BacklinksWhat Are Backlinks?Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website through an anchor text. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page thus indicating relevance, quality, and authority to the web page. Pages with a high number of relevant backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings.Why are backlinks important?Backlinks are important for Search Engines and users alike. From a user’s perspective, backlinks provide a way for people to find other sources of information on the same or related topics.For example, if the consumer is visiting a page about the “best smart phones” he might find links out to other carriers, cell phone providers or user generated review pages. Links create a solid consumer experience because they transfer the user directly to additionally desirable information if needed.For Search Engines, backlinks help to determine the page’s importance and value (i.e. authority). Historically, the quantity of backlinks was an indicator of a page’s popularity. Today, due to the way backlinks are evaluated based on different industry-related ranking factors, it is less quantity focused and more about the quality of sites from which the links are coming.Alternatively, too many backlinks from many unreliable domains can hinder the authoritative signals of your domain.How do backlinks help SEO?Make sure your backlinks appear to be natural. Don’t ask webmasters to link back to your pages with a specific anchor text since this can haphazardly result in a pattern that may get noticed by search engines and cause you to get a linking penalty, a la Penguin. Also, don’t do anything shady or unnatural to create backlinks, like asking a site to put a link in the footer of every page on their site.NEVER offer to pay someone for links! If you’re trying to build backlinks by pushing sponsored content, it has to explicitly say “Sponsored” on it. That’s an FCC regulation. Most publishers will mark these backlinks as “nofollow” but they still have link value and they can drive traffic to your site.At one time, directories like DMOZ were a good place to add listings and get backlinks. However, these large web directories aren’t really relevant anymore. But, if you do find industry-relevant directories or niche communities online, it can be worth building a relationship with the webmasters to get a backlink from this type of site..GOV domains are quite valuable since they can’t be started by just anyone. So they inherently have more domain value.How do I build backlinks?Outreach to webmasters should be personalized. You can list reasons why you like their brand, think your brand would partner well with them or citing articles and other content they published are great ways to make them more receptive. Try to find an actual point-of-contact on professional sites like LinkedIn. A generic blast of “Dear Webmaster…” emails is really just a spam campaign.Who links back to my site?SEO specialtiesSearch engine optimization also has a few subgenres. Each of these specialty areas is different from “regular SEO” in its own way, generally requiring additional tactics and presenting different challenges. Five such SEO specialties include:Ecommerce SEO: Additional SEO elements include optimizing category pages, product pages, faceted navigation, internal linking structures, product images, product reviews, schema and more.Enterprise SEO: This is SEO on a massive scale. Typically this means dealing with a website (or multiple websites/brands) with 1 million pages – or it may be based on the size of the organization (typically those making millions or billions in revenue per year). Doing enterprise also typically means delays trying to get SEO changes implemented by the dev team, as well as the involvement of multiple stakeholders.International SEO: This is global SEO for international businesses – doing SEO for multiregional or multilingual websites – and optimizing for international search engines such as Baidu or Naver. Local SEO: Here, the goal is to optimize websites for visibility in local organic search engine results by managing and obtaining reviews and business listings, among others.News SEO: With news, speed is of utmost importance – specifically making sure you get into Google’s index as quickly as possible and appear in places such as Google Discover, Google’s Top Stories and Google News. There’s a need to understand best practices for paywalls, section pages, news-specific structured data, and more.