Backlinks are one of the most widely discussed SEO strategies, so it’s likely you already know something about them. Perhaps you already have plenty of links on your website – and other websites linking back. But do you know how monitoring backlinks can make or break the ranking of your website?
Perhaps you already have plenty of links on your website, and other websites linking back. But do you know how monitoring backlinks can make or break the ranking of your website?
Read to find out more about why we use backlinks and how keeping watch makes the best of them.
Why We Use Backlinks
A backlink is a clickable link on a site that points to your content. In code, it has an “href” attribute. You usually see it embedded in the text, like this.
Among the hundreds of attributes that Google’s algorithm uses to rank pages in search results, backlinks are a huge one. A high number of backlinks means that your web page is getting discussed a lot, and might even be used a source of authority. Thus, Google assumes a lot of quality backlinks indicates that a site that will be useful to other users.
Backlinks are one of the most common forms of off-site SEO. It’s important, but only one of many aspects of a successful SEO plan.
Why is Monitoring Backlinks Important?
Knowing how many backlinks you have, along with the number of them, has a few advantages. You can:
- Figure out what’s working
- Explore the quality of your backlinks
Examining backlinks shows you what pages on your website are getting attention. More specifically, you can see what pages high-quality sites like the best. This way, you can understand what content is working.
You can also see what kinds of websites link back to you. Pay attention to this. It gives you an idea of what audiences your content is reaching.
If you know who your content is reaching, you can do two things: continue to appeal to that demographic, and know what gaps you have in your audience. Those gaps are not a failure. They are an opportunity to diversify and reach a broader amount of people.
Once you know which blogs or articles, etc. are considered useful to whom, you can generate more content along those lines. Hopefully, that will encourage even more quality backlinks.
If Google just let whoever had the most links rise to the top of the ranks, it would be simple to scam the system. Many companies already create hundreds of fake websites just to make backlinks. They think the number of backlinks is all that matters.
Unfortunately, the teams over at Google are intelligent. They’ve caught on, and they’re monitoring backlinks too. When ranking, Google also evaluates the quality of the links.
If your website has a lot of backlinks but they are from ugly websites with no visitors and poor content, Google will assume they are fake. As soon as the algorithm picks up any weird patterns, your website will be marked as spam.
Your website will be sunk. They will make you the last of thousands of results and you will never see the top again.
Because of this, competitors will sometimes sabotage websites by creating bad links for you. So even if you engage in the purest white hat SEO strategies you can still be susceptible to bad backlinks. You have to watch out.
Monitoring backlinks can preserve the integrity – and SEO status – of your website.
How to Monitor Backlinks
So now that we’ve established why to monitor backlinks, I’m sure you’re itching to go back to your website and work on your link building.
But how do you go about monitoring backlinks?
There are a number of web tools to do this. Monitor Backlinks is a popular tool and the premium version starts at a low price. It’s only twenty-five dollars. You might scoff at this, but most halfway decent monitoring tools are paid.
Even with tools, monitoring backlinks can be a time-consuming pain. A lot of companies these days take the extra step and have an SEO company do it for them.
Be careful though – some SEO companies are not up to date on the latest methods and algorithm adjustments. You still have to check up on your links every once in awhile to make sure they’re doing their job well.
How to Generate Quality Backlinks
Think of it this way – if you want to have a good reputation, you want to associate with others who have good reputations. If someone who is already popular and perceived as awesome hangs out with you, other people will think you’re awesome too.
It’s the same with websites. You’ve gotta make connections with the popular kids.
You can’t force hanging out with the popular kids though – if you don’t have anything to offer, they won’t invite you out.
In the same way, you have to have genuinely useful material for the website to consider sharing with their readers. Afterall, plenty of websites are clamoring to be the popular website’s friend.
The most important thing is to create link-worthy content. A lot of content out there is recycled from other websites. Be sure to go the extra mile and stand out.
One way to create unique, well-supported content is by using data and case studies. Data that no one else has is valuable and will be linked to by other sites. Unique case studies are material for providing extra authority to a point someone is making.
You can make sure your content is unique by comparing it to articles that popular sites are already linking to. Look at that content, and make your content cooler, more well-supported, and easier to read.
If you have an objectively better article than the one that is already being used, consider reaching out to that popular site. Say you saw they were linking to an article – but that you have one that’s better. Sometimes, the website will be impressed and swap that link for yours.
You can also get a link from another site by appealing to their ego – write a testimony on your blog, then send it to them. Likely they will want their readers to know they are well-reviewed. Then, they might share the link.
Monitoring backlinks involves so many aspects – understanding why we use them, the actual monitoring, and generating quality links.
But backlinks are just one piece of the SEO pie. Check out our services to see what we can do for you to bring your page to the top of search engine results.