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If you want to grow your website’s traffic from Google, backlinks are one of the most important SEO ranking factors going – and that comes straight from Google themselves.

Great, but what exactly are backlinks?

Backlinks are what they sound like – links that point from a page on one website to a page on another.

A backlink from a page on someone else’s website to yours is like a recommendation that says your webpage has some importance. It’s worth a look.

Google and other search engines use the number of backlinks on a website to determine the authority of a page and so decide that website’s ranking.

The more backlinks the better?

It’s not quite that simple. Just as you’d trust a recommendation from someone you knew and respected over someone you never met before, Google trusts backlinks from authoritative websites with the right cred over those that it decides are either less trustworthy or unknown.

PageRank, a Google algorithm, judges a page’s ‘value’ and determines its relative importance by looking at the quantity, quality and relevance of other pages that link back to it.

So essentially it’s all about the quality of your backlinks.

You should aim to gain backlinks from websites that are relevant to your website, eg: the same industry, have a good domain authority score, and come from a website that’s not simply trying to manipulate search engine rankings.

When to ‘no-follow’.

Speaking of manipulation, you might want to link to a website but don’t want search engines to follow that link. (Maybe you don’t want to endorse that site because it’s a paid link, or known to be a low-quality site.) So you set the status of your links to ‘no follow’ to prevent sharing your website authority with others.

…and finally, watch out for Google’s Penguin.

Penguin is a Google algorithm that helps their search engine filter out websites trying to increase their ranking by using the charmingly named spamdexing SEO techniques to deliberately manipulate search engine indexes. When Penguin finds bad links, it ignores them so they no longer count toward the website’s ranking. Clever Penguin.

If you need help with keeping up with Google’s ever changing algorithms get in touch to see how our expert team can help.

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