Marketing
9/7/2020

What are backlinks and how do I get them?

Written by
Isabel Edwards

Backlinks are an essential part of SEO. They’re one of Google’s highest ranking factors, so you can’t ignore them if you want to get your ecommerce store in front of potential customers. In this blog post we’ll cover what they are, why you need them and simple ways you can get them.


What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. They can be in the form of an actual URL on a page, like this: https://www.mercarto.com/ or they could be hidden in a hyperlink, like this.

There are two types of backlinks:

  1. Follow - This passes on all the ‘link juice’ from one domain to another. Follow links are a website’s way of saying this is a high quality source I am linking to, and Google sees that as a good thing. It sees it as so good, that it will rank you higher for it.
  2. No Follow - This doesn’t pass on any ‘link juice’, and Google won’t rank your website any higher for having no follow backlinks. Websites can add a no follow tag in the HTML of their website, if they need to link to a website but don’t want to pass on authority or it’s a spammy website they’re linking to it and they don’t necessarily want to be associated with it.

So, always make sure you’re acquiring follow backlinks if you want to grow your website in Google’s rankings.


Why are backlinks a good thing?

Backlinks are a vote of confidence from one website to another. It’s like a website saying ‘this is high quality content, so much so that I want my website users to read it as well’. 

And, what’s the most important thing to Google? Serving it’s users high quality, relevant content. So backlinks are hugely important in Google’s eyes.

Infact, it’s one of the biggest ranking factors when it comes to climbing their search engine results.

Not only is it important for other websites to link to your website, but you should also be linking to other high quality websites yourself. Why? Because you’re sharing high quality content with your users, which improves the user experience. And Google is all about creating an improved user experience.

But linking to other websites is easy, how do you get others to link to yours? Here’s a few simple ways…


How to get backlinks to your websites

Directories

Applying to directories is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get backlinks to your website. Simply Google a keyword relevant to your industry + directories. For example “Ecommerce Platform Directories”. Initially, apply to as many free ones as you can. You might want to consider paying for some directories if they have a high domain authority, just do some research to make sure they’re a legit website with a low spam score.


Friends

Do you have friends with websites? That’s the perfect place to start when acquiring your first backlinks! When it’s someone you know, you even have more control over the anchor text they use. This is the text that’s used for your hyperlink. Anchor text tells Google what your website is about and will rank it higher for these keywords. So for example, the ideal anchor text for Mercarto.com would be Ecommerce Platform.


Partnerships

Are there websites or businesses that you have a professional relationship with? That you partner with in some way? This is another great way to ask for a backlink. If you feel uncomfortable asking for a link without returning the favour, propose that you can also add a link to their website from yours.


Blog posts

Running a blog is great for SEO for a number of reasons. Gaining backlinks is one of them. As I mentioned previously, websites link to high quality content, and Google sees this as a good thing. So, creating high quality content on your blog will naturally lead to some backlinks. You can also do some outreach with your content, emailing other relevant blogs informing them how a link to your post would improve their user’s experience, and you could also offer a link back to their website. 


PR

Not only is PR great for increasing your online visibility, it’s also a perfect way to naturally gain lots of backlinks from reputable websites. If an online publication writes about your business without including a link, you’re well within your rights to email asking them to include one. The worst that’s going to happen is they’ll say no, but most will happily add one. 


Sponsorship

If you sponsor an event, say an online webinar or expo, the package will likely include a link to your website in the blurb they write about your business. If it’s not clear, you can enquire about it before sponsoring or ask for that to be included.


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