Ever since Google first started, backlinks have been important. Their whole algorithm centres around which sites are convinced enough about the value of your website to include a link to it. It’s more complicated than that simple sentence because there are lots of factors involved in the calculation but in a nutshell your “score” for backlinks is made up from how many links there are pointing to your site and how valuable (important) each of those links are.
Of course, nothing to do with computers is ever simple. Which is why there is always debate about the kind of backlinks that are best.
Natural links are the best
Natural links are where another person has put a link back to your website of their own volition.
This happens a lot with links pointing back to sites such as Wikipedia as people use it as a reference point.
It happens a lot less often to your site unless it’s of similarly high importance.
Google’s algorithm is quite good at working out which links are created naturally. It keeps track of when links are created, where they are on the pages and a number of other factors.
Whilst it’s no Sherlock Holmes, it’s certainly quite good at deducing this.
By definition, you can’t create natural backlinks yourself.
But you can go out of your way to encourage them to happen.
You can do this by creating the kind of content on your site that people want to link to – top 10 lists, helpful answers to questions that people regularly ask, that kind of thing.
So if your site is low on that kind of valuable content, it’s worth adding it gradually.
A mixture of other links is good as well
Deep down, Google is resigned to the fact that not every backlink on the web is totally natural.
They’re real world enough to realise this, even if the initial knee jerk reaction of their algorithm is to seek to downplay any less-than-natural links as much as possible.
The “trick” (and it’s not really a trick, that’s just a verbal shorthand for what you’re doing) is to keep things as natural as possible.
That means that you shouldn’t rely on one single source of backlinks for your site.
Whether that source is articles like this one, comments on other people’s blogs, videos on YouTube, helpful posts on forums related to your niche, guest posts on blogs, links from relevant directories, pictures on Pinterest, Tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook and LinkedIn or somewhere else.
That last paragraph should have given you a very strong hint about what you need to do and the variety of places that you can legitimately get backlinks pointing to your site.
Variety really is the spice of life where backlinks are concerned.
If you rely on just one or two sources, you can be sure that Google’s algorithm will recognise that and will know that, overall, your site isn’t too important.
The wider the variety of places linking back to your site, the better. It implies that you have a wider influence and that, in turn, helps you rise up the search result rankings.