backlinks: A Big Thumbs Up
Simply put, a backlink is a link from one website to a page on another website. It's basically the owner of website A giving a positive referral or "thumbs up" to a piece of information on website B. If another website backlinks to yours, the operators of that website are in effect telling their audience that your information is good, useful, or valuable and that you should be trusted. Anyone who clicks on that backlink on their site comes over to your site without you even lifting a finger. What's not to like?
But backlinks are good in other ways.
Ready for another situation. Let's say you've gotten an unfortunate diagnosis from your doctor. You don't like what you're hearing, so what do you do? You get a second opinion, of course! Maybe even a third. If all three opinions, however, give you the same bad news, you're far more likely to accept that first diagnosis as valid.
Search engines are similar in that way. While they're designed to be pretty smart, one thing they cannot do is verify if the sites they lead you to are trustworthy or if the information they contain is valid. Instead, search engines look at the number of backlinks sites receive. The more backlinks or "thumbs up" your site receives from multiple other sites, the more yours will be seen as an authoritative, valid source. And that weighs heavily in SERPs. Although it is fair to say that Google is getting better and better at interpreting content through the use of AI so having helpful content is key as we look towards the future.
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Caution: Not All Thumbs Are Created Equal
Okay, just one more. We promise!
Let's say you've written a novel, your very first, and it's in the horror genre. And maybe your Mom loves it. Maybe she loves it so much, she adds a backlink on her antique jewelry website to your author site. (That's love for ya!) Now it's not that your Mom has bad taste, but her backlink "thumbs up" isn't going to carry the same weight as a backlink from, say, Stephen King's author site.
Of course, search engines don't know the difference between your Mom and a renowned horror genre author, but they do recognize topical connections. An author-to-author backlink is going to be weighted more heavily than two sites with unrelated topics. What's more, King's website surely receives a lot more backlinks, so his site already has that authoritative, quality ranking. In short, you really want him to write a blog page about up-and-coming horror writers and backlink to your site!
Where Do I Go from Here?
Hopefully this small tutorial was helpful in getting you to understand what backlinks are and why they are so valuable for promoting websites. Thumbs up if you agree!
As you've probably guessed, there's quite a bit more to it. There are many strategies to get and grow quality backlinks to your page to improve your rankings in SERPs. But you don't have to be an expert on it all. That's what we're here for. If, however, you'd like to learn more about backlinks and how we can help you get the best SEO for your website, let us know. Just click on the chat and our virtual concierge will help you book a 30-minute free consultation.
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Which type of backlinks do you prefer? Niche edits? Guest
posts? Share your thoughts using the comments section!
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