Link Building for Beginners: How to Build Your Backlink Profile
Link building for beginners can be hard to wrap one's head around! There are so many things that go into trying to figure out the right way to do it. As if getting backlinks is not hard enough—you also have to consider their quality, and whether or not they fit into your profile. So, this link building tutorial for beginners is right for you!
The following backlinks for beginners article will walk you through a skyscraper view of what backlinks are, why you need them for the success of your website, how to build backlinks for beginners, and how to go about obtaining them properly. If you are just starting out in the field of website management and have no clue what to do first, this article is for you.
What is a Backlink Profile?
Chances are unless you are in the business of web development, you have not come across this term before. One that you may be more familiar with is a hyperlink, or its short term—link. Links are the addresses of the internet. When you place them somewhere, like on a picture or word, web users can click on them and be transported to wherever the link is set to direct them.
Backlinks are what site developers call links that lead "back" to the site they are in charge of managing. If you run a personal blog, for example, then backlinks would be all of the links on other people's websites that, when clicked, will direct their viewers to your blog page. It is every site manager's goal to have as many backlinks as possible, as this is one measure of digital success. However, there are lots of complicating factors to backlinking strategy—each one being essential for your "profile."
The Power of the Profile
If you are interested in mastering backlinks for beginners, keep in mind that it is not enough for a bunch of random sites to link back to your blog page. Keeping on track with the personal blog example, let's say you run a beauty blog. If you had 100 backlinks to your page, but they were all from websites that had nothing to do with beauty, such as farming websites and political websites, this would likely not be helpful to you.
In addition to these links being less valuable from an SEO perspective, they are less valuable from a common-sense perspective too. Ideally, you want backlinks so that people that are interested in what you have to say will come across your blog. People that come across a backlink about beauty on a farming website are probably not interested in learning about beauty, so they will not click on the link.
Even if they did click on the link, they would likely not engage on your page in the way that you want, such as purchasing your goods or signing up for your email newsletter. Thus, the importance of the profile of backlinks appears. Not only do you want to accumulate backlinks, but you want to accumulate them in the niches in which you do business, creating a profile that will increase the value and success of your operation.
Why Do You Need a Backlink Profile?
Backlink profiles are essential to your online presence for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, they will help your SEO significantly. In addition, though, they also reassure you that the content, goods, and services you are putting out into the world are being valued. And, it is a great way to increase exposure and your overall customer base.
What is SEO?
SEO is the common abbreviation for search engine optimization. It is a content technique that helps individuals and entities with a digital presence rank higher in search engine results, such as Google or Bing.
Search engines are largely secretive about the algorithms they use to determine which websites are shown up first when someone types in a search. Based on the few things they release though, and the careful eye of professionals, people have made careers out of unlocking the secrets and figuring out how to rank higher.
You can have the best website ever, but if nobody visits it, then it will not matter. You have to partake in the practices that will make sure your site appears in results for people to click on. Popular SEO tricks include:
- Including pictures and videos on your website;
- Featuring high-quality and easy to understanding content without typos; and
- Writing a unique CTA in headlines and in the title tag, etc.
By far though, one of the most helpful SEO tricks is to generate an optimal profile of backlinks. So, how to build backlinks for beginners?
How Backlinking Helps SEO
Even junior specialists following link building tips for beginners know that backlinking is the ultimate goal of optimizing a site for the search results page. Ranking algorithms exist largely due to issues of trust and reputation. Nobody would search on sites like Google if they received garbage when they hit enter. Thus, search engines want to make sure that they are displaying high-quality results that will actually help people.
One of the best ways to know if you can trust someone, or, in this case, a website, is if other people are trusting it. Thus, if someone is backlinking to your website, then that is a sign to the search engine that it too can link to your site in its results. The more other sites link to yours, the more trust a search engine feels it can trust you. It is like having hundreds of people talking about how great you are via word of mouth—only here, it is digitalized.
Ways to Construct a Backlink Profile
There are different avenues you can take to obtain backlinks for your digital presence. Some will be more beneficial than others. Contrary to popular belief, the backlink game is not all about quantity. Quality also matters a great amount. The following section will walk you through the different methods for link building, explaining how they differ and which methods are best.
The method that link building specialists strive for is organically earning links. This means that you are putting content on your site that is genuinely so good, others notice. And, they think it is worthy enough to cite in their content, even at the risk of losing some of their own viewers to you.
Let's say you run a beauty company that sells lipstick. An example of organically earning a link would be if a beauty blogger used your lipstick, was a huge fan, and just randomly decided one day to write an article about it, hyperlinking to your page that is selling the shade.
In a perfect world, this method would create your entire profile. It requires no expenditure of resources on your part, and the search engine algorithms will notice its genuineness. However, this is not how the real world works; eventually, you can expect to earn some authentic links, but you will always have to employ some of the following methods as well.
Requesting mentions is the closest you will get to authentically earning backlinks. You would employ this technique by searching for other people's or company's websites that happen to mention your brand, product, or service already on its page. Then, you would reach out to the page manager directly and ask if they would mind hyperlinking your page to the words that they said about your business.
Professionals typically try and remember to backlink to others in the hopes that they will return the favor. However, link building for beginners is a lot to take in, and newbies often forget to do this.
There are different programs out there that are designed to make finding mentions easier; it is completely unrealistic to go through every site in a search result group to look for mentions. It is only worth engaging in this process though if you are a popular enough company that people are talking about you. This method will likely prove to be a waste of time for individual bloggers or start-up companies.
If you are a smaller business or a blogger that is just starting out, requesting mentions may be a great place for you to begin your link building strategy. Requesting mentions is exactly what it sounds like-reaching out to pages and asking if they would be willing to hyperlink a word or image back to you.
The reason this ranks third amongst the methods is that sometimes, search engine algorithms will be able to tell that these links were not earned, but rather, were asked for. The value ratio of one requested hyperlink versus one organically earned link is unknown, and anyways, it would depend on the search engine being used. For example, if you request a link for a link, the engine will see that two sites are linking to each other. And, will give this link less credit than one it knows was earned organically.
One way around this might be to request links in articles in exchange for providing them. However, this should be navigated carefully.
Junior specialists may be tempted by the ease of earning backlinks through business deals, the way that most other benefits in business are obtained. However, this will not always work out the way they hope. Search engine algorithms are extremely smart and will pick up on this trick like they pick up on all of the others.
If a search engine notices that the same two sites keep on linking to each other, then it will be cued into the fact that the mentions were not organically earned. As a result, the power of the hyperlink will be diminished.
A better way to do business deals is to build a strong network of managers. For example, let's say you are site A, and you know the managers of sites B and C. Instead of forming a deal with B to get a backlink to your site in exchange for providing a link to their site, you can cut C in on the deal. Then, you can arrange for B to provide you with a backlink in exchange for getting C to backlink to B's site. There are still ways for algorithms to pick up on tricks like this, but it will be much harder for them to do so.
Common Mistakes in Backlink Profile
There is so much to keep track of when managing a website, a lot can go wrong. Unfortunately, if you screw up in your backlinks, you are not just missing out on the opportunities that would have come your way had you not screwed up. You are also running the risk of being penalized and those mistakes haunting you into the future. Below are two of the most common and determinantal mistakes that can be made in the business of backlinking.
Maintaining Rigid Profile Boundaries
In link building for beginners, students are typically so excited about getting a link that they forget to pay attention to where it is coming from. However, the importance of maintaining a backlink profile theme should not be overlooked. While one hyperlink placed in a random place will not harm you, hundreds might.
Search engine algorithms are going to give the heaviest weight to backlinks that are from the cleanest profiles. Additionally, as mentioned above, it does not really do you any favors if the people who are coming across your backlinks are not interested in your website, products, or services.
Before you even begin to attempt building a backlink profile, sit down and write out what you want it to look like. Think about the exact types of sites that you should seek backlinks from. You can also think about the words and images you want to be hyperlinked. Getting backlinks placed over the keywords that your site relies on and pushes will be the most helpful for you.
Purchasing Backlinks in Mass Quantities
Paying for the occasional backlink is likely not going to backfire on you. However, if you are paying for large quantities of backlinks at a single time, you are going to run into trouble. Have you heard the saying what is easy is not worth it, and what is worth it is not easy? It applies here.
There are tons of websites on the internet offering link building by the hundreds in only a week. Some sites will even advertise that they can get you thousands. However, unless you are a business behemoth such as Harvard University or Victoria's Secret, it will be impossible for hundreds of quality links to be directed back to your site in only a week.
Most of these hyperlinks will likely come from farm webpages that are not actually visited by anyone, have no value, and have no theme. Thus, the search engine is going to know not to count any hyperlinks that are coming from a site like this. Furthermore, it will be smart enough to know the place these hyperlinks lead to purchase the links, and will penalize the purchaser. Buying mass quantities of backlinks will not only be unhelpful to you, but it can also end up hurting you.
Should You Agree to Provide Backlinks?
In the same way that you are trying to get backlinks to your site, others are as well. And, just like you are begging for others to backlink to your page, others will be begging you too. Should you say yes? How often should you say yes? What are the pros and cons? This section will answer these questions for you, guiding you on the proper give and take for these business dealings.
H3 Pros of Agreeing to Provide Backlinks
One of the pros that are commonly overlooked in providing others with backlinks is that you can tap into some of their hard work. They are obviously going to be engaging in SEO to try and get ranked as high as possible. By linking to the sites of others, the search engine algorithms may credit you with some of their keywords, and associate you with the credibility of the site that you are linking to.
Agreeing to help others will also help you to build your professional network. Then, as briefly discussed above, you can use this network to your advantage. The last thing you want to do is earn a reputation for never proving links, as then, no one will ever want to provide you with links either.
And, this will also give your site more credibility. Search engine algorithms will be able to tell that you are well connected with your niche community and that you have done your research and know what else relating to your business is out there.
Cons of Agreeing to Provide Backlinks
While you do want to agree to provide some link building specialists with hyperlinks, there are definitely cons to doing so. For example, if you are not careful about who you are saying yes to, then you could dilute your profile. Let's return to the example of a beauty blogger. If you start providing backlinks to lots of random farming and political websites, then the algorithms will begin to think that you are just a spam site and rank your site lower.
Another major con of helping out others in your strategy is that you might lose page viewers. If you link to content that has more value to a user than what you are providing, then when they click that link, they may not return to your site. The optimum outcome of providing backlinks is that your users click on the link, scan it for what they wanted or needed, and then return to your site. Hopefully, in addition to encouraging you to offer links smartly, this also incentivizes you to produce the highest quality site possible.
When You Should Backlink for Others on Your Site
Based on the above information, you will have to assess whether or not you should provide someone else with a backlink based on your unique situation. You definitely do not want to overdo it. However, providing 1-5 quality backlinks on a page on your site based on how large it is might suffice.
The good thing about the world of digital management is that it is eventually forgiving. You can try experimenting with different amounts and profiles until you find the one that works the best for you. There is a reason that people make entire careers out of learning link building. It is complicated, and there is no one size fits all answer!
Perhaps you came across this backlinks for beginners article not even being familiar with the term backlink. Now though, you are equipped with all the tools and useful link building tips for beginners to go ahead and start accumulating them for your own digital presence. If it sounds like the process will be too time-intensive for you though, do not fret, as you have options!