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Level Up: What's a Backlink?

So, you have a company website, but it's not ranking in search engines? That's because simply having a website is not enough.

Search engines rank your website based on an algorithm. There are a lot of factors that algorithms take into consideration when deciding the ranking placement of your website.

They can include the coding of your website, the keyword searched, the location of the searcher, the density of competition, and more.

But one of the biggest ranking factors for your website is something called "backlinks".

So, what is a backlink? Simply put, a backlink is when another website links to yours.

For example, if I were to link to your website in this article, that would be considered a backlink for your website.

Search engines use backlinks as a method to determine the legitimacy of your website and the relevance of your website to the search query. Therefore, it's important that you take good care of your link profile.

That being said, link building (the marketing process of earning links) is all about networking. Without networking, other website owners will most likely be unaware of who you are and unlikely to link to you.

That's why it's so important, as a small business owner, to be active in your local community.

Here are a couple ideas to help you on the path to earning links in your community:

  • If you're having a special or sale, advertise in local paper and on their website.
  • Advertise big events such as grand openings.
  • Partnerships with other companies.
  • Write authoritative articles that people want to link to.
  • Post on industry forums and link to your website.
  • Link to your website anywhere possible, honestly.

All links are not created equal, however. Just because someone offers to link to your website doesn't mean you should let them. There are a few link building traps that you should look out for.

1) Pay attention to relevancy

If the only websites linking to you of little relevance to your website, this is a big red flag to Google.

For example, if you're a dog groomer and your link profile consists of a link from a roofing company, a restaurant, etc.; what's the relevance there? What does a restaurant have to do with a dog groomer?

2) Don't buy backlinks

You may be tempted to buy backlinks because it's a fast and easy way to get links to your site.

Unfortunately, when buying backlinks you often end up with irrelevant links, links from low-quality sites, links from scammers, etc.

Even if you think it's worth it to have backlinks from negative websites just to have links, it's not. You're judged by the company you keep, and Google will penalize your website for being associated with these.

3) Avoid private blog networks (PBNs)

A PBN is where a group of blogs gets together to link to one-another. Sure, it's a great idea in theory. However, due to more recent Google algorithm updates, the use of them will penalize your website and it's ranking.


A backlink is essentially a link from another website that leads to your website. The concept of a backlink is real simple to understand, but it's relatively hard to generate.

Remember, when it comes to your online presence, you are judged by the company you keep. So don't accept links from tainted sources.

With backlinks you have to be very precise about what you do. They should be natural, so it won't hurt your online rankings. Building backlinks can easily become a minefield of mistakes and mishaps for  uninformed SEOs. Check out this step-by-step process on how to build backlinks the right way in 2018

As long as you know you've earned the link to your site honestly and fairly, you can be confident that the link will benefit your standing with search engines and your ranking placement.

 That's it for this episode of Level Up: Marketing Basics for Beginners. Join us next time and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Sarah Nelson

After years of studying literature, Sarah discovered her true love; marketing. She is a firm believer that educating small business owners about marketing empowers them to make smart business decisions. When she's not busy saving people from marketing faux pas, you can find her reading or slaying pixel demons in far off lands.

We build small business websites

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