So you've got your custom domain hooked up, and you've been creating quality and locally relevant content for your website. You might be wondering what else you could do to improve your site's search ranking and visibility to new users. Consider developing good backlinks.
What's this about backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are direct links to your website from another that drive traffic to your site and can help to boost your search engine ranking.
Why would search engines care about those?
Links to your website from other reputable sites help to legitimize yours. Basically this means that other websites are giving yours a thumbs up. They're willing to send their visitors to you, so they must find your website to be useful and safe. And these little recommendations look good on ya.
Search engines like to know that your site gets hits and that other websites consider you a reputable source. If you have visitors and a good reputation with others out there on the web, your website looks useful and is more likely to find its way into search results.
Are all backlinks created equal?
Good backlinks come from trusted websites. Those ending in .edu and .gov tend to have the best reputations, but .coms are just fine as long as they've been online for at least a year and are genuinely trustworthy. It's probably not a good idea to link-share with a sketchy-looking website offering free movie downloads, but if you want to work with a local school, charity organization, or a vendor that you recommend, you're in good shape.
Okay, so how do I start?
Consider your business partners. Do you recommend local vendors or support a particular charity? If so, share links to their sites on yours, and ask them to do the same.
Look into getting listed in your local business directories, and get yourself on Yelp, Angie's List, Nextdoor, etc.
Some agents sponsor local contests, sports teams, raffles, scholarships, or community activities. These sponsorships can also make for great link-sharing opportunities.
Give me some specifics.
- Check on your backlinks from time to time using tools like this one.
- Ask your partners to link directly to relevant pages on your site. Maybe you've got a community information page on your site with a link to your local chamber of commerce. Ask your chamber of commerce to link back to your community information page, and you've got yourself a sold backlink.
- Send your partners the specific link text you'd like them to add for you. Organically inserted, keyword-rich links found within page content are going to look better to search engines than links found in a lengthy list.
- Build backlinks with websites that are not relevant to your business or community.
- Use link farms. These are cheap, spammy ways to share your links that can do you more harm than good.
Where can I learn more?
Check out this helpful article from a pretty cool SEO info series.