What are Backlinks and How do I Check Them?

What are Backlinks and How do I Check Them?

Backlinks are hyperlinks that an outside website uses to link their site to yours. It directs traffic to go to your website. Backlinks, also called inbound links, have many benefits, but not all SEO backlinks are equal. Search engine web crawlers use backlinks to determine the order of how websites rank in search. If you are looking for ways optimize your website for search, adding and checking backlinks should be a strategic part of your SEO process.

Benefit of Backlinks

Web crawlers count the number of inbound hyperlinks directed toward your website. When backlinks come from sites recognized as legitimate by the web crawlers, your content also gains authority. Essentially, backlinks tell crawlers that one website is vouching for the other.

For example, if your blog contains instructional videos and transcripts on how to develop an excellent website and your backlinks come from other sites that host the same type of content, the search engines will recognize that other industry experts are acknowledging your content. The more good links a website has, the higher your website scores, and the higher they rank in a web search.

Not all Backlinks are Equal

Inbound links that aren’t relevant to the content they link too are considered spam by Google. Websites are penalized for irrelevant inbound links. Penalized sites will not land high in search rankings.

Low-Quality Links Include:

  • Keyword stuffed blog articles
  • Guest post articles with keywords stuffing
  • Posts with irrelevant keywords

Links purchased for the sole purpose of establishing backlinks goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines. This practice, also called black hat linking, if identified can result in the search engines flagging your website as spam. For this reason, it’s important to check what backlinks your website has.

Check My Backlinks

Checking backlinks is easier than you might think. Here is a list of several free backlink checker tools you can use to obtain a list of inbound links.

Each of these tools pulls slightly different data, so you may want to use more than one. Some, like Google Webmaster, will require account set up. Add Me and Moz pull data as soon as you type in your URL.

Increase Your SEO Backlinks

The best backlinks come from people who organically link to your website. Whether someone refers to your content and cites a quote or features your blog article as supporting information for their content, this organic link tells the web crawlers your website includes expert material searchers should read. The best way to encourage natural links is by creating excellent content.

Another white hat backlink building strategy is to build a community of people to cheer you on and support your work. Social media and online communities such as LinkedIn and Google Plus help professionals connect with other industry professionals. They also provide a platform for to find and share content.

A third strategy that you can try is to send your excellent content to websites with relevant subjects and ask them to link their website link to the content. Many people offer reciprocal linking in exchange for this courtesy. This strategy only works with occasional linking. Web crawlers do not like when they find too many reciprocal links from the same website.

When done correctly backlinks are a great way to increase your site authority.

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