As few as 9% of small businesses in the US track the quality and quantity of backlinks to their company website. Even if these businesses have an SEO strategy in place, they’re not using one of the most essential tools in their SEO toolbox.
But there’s a lot of out-of-date information in the marketing industry about the importance of the SEO backlink. Search engines move the goalposts every few months which leads to a lack of understanding and knowledge about backlinks.
So, how can you learn the difference between fact from fiction?
Don’t worry, this guide will debunk every common myth associated with backlinks and link building. Then, you will know exactly how to use them to expand the reach of your website’s killer content!
Table of Contents
No-Follow Links Are Worthless
There are three different types of backlinks that you can insert into any web page. These are:
- External do-follow link
- External no-follow link
- External sponsored link
Internal links are the fourth type of link, but they aren’t a type of SEO backlink.
If you could choose then every backlink from external sites to yours would be do-follow links. These carry the most link juice and are a “vote of confidence” from one site to yours. But that doesn’t mean the other types of backlinks don’t matter.
They still expose your business to a new audience and send traffic to your website. And isn’t increasing traffic one of the main goals of an innovative marketing strategy, anyway?
All Links on a Web Page Have the Same Value
Let’s use an example to debunk this SEO backlink myth. Say a high-quality wedding website has a blog post on wedding suits with two external links.
They insert the first link in the third paragraph. It’s a do-follow link to a wedding suit retailer with the exact anchor text “unique wedding suits.” This is exactly what the retailer specializes in.
The second link is way down the web page in the 15th paragraph. It’s a do-follow link to a flower shop with the generic anchor text “click here.”
Which link has a higher value? It’s the first one. Relevancy, placement on the web page, and anchor text all play a role in the value of an SEO backlink.
Commenting on Blog Posts Is Pointless
Back in the early days of the internet where all links were do-follow, bloggers used to comment on other blogs a lot. You could include a link to your website next to your name and comment which would give your website some much-needed SEO link juice.
Nowadays most blogs will still let you include a link to your site with a comment but it will be a no-follow link. Most, but not all. And posting your website anywhere on a relevant web page still means you could get traffic so it’s not a pointless exercise.
Domain Authority of a Link Is All That Matters
Domain authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz, a company with expertise in SEO marketing. They use this metric to predict how well a web page will rank in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
You will find that news sites and sites like Wikipedia and IMDB have very high domain authority and these sites often rank high in SERPs. But they’re not always at the top. So domain authority is far from perfect and there are lots of other factors that determine link quality.
One of the benefits of a backlink software is that it will analyze various metrics of a webpage including domain authority.
The More Backlinks You Have, the Better
You already know that not all SEO backlinks have the same value, but some have terrible value. Lots of spam links from other low-quality sites to your website create more harm than good. Search engines may start to associate your website as low-authority, too.
Search engines also don’t like when your website gets a sudden influx of links whether they are high-quality or otherwise. This looks like you’ve paid for backlinks which is a practice against Google’s terms. Search engines like sites to have a steady, organic, and authentic stream of backlinks.
Irrelevant Links Are a Big Problem
What about links from harmless and run-of-the-mill sites that are outside of your niche? Are they bad news for your website too?
Let’s say you run a wedding website and a garage website links to it for some reason. It’s nothing to worry about. Sure, you would likely prefer links from relevant sites but it won’t have a negative effect.
External Links Are Better Than Internal Links
There is some truth to this because external links (the right external links) are often better than internal links. These are links you insert on a web page to another web page on your site.
But say you have a couple of web pages that receive much more traffic than most of your other pages. These are “cornerstone content.” You can distribute their high authority onto other less authoritative relevant web pages by linking to them.
Backlinks Are the Most Important Part of SEO
Backlinks are a vital part of any SEO strategy. And because you don’t have as much control over this part as you do keyword research, for example, they’re harder to get
But if you only concentrate on your backlink profile and ignore the other tools in your SEO toolbox, you’re missing out. Lots of SEO techniques can increase your website’s rankings too so you need to use them all to get the best results.
Now You Know the Truth Behind an SEO Backlink
Figuring out what makes a quality or a poor SEO backlink can be difficult with all the misinformation out there. But now you know what the myths are, you have a much better understanding of the power of backlinks. Now, start building up your backlink profile and measuring your results!
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