The general consensus about On-Page SEO is that it accounts for about 25% of search engine rankings; the other 75% comes from Off-Page SEO. Off-Page SEO is mainly about
creating links to your webpage from other websites. This process of Off-Page SEO is called “backlinking.” It is called backlinking because you create links back to your website. Google tends to think that a website is more important if other people are pointing (or linking) to it. There are many ways to get links pointing to your site; here is a list of the most common:
- Article Submissions – Submit short articles.
- Press Releases – Announce your site to the world.
- Forum Posting – Post in or create a profile in a forum.
- Directory Submissions – Get listed in a directory.
- Blog Commenting – Leave a comment on someone’s blog.
- Guest Blogging – Write a blog post for someone.
- Social Media – Think Facebook or Digg.
- Link Exchange – I’ll list yours if you list mine.
- Video Marketing – Think YouTube.
Before we dig down into each of these methods, let us discuss backlinking in general. The most important practice is to create a variety of links using many different methods. If Google sees several thousand links to your website originating only from forum profiles, it does not look like natural internet traffic and you could be penalized for spamming. The next thing to remember is to avoid creating too many backlinks when your website is still new. You do not want to start spamming thousands of backlinks per week to a brand-new website. This will get you sandboxed from Google, which means it will remove you from its rankings! Begin by backlinking moderately and then slowly increase your number of backlinks. You want to use those first few months as training opportunities to help you develop a system you can sustain.
One last note concerning your number of backlinks: Once your website has some time under its belt, don’t worry about the number of backlinks you create. There is a myth out there that if you create too many backlinks in a short time, you will get sandboxed from Google. This can apply during the first six to eight months of your website, but after that, you would really have to abuse the backlinking to get sandboxed. If you could create too many links and get sandboxed, then everyone would be paying to create too many links to their competitors to get them sandboxed. Now, if you only have a total of 10 backlinks to your site after 8 months and suddenly you pay for 20,000 links to be spammed, then yes, you can get sandboxed. If you just gradually improve your backlinking and slowly increase the amount of backlinks that point to your site, you should be fine.
The quality of the website that your backlink is posted upon has a great deal of influence on the amount of link-juice that is passed down to your website. Most people agree that PageRank (PR) is a measure of the quality of the link-juice passed on, and the higher the PR, the better the backlink. Think of it like a rating scale: A website with a PR of 8 has more juice to give than a website with a PR of 2. The “juice” is the term used to describe the authority passed down from the page on which you posted your backlink to your site. Imagine a higher PR website as a big pie and a lower PR site as a smaller pie. If there are 10 links (slices) to your website found on both of these pages, the bigger pie will give a much bigger piece compared to the smaller pie. If you were hungry, which pie below would you want a piece from?
Because of this link-juice concept, it is important to focus your efforts on getting backlinks from higher PR websites. Something else to remember is that a PR-2 site is not just two times better than a PR-1 site. The general consensus is that the rankings move up almost exponentially. This means that a PR-2 site could be ten times better than the PR-1 site. If you want to find the PR of a site, just click on the link below and enter in the Web address:
Before moving on, we must discuss two more concepts. The concept referred to as “deep-linking” means linking to other pages within your own website. You do not want all your backlinks pointing to your main page but rather have some pointing to other pages within your own website. You also want at least one link on each page pointing to another one of your own pages. Deep-linking helps show Google that your entire website has information on the keyword and is important to the search term or keyword you are trying to rank for.
The second concept is “indexing.” Indexing is the act of making Google aware of your backlink. Most people are under the impression that Google knows about every website on the internet. The truth is that Google only knows about 25% or less of the total Web pages out there. Without indexing, it is possible to create a scenario where you work hard to create a thousand backlinks and Google will only know about five of them. I once had 200 forum profiles created for me and then I forgot about them. I found the list containing those 200 links about 10 months later and looked to see how many of my links were still there. I was able to find 152 of the links still active, but when I checked to see how many Google knew about, only 8 showed up! Anyone who tells you that Google will automatically find your backlinks is sorely mistaken! Some types of links, such as those found on blog comments, are easily found by Google, since it likes blogs and frequently crawls them. Adversely, other types of links, such as those found in forum profiles or signatures, are rarely found on their own. This makes indexing the most important part of backlinking. In fact, indexing is so important that it has its own page here on this site that discuses these methods in more detail.
- Be diverse in your links; spread them out over several different methods.
- Link to more than just your main page (deep-linking).
- Start slow and find a rhythm or method that works for you to build links.
- Don’t spam; there is enough of this kind of stuff.
- A PR-4 link is worth more than 100 PR-1 links. Target higher PR sites for backlinks.