Why Are Backlinks Important?

by Guest Blogger: Shane Barker

Why Are Backlinks Important?
We’ve all been told backlinks are important for SEO, but do you know how to get them and maintain high quality ones? Do you know enough to keep up with the latest search engine changes? Chances are, you have other things to do, like find funding for your startup or run your small business. Here are some ideas to get you started with a backlink building strategy.

Beyond Panda and Penguin Chasing
We’re all chasing the dream of achieving first page rank in Google. More exposure means more conversions, right? But are you really getting targeted leads when the only comments you’re getting on your blog are about Cialis and cheap Vicodin? Recent Panda and Penguin updates to Google’s ranking algorithm could be partly to blame. You need a backlink strategy that stands the test of time. The first step is to roll your sleeves up and get ready to learn more about backlinks.

Backlink Quality Matters
If you’ve been following the Penguin and Panda updates these last six months, you know that your website can be penalized for toxic links. Here are some things you absolutely need to do to ensure high quality backlinks:

Produce High Quality Content – generate high quality content that is not scraped or copied from other sources. Focus on content to develop genuine readership.

Strategically Place Links – gone are the days of spamming across many blogs and forums in an attempt to get more backlinks. Send your targeted message out to a few influential, well-connected people.

Focused Guest Blogging – guest blogging is a great way to develop backlinks, but choose your writers carefully, or it will actually hurt your search engine results.

Social Media and Backlinks
The role of social media in building backlinks is massive. Gone are the days of inserting hundreds of links into your content and hoping to rank solely based on backlinks. It’s not just about getting people to tweet or post to Facebook about your brand. Search engines now care who is doing the posting. And it’s not just how many followers they have, but the high value the backlinks have because they are experts in their field.
Social media is just a microcosm of society. Treat your online presence like you would if you were working a room of people. Gradually gain the respect of socially powerful and influential people. Genuinely work them into your inner circle, and offer a mutual benefit in return.

Keywords and Backlinks
You’ll hear me say it over and over again – relevancy. If the keywords on your website and the site you are linking to aren’t relevant, the search engines know. The search engines also penalize for keyword stuffing, and other shady practices people use in an attempt to gain ranking. Remember the high quality content we talked about? When placed online by the right person, that content organically grows the right kind of backlinks. If it is relevant to your brand’s message, you’ll naturally use the keywords when describing your product or service.

Defining Your Backlink Strategy
Your backlink strategy will depend largely on the size of your business, your available resources and what you are trying to accomplish. However, if you focus on developing fresh content and gaining readership, you can develop backlinks organically. Don’t forget social media too, but make sure to target influentiaI, knowledgeable individuals to spread your message virally. Guest blogging is still a great part of your portfolio – just make sure you get well-respected people to post about focused topics.

If you ever become confused about what strategy you should use, imagine yourself in a room face-to-face with colleagues. What would your message be, and who among your peers would you want to represent your brand?

Guest Blogger Shane Barker is a top-ranked social entrepreneur specializing in product development, marketing strategy and social media campaigns. He enjoys mentoring businesses and giving back to his community. Visit his personal blog at Shane Barker or check out his new startup, Modera 

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