What exactly are backlinks? Get to know their types and their value.
Back in the early days of the world wide web, search engines needed a way to both rank and find websites. Backlinks were a convenient answer because they would allow doing both. Backlinks are simply links to websites. When a search engine maps the web, they follow backlinks on each website, the number of links they follow grows almost exponential. Logically, the more backlinks to your website, the more popular you are. It’s just like in a library, the most referred book within one subject is often the most reliable.
The problem is, the backlink system is flawed. One could manipulate other websites and create backlinks to his own website. Another one could buy tons of websites and just put backlinks on them. Someone could even purchase backlinks from a backlink farm. Be careful if you cheat, search engines will ban you very quickly.
Today, backlinks work in a very intelligent manner; there are several types and they are valued in different ways to avoid cheating. One simply cannot buy backlinks and hope it will impact positively it’s website. It will actually worsen its popularity.
DoFollow and NoFollow are backlinks with a rel attribute that instruct search engines to follow or not the link. Google will not consider NoFollow links in the calculation and will simply consider them as text. Yahoo, Bing, and several other search engines will consider NoFollow links, but at a lesser extend than the DoFollow links.
Natural and unnatural backlinks are also very different. Natural backlinks are obtained organically, from people who like your content or refer to it genuinely. Unnatural backlinks are paid, exchanged or seeded. It is sometimes possible to obtain unnatural backlinks and have them look natural, but they will most likely weight a less.
Search engines weight backlinks value because they can tell the difference between natural and unnatural. Here is a brief list of elements search engines will look at to value your backlinks:
Bottom line is, you should always aim for quality over quantity, in any field of marketing (backlinks, content, analysis, forum posts, contests, discounts). A high number of low-quality backlinks will make your website weak, potentially blacklisted for spam and even banned. It takes the same amount of time to go for high-value backlinks exchange rather than several low-value backlinks. The best part is, if your backlinks are related you can potentially take contact with new partners through a link exchange.
Week 7 is dedicated to backlinks, you will learn more about quality, ways to get them and how to anchor keywords.