A backlink is another website that provides a link to your website. This could be the link written down as a URL address, or it could be through a hyperlink in a word or picture. Backlinks help to increase your website’s SEO ranking (that stands for search engine optimisation) which has a direct impact on where your website appears in search engines.
A website with a great SEO strategy will appear much higher in Google search engine results than a competitor that doesn’t.
What is the purpose of a backlink?
A backlink (in Google’s eyes) is seen as a recommendation. The more recommendations you have, the better. However, recommendations from poor or unrelated websites, do not hold as much authority.
Imagine you and another family are both deciding on where to go for an all inclusive family package holiday. You are at a parent’s evening and are recommended a location by another parent. The other family sees an advert in the window of a local car garage. Which destination would you be inclined to choose?
Quality over Quantity
Because people are aware that Google use this method, some people take advantage and try to get lots of links, quickly. DO NOT do this as this can lead to a Google penalty. Build QUALITY backlinks gradually over time that benefit your users and are relevant to your website.
What is a good quality backlink?
A good quality backlink can be based on the domain authority. This can be checked with various tools online. Usually the strongest links are from: .gov.uk and .org.uk (These are government and charity websites). A backlink from a website that has a high domain authority will help to boost your own ranking.
How to acquire a good quality backlink?
- Social Media – Facebook (About Us), Twitter (Bio), LinkedIn (About)
- Google Pages – Google +, Google Maps
- Directory (High quality only) – eg. Yell
- Press/ Blogging – Get your clients who you do events for to talk about you – we recommend doing a charity photo booth event free of charge or at a reduced rate to get good coverage and build your event network.
Follow vs UnFollow
Sometimes although you may acquire a backlink it may not count for anything. This can be if a website decides to mark the page as “unfollow” meaning that Google should not pay attention to it. Some charities may have this so check first!
Directories are a useful way of obtaining a backlink, but it is essential that they are of high quality. Often the free directories can be flagged as “spam” and can bring down your website with them.
How to test the quality of a backlink / directory link?
There are many free online tools that allow you to check the “authority” of a website. There are two main different types of authority to test
- Domain Authority (DA) The overall quality score of the entire website
- Page Authority (PA The quality score of one particular page
Domain authority is suitable for a specific directory website, where as page authority is more relevant to an individual directory page on a business website (eg. Venue suppliers page).
Using social media to build backlinks
Linking to social media pages from your website is another ranking signal Google uses to see how “positive and proactive” your company is.
There are many social media platforms to use, but not all may be required for your business. See the below summary of Social Media to see which is useful for you.
Purpose: Grow fan base and presence online
Advantages: Most popular social media site, Easy photo sharing, Customers tag friends into photos providing third part promotion, easy to target demographics, add your own links in about section, grown fan base by sharing viral posts, can be used as a review platform
Disadvantages: Users can leave negative reviews, competitors can have access to your page
Purpose: Share stories with the world through #hashtagging
Advantages: Good at targeting specific individuals and companies, can be picked up by celebrity clients, add your own links in about section.
Disadvantages: Lack of demographic targeting
Purpose: Targeting profiles from business
Advantages: Great to promote corporate hire
Disadvantages: Low conversion rates
Purpose: Image sharing with filters and hashtags. In trend social media
Advantages: Popular with hashtagging phrases, linked with Facebook
Disadvantages: Cannot target certain demographics
Purpose: Provide visual interest to people inspiration seeking
Advantages: Your image can be shared by thousands, users seek individuality over functionality so will always pay a premium
Disadvantages: Image has to sand out from the crowd with creativity, lack of demographic targeting, image rights can be used and taken by someone else.