In continuing with my last blog post on on-page optimization for SEO, I’d like to talk about the off-page aspect of SEO, more specifically, backlinking – a basic practice of off-page SEO. Backlinking is simply putting links on other web pages that link back to our web pages, and it’s extremely important for a number of reasons. First, links help the search engines find your site. The more links you have pointing to your site, the more often search engines will stumble across your site. Also, search engines use links to determine your site popularity, which partly determines the ranking of your site in search results. On top of that, let’s not forget that links help visitors – actual people, not just search engines – to find your website. Given that links are important from both SEO and non-SEO perspectives, backlinking is well worth the time and effort.

But what makes a good link? To show search engines that your site is related to a particular keyword phrases, you want to make sure that the links pointing to your site have useful anchor texts, not just your company name or your URL, or even general call to actions such as “click here”. Use keywords that you want to rank high on and be as descriptive as possible. Now what kind of sites do you want to link back from? The general rule of thumb is to opt for sites that are relevant and trustworthy. But we don’t have to be picky, as any links are better than no links at all.

When brainstorming for where to establish links, first consider the low-hanging fruit. If you have a blog, be sure to add links to your blog posts and link back to your various website pages. The same applies to your social networking account such as Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.  If you own several sites, you could put links in the page footers or find various other places to slip links in so they link to each other. Putting links on profile pages in forums and bulletin boards that you’re a member of, or announcing your site in forum messages are also good options. How about listings in the directories of professional associations you remember? If your company buys product for resale, try asking your suppliers to provide you with a link; if you sell products to other companies, request them to link back to you. Does your company donate money or service to non-profits? If so, ask if you get links from the donor pages. Don’t forget about your friends, family and even employees, as they might be willing to mention you in their blogs, groups they are members of, or their personal or business websites. If you sit down and think for a while, you’ll almost certainly come up with a bunch of places to get you started.

Above are the easy options of backlinking, and in my next blog post I will get into some other advanced options. Since backlinks are important from both SEO and non-SEO standpoint, it’s important to foster a “think links” mentality among your employees, so that all staff members understand that links to your website is a key factor in the success of your site, and you can capture more opportunities as they come along.

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