To put it in the simplest terms, backlinks are links from other websites and blogs back to your website. They increase your visibility on the web and also make the search engines really happy with you. It sounds easy, but getting links can take some time and effort.
Also, did we mention the spiders and bots? They work on behalf of the search engines. These technological marvels crawl not just content but also inbound links (backlinks) to your website. So, you'd probably figure that you can go to every website you can and post a link back to your site, wouldn't you? In the grand scheme of things, this is not always a good idea.
Here's why. Those bots are smarter than you think. They even evaluate the types of backlinks you get. For instance, let's say that you are just beginning and are trying to establish yourself. You go to other sites and ask to exchange links with them for free. Some are readily eager so you do it. As it turns out, these sites are offensive, plagiarize content and don't know the first thing about keyword optimization.
Now, all of these things won't be true at the same time but it goes to prove a point. A poorly kept website or even a troublemaking one can lower the quality of your backlinks and thus your favor with the search engines. What you want is backlinks that are of the same or preferably better quality as your site.
How do you determine quality? One way is to look at their following. Do they have a lot of readers? Are their articles rated on the first page of search engine results? Does everyone know their name (just like "Cheers")?
Keep your links within your chosen niche. While there may be some gardening websites with a high search engine ranking, linking here won't do you any good if your website sells crafting supplies. The bots look at that too.
So, what criteria do you need to consider when approaching the subject of backlinks?
- Choose similar or better quality websites to use for your backlinks
- Choose websites and blogs with similar topics of interest as yours
- Ask friends and family members with websites (of good rep, of course) to exchange links with you
Get the word out about your website. Use any resources you have available to you first and then go searching for other high-quality sites to bring you more traffic.