Simply put, backlinks are an entry point in to your website from other websites. You have probably been to a web page and seen some sort of hypertext that stood out, if you clicked on it you were redirected to a new web page, that is a form of backlink. Many blog writers will use backlinks to send readers to a different web page in order to support what they are writing about, or allow readers to read more in depth on a subject that may be of importance, but not the main topic of the blog its self. These entry points into your website may appear obvious as to their benefiting nature, larger foot print for more traffic, but they do more than just give your site a larger prospective audience. Backlinks can be just as important in SEO as the keywords themselves. Just like how the proper key words and phrases give your website authority, or make it relevant, backlinks do the same. Search engines look at how many times your web page(s) have backlinks and determines your page is most likely more relevant than a web page with none, if it were formatted in similar fashion. Now some of you may think ‘why not go write a bunch of blogs on different websites and add links to my webpage? Wont that give me more backlinks and raise my page authority, making me rank higher in the SERP (search engine results page)?’ Not necessarily, where your backlinks come from has a large impact on quality. This is what matters most. Think quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks. It doesn’t really matter how many backlinks your pages have, if they are poor quality. For instance, if you have a bunch of backlinks coming from blog sites on rescuing endangered species, and your website is about financial planning, then the quality of your links is going to be very poor. Having just a few backlinks from industry leaders, or other web pages with a high page authority on your topic, will increase your relevancy more than having a bunch of backlinks from irrelevant pages. Search engine algorithms are pretty efficient at deciphering which links are relevant and which are not, they look at web pages a lot like people do. Search engines look at what websites generate the most traffic from certain keywords or phrases and give it a rating. The greater number of inquiries, the higher the rating (or authority), because they see these sites as being the most relevant to that specific keyword or phrase.  The higher the page authority of a linking page, about the topic and keywords that are used in your web page, will ultimately determine how much relevance and legitimacy it will lend to yours. Search engines will see that your page is being cited by other web pages with the similar topic and conclude that your page must be relevant. Of course there are many other factors that lend to page authority, but we will leave that for another discussion. So if you are now wondering how to create more backlinks for your web page(s), good! This is exactly what should be going through your mind if you’re wanting to maximize your SEO. A great way to create backlinks is to ask for them. I don’t recommend just opening up your contacts lists and spamming everyone you know your web address. For one, it’s likely only a handful of your contacts have web pages or an internet presence that pertains to your web topic. Before asking for links you need to make sure your web page is legitimate and something people feel comfortable linking to. This seems a bit common sense, but I just had to put it out there. If you have people in your social network that are willing to link to your page that’s great, but let’s say you don’t, then what do you do? This is where you have to do a little digging and find websites that you can benefit by having your link on their page. Yes, I said that correctly, find websites that can benefit from having your link on their page. For example, if you are a Financial Planner then someone who may benefit from having a link to your page may be a Tax Consultant or a site with a page written specifically about a topic you can help with, like retirement planning. Adding a link to that persons page and letting them know in a brief email that you like their content and you’ve linked their page, they are more likely to reciprocate the gesture and link your page also. It may seem difficult at first, but remember quality over quantity, so the more relevant you can stay to your web page topic the better quality of links you’ll achieve.

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