The Do’s and Don’ts of Backlinks

Links pointing back to your website help bring traffic to it — in more ways than one. However, the all-powerful search engines judge the quality of your site in large part on the quality of the sites recommending it. Thus, you’ll want to be choosy about your site’s backlinks to remain in good standing with Google and other search engines.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks pointing to your website from another website.

Why Backlinks Matter for SEO

By design, links help users navigate the web. When you click a hyperlink, you immediately go to that website or page. While having backlinks on popular websites, blogs, and social media pages will likely bring people who click through to your site, these same backlinks provide search engines will insights about your website.
For example, if your beauty products website has a lot of backlinks from popular beauty bloggers, the search engine may view those links as votes of confidence from other credible websites. At the same time, it will begin to understand its context thanks to the “anchor text” used to describe those links.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Backlinks

  • DO create profiles on popular directories such as help, Google My Business, and Merchant Circle
  • DON’T participate in link farms and other link schemes
  • DO participate in industry forums and include your link in your profile or signature (as permitted by the forum’s guidelines)
  • DON’T spam other blogs with comments solely for the purpose of linking
  • DO link to your site on social networks and social bookmarking sites — in moderation
  • DON’T buy backlinks
  • DO ask for links
  • DO focus on relevant sites when asking for links (for example, a link on an industry association’s website would be highly relevant)
  • DO focus on link quality rather than link quantity
  • DO use descriptive anchor text when linking to your site

Finally, DO consider working with a search engine optimization specialist who can help you avoid the potential pitfalls of poorly executed SEO.