Why Backlinks Are Important to Your SEO & How to Get Them
Every website owner is always looking for a way to get an edge on their search engine optimization (SEO) and raise their website through the ranks of Google’s search results. From keyword techniques to search engine optimized content, it’s important to grab every advantage you can to come out on top (or in this case, on top of Google’s Page One).
So if you haven’t been focusing on your network of backlinks, now is the best time to start.
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What Is a Backlink?
A backlink is a clickable link on a different website that directs visitors to your website. In other words, backlinks are created when another website posts a link that points to your site, such as to one of your blog posts they want to share with their own audience.
It’s important to note that in order for a link to your website to be officially considered a “backlink,” it must be properly hyperlinked (when you click on the link directly, it takes you immediately to that website) instead of simply written out in plain text.1 You can usually tell a piece of text has been hyperlinked when it is underlined and in a different color from the surrounding text.
Why Are Backlinks Important to SEO
Google loves backlinks. It’s really that simple.
In fact, a study of different SEO factors by Moz determined that the quantity and quality of your backlinks is likely the most impactful SEO technique you can use to improve your Google ranking.2
That means that out of all the things you do to improve your website’s SEO, building up your backlinks is one of the factors that Google’s algorithm gives the most consideration when determining your search engine rank.
But why does Google love backlinks? The answer is actually pretty intuitive once we break it down.
Google views backlinks as a vote of confidence for your website.1 Google’s algorithm partially relies on measuring how much other people indicate they trust your site by backlinking to it in order to determine the site’s quality.
When someone creates a backlink to you (whether it’s on their own website or on a public one like Facebook), it’s like they’re saying to Google, “This site has content I like/trust enough to recommend it to someone else.”
The more backlinks your website has from other trusted and authoritative sources, the more trustworthy it looks to Google’s ranking algorithm. That means when you build a robust network of backlinks, you’ll improve your search engine ranking – not to mention all the new traffic you’ll enjoy from websites that backlink to you.
Just a note: it’s important to realize that some backlinks will be more powerful to you than others, and some will be far less relevant. If you’re an MFT in Boulder and a plumber from Miami links to your website, Google will not trust that in the same way as another therapist, especially a local therapist to your area.
Is your website worth linking to? Take a minute to try our free Website Grader Quiz and find out!
How to Get More Backlinks
Starting Your Backlink Network
First off, some good news for you: if your business lives anywhere else on the web – on social media, in online directories, in your Google business listing, etc. – you likely already have some backlinks in place.1
Anywhere you’ve listed the address for your therapist website there could be a backlink (as long as you created a hyperlink), but you could also have backlinks you don’t know about that have been posted by your clients or friends to recommend your business.
Here are some of the places where there may already be backlinks to your therapist website:
• Moderated online therapist directories
• Moderated online local business directories
• Your social media business accounts
• Social media user posts
• Your Google My Business listing
• Your business’s Google Maps listing
These are all places for quality backlinks to your website; avoid a strategy of creating hyperlinks to your website arbitrarily in an attempt to build your backlink network, such posting many links at once in a non-moderated forum or the footer of your blog posts.2
Expanding Your Backlink Network
If you’re looking for a great next step that will help you grow your existing network, first try focusing on checking off all the quality backlink locations we listed above if there are any that you think you haven’t covered yet.
Hot Tip: If you’re struggling to get other social media users to organically share hyperlinks to your website, try creating more original content for your online presence. Original, quality content (like well-researched blog post, or a downloadable guide) is like marketing gold for self-marketers like you.
Making your own quality content for your website can help boost your website’s SEO, build your credibility with potential clients, and – best of all – gives you a great tool to help promote and market your business without being pushy.
Share & link to your website content on social media, promote your new material in a newsletter, or get creative to promote it in another way! When you put in the work to provide your audience with genuine value, they’ll reward you with interest and loyalty, and you’ll be seeing backlinks in others’ social media user posts in no time.
Going Further with Your Backlinks
Once you’ve conquered that list of basic backlink locations, you’ll be ready for a more advanced backlink strategy. And I’ve got more good news for you, because this strategy uses a skill that you likely already have as a clinician: networking.
Your best resource for the most powerful backlinks is networking with other website owners in your field. Their audiences will be the most similar to the ideal client whose interest you’re trying to capture, so it’s very worthwhile to try and get a high quality backlink from them.
One great way of arranging this is by offering to collaborate on a content project with them. Offer to write a guest post for their blog, or ask if they would consider recording a podcast or webinar with you. Remember to find a way to offer real value to their audience, because you never know when you could be addressing your next favorite client!
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- “Are Backlinks Important in 2018? | Houston Web Design Agency.” TheeHouston.Agency, 15 Feb. 2018, www.houstonwebdesignagency.com/blog/backlinks-still-important-2018.
- “What Is Link Building & Why Is It Important? – Beginner’s Guide to Link Building.” Moz, Moz, moz.com/beginners-guide-to-link-building.
- Council, Forbes Agency. “15 Common SEO Mistakes To Avoid.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 17 Oct. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/10/17/15-common-seo-mistakes-to-avoid/#15eb77cabe6a.