Checklist for WordPress Backlinks

June 2020

What Are Backlinks

To put it simply, backlinks are hyperlinks from one webpage to another webpage. You probably see backlinks all the time in the articles that you read. Perhaps you were reading a news article and it had a link to a previous story, or maybe you were looking up a chocolate chip cookie recipe and it had a link to spatula on Amazon. Both of these cases are considered backlinks. Visually it is typically easy to spot out backlinks as it is common to style hyperlinks with blue text. For example here is a backlink to Twitter.

Now is a hyperlink from one webpage to another page on the same WordPress website still considered a backlink? Yes. However hyperlinks that refer to their own WordPress website versus a different WordPress website have different meanings in the world of search engines.

Why Are Backlinks Important

Search engines such as Google or Bing consider backlinks as a vote or reference for a specific webpage. Pages with a high amount of quality backlinks tend to have better organic search rankings.

This makes intuitive sense because we apply the same logic to people. If nine out of 10 people that you know are saying good things about someone new, you are more likely a good experience when you actually meet the person. So why not do the same when the webpage?

Although search engine algorithms have become increasingly more complex, backlinks still remain a key component in ranking. An industry study conducted by backlink.io, concluded that links remain Google's key ranking signal.


Google Rank Position vs Number of Backlinks via backlinko.

Google has even confirmed that links remain with in the top three most important search engine ranking factors.

Quality Of Backlinks

It was alluded to earlier that there are different types backlinks and that those different types have different values within the world search engine. This value can sometimes be 1000x, so it is important you spend your time and focus on quality backlinks.

Quality checklist item 1: trusted source

Would you prefer to get a reference from a reputable person you know or a random stranger on the sidewalk? Probably the reputable person. Search engines feel the same way about links.

In the world of search engines, this concept is known as `Domain Authority`. The more authority a site has, aka the more reputable it is, the more authority/reputation it can pass on to another site.

Getting a link on a well known news media website is going to have a lot more weight than Billy's newspaper website. Are links on well known websites hard to get? Absolutely, but they are worth the effort. Ultimately, if your WordPress website has a great tool, great content, or just a great story, you can make getting a link on domain authority easier.

Quality checklist item 2: Anchor Text includes Target Keyword

Anchor text is the visible part of the hyperlink, as noted before, it is typically styled with blue text.

<a href="https://wordpressllc.com">WordPress for Business</a>

If your WordPress website is about chocolate chip cookies, and a domain authority about kitchen utensils backlinks to your website, ideally the anchor text of that link would include chocolate chip cookies opposed to pizza crust. This helps search engines make a deeper connection/understanding to your WordPress website's content.

However don't go crazy with keyword-rich anchor text. If it sounds like too much by just reading it out loud, then it is. Google actually has a component in their algorithm that helps filter out these over-saturated anchor texts called Google Penguin. In a nutshell, it exists to help reduce spam.

Quality checklist item 3: Related Websites

If a backlink to Website B, exists on a page on Website A, it has more value if Website B and Website A are related in terms of content. Going back to our chocolate chip cookie example, the fact that the backlink is on a kitchen utensil website has great value. If that backlink was instead on a sports websites, on a page about mountain bikes, then the backlink won't have as much value.

Quality checklist item 4: Dofollow

Within the html, if an anchor tag has the `nofollow` tag set, then search engines ignore these links.

<a href="https://wordpressllc.com" rel="nofollow">WordPress for Business</a>

Don't worry, the majority of links are `dofollow` links, in fact it's the default. So unless you explicitly set `nofollow`, the link will be good to go.

Quality checklist item 5: Link from new website

In the world of job hunting, it is common for employers to ask for a reference. If Reference A says something great about you then the employer is going to be very pleased. They will also be more pleased if they hear something form Reference B, Reference C, Reference D, and so on. 4 great things said about you, each from a different people is more powerful than 4 great things said from the same reference.

The same goes for backlinks. 10 links from 10 different websites is much more valuable than 100 links from a single website.

In fact a study about search engine ranking found that the number of referring domain authorities linking to a website correlated with Google search rankings more than any other factor.

Summary

So now you know what a backlink is and why it is good for your WordPress website. You also know what makes a high quality backlink.

  • It comes from a trusted source
  • The anchor text includes your target keywords
  • It comes from a related website
  • Dofollow tag is set
  • It comes from a new website/source

You can now use this checklist with your partners, both for your links on their WordPress website and their links on your WordPress website.

 thumbs upAdded from Giphy.
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