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If you are already familiar with the world of Internet marketing, you will know how important backlinks are for your position in Google. For some, however, it still sounds like abracadabra. What exactly is a backlink? And how important is such a link for your SEO? And why?

The term backlink may sound complicated, but nothing is less true. It only refers to the links that are placed on external websites and that point to your webpage. For example as a source reference or to give a certain text some extra strength. The collection of backlinks is also called link building or 'link popularity'. The more qualitative and relevant the links to your website, the more valuable Google will find your website. This subsequently has an effect on your ranking position. However, there have been some changes over the years.

Generating backlinks has to be done in a completely different way nowadays than ten years ago. In this article we tell you everything you need to know about backlinks and what to pay attention to when collecting quality links.

Changes through the years 

Few people know that backlinks have been an important part of SEO since the early beginning of Google. So although backlinks have been used for ages, this does not mean that there have not been changes over the years. If you were very adept at online marketing in the early days of Google and then stopped doing it, you will find yourself in a completely different world today. The knowledge you had back then is of little use to you. In fact, due to the changes that take place every year, the knowledge you had two years ago will be of little use to you. That is why it is so important to keep your knowledge up-to-date. The world of online marketing is complex and never stands still. But what about backlinks?

"The more backlinks the better"

"Link building? Isn't that about collecting as many links as possible?" You won't be the first to think that way. It is also certainly not a wrong reasoning. It is true that the amount of links can say something about your position within Google. However, there are a few caveats to this. 

The number of links does not necessarily mean anything if they are of low quality. The so-called 'toxic links' can even have a negative influence on your position within Google. It used to be true that the number of links had an influence on your position. It didn't really matter where these links came from or how they were created. Google's algorithms had not yet developed to the point where they could tell whether a link was relevant or just considered spam. Every link was a vote for the reliability and relevance of your website. 

However, Google soon discovered that backlinks were being used fraudulently. Instead of generating backlinks naturally, they were quickly bought in large numbers. The result? Websites that actually had little right to do so, appeared high in the search results. And all thanks to spam. It is also important for Google to keep the quality high. If their search results are less relevant to the search engine user, they will soon use another search engine. To prevent this, they keep adjusting their algorithms. Meanwhile, Google's robots can easily pick out spam and even issue penalties when links are not obtained naturally. Good for Google, but all the more difficult for you to build up a link profile. 

A quality backlink

But what is a quality backlink? What does a link have to comply with to be of high quality? 

Firstly, the link must be placed on a relevant website. Do you sell children's clothes for example? Then a link to your site must be placed in an article that is at least largely about this. Think for example of a blog with fashion tips for the coming season. However, if a link is placed from a gamers blog, the relevance will be completely lacking. This does not only result in lower visitor numbers, but also gives Google a reason to take a closer look at your backlinks and, if necessary, issue a penalty. With all the consequences this has for your ranking. 

It is also important that the website on which this backlink is placed is of sufficient quality. Try to avoid placing the link on a website that has already received a penalty for violating some Google guidelines. Also sites with a bad profile, such as 18+ sites and gambling sites are best avoided. 

And last but not least... do not buy links! And if you do buy links, it should be done with extreme care. Do not respond to large advertisements where you can buy thousands of links for a few tens of euros. These are placed haphazardly on the wide web within a few days. Something that Google will very quickly discover and classify as spam. This does not only affect your ranking, but also the image of the sites where these backlinks are placed. If you want to buy links, let a professional link building company do it. They know exactly what to look out for in order to circumvent Google's algorithm somewhat. However, with only purchased links you cannot grandly improve your position. Building a natural link profile is all the more important.

Collecting backlinks 

Building a link profile in a natural way. This is of course easier said than done. It is not for nothing that many entrepreneurs still choose to buy backlinks. Collecting the right links can be quite difficult. You should therefore be aware that there are no shortcuts. It will take a lot of time and discipline to collect sufficient backlinks. The most important thing is to actually earn these backlinks. So you invest in content to be found interesting by other websites. In this way you build a natural link profile and you enjoy much more qualitative links. The collection of backlinks can be approached in many different ways. We have listed the most important ones below:

Writing press releases 

With link building, it is especially important to score as many links on quality websites as possible. Digital newspapers and blogs often have a very high quality score in Google. When you manage to get a backlink on such sites, it will immediately be very profitable. But how do you make sure that you get noticed by these websites? 

It is especially important that you have something newsworthy to say. For example, are you launching a new product soon that will be in huge demand? Or do you have new ideas regarding the implementation of general changes within your sector? Then it is possible to write a press release about this and send it to various (local) newspapers and blogs. Of course, include a small reference to a relevant page on your website in the press release. 

Please note that you should not write press releases with the aim of getting easy backlinks. The message must be newsworthy and accurate. Therefore, only write a press release if you really have something new to report. Also realise that newspapers are inundated with hundreds of news items every day. You really have to stand out from the crowd if you want to stand out from the crowd. 

Starting a blog 

Starting a blog is a widely used method in the world of internet marketing. It is a good way to not only improve your website and reach your target audience, but also to run a better link building campaign. But what is it exactly?

To build a natural link profile, it is important that your website can offer something that you cannot find on another site. When you have a webshop, your site will mainly consist of product pages and a contact page. For an informative website there are few pages that are interesting to link to. That is why it is good to invest in content marketing. Write interesting articles that apply to your target group. Do you sell handmade jewellery? Then write 'how to's' about combining jewellery or about the rise of the use of sustainable materials in making jewellery. Things that are really interesting to read and that other sites would like to backlink to. 

Be aware that there are already a lot of blogs out there. When you are working in an industry where there are already many articles, it is difficult to remain unique. Don't come up with the umpteenth article with tips if it is already widely represented online. Be interesting, unique and look at things from a different perspective. This is how you attract attention. Starting a blog is not a solution for quickly obtaining backlinks. It takes a lot of time. However, once it is running smoothly, you will benefit from it for years. 

Asking for backlinks 

Especially as a starting entrepreneur, it is not self-evident that you will collect many backlinks in a short time. That is why you will have to be bold every now and then. For example, by writing to other entrepreneurs in the same industry and asking for backlinks. Make sure you also provide content they can use. 

You can also look for it among your relatives. For example, nowadays almost everyone has one or more social media accounts. It is easy to place a link. This also applies to you, by the way. You can also post links to your own website on your own social media. These are just small things, but they can really have a big effect. 

Do you happen to know someone in your surroundings who manages a website, which can also be semi-relevant to your website and the corresponding branch? Feel free to ask them for a link as well. Often you know more people than you expected who can make a quick backlink to your page. This way you make a good start with the collection of backlinks and the first step has already been made. 

Posting blog comments 

Some major blogs allow you to post a comment with an accompanying backlink. Sometimes even do-follow links. Posting blog comments can therefore work very well at collecting backlinks. But beware of posting reactions just to collect backlinks. For example, it makes no sense to post a comment with a link on every blog. You have to be relevant to the subject of the article and be able to give a real substantive response. If you do not do this, Google will consider this to be spam. Which is actually true. You can post blog comments, but do it moderately and only if you can really provide the necessary information. 

Directories 

Directories are a speciality when it comes to collecting backlinks. They are collection sites that have a lot of different links. Their goal is to collect as many relevant and qualitative links as possible. However, Google may see the use of directories as a way of paid link building. Therefore, it is good to do this only in moderation and on the directories that are most relevant for your website. 

Be aware of the fact that directories receive a lot of requests every day. Sending a request is no guarantee that you will actually be rewarded with a backlink. In fact, even if you are very relevant, the number of requests is only 10%.

Outsource link building

Collecting backlinks takes a lot of time. Moreover, you must know what to look for. Therefore, it is smart to outsource your link building to a professional link building company. This way you know for sure that it is done in the right way and you don't have to worry about it anymore.

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