Chances are, if you’re familiar with SEO, you’ve heard the term “backlink” mentioned. Backlinks are the part of SEO that often people outside the digital marketing industry fail to consider, but they perhaps have one of the biggest impacts on a website.

Backlinks are links from external websites that point to your website. They are a big part of Google’s algorithm and determine the best results to show to users in online searches. If one website is referencing a webpage of another website, it is seen as a sign of credibility to Google and represents a “vote of confidence” that the website being linked to is a trust-worthy website.

Backlinks and How They Help SEO:

Generally speaking, backlinks correlate with how your website performs in search engines. Websites with more backlinks have better keywords rankings and get more traffic from organic search results, however, there are certain exceptions to this rule.

Not all backlinks are created equally! To see SEO success, it’s not just the number of backlinks you have- there should also be an emphasis on getting backlinks from quality websites. The best way to find out the quality of a website is to see the website’s domain authority. Moz created and developed SEO software that measures domain authority, a measurement of how well a website can rank on any given keyword. The domain authority metric takes into account both the quality and quantity of backlinks that point to a website.

How to Get Backlinks: The Do’s and Don’ts:

There are the right ways and wrong ways of getting backlinks. To help level the playing field, Google has a set of rules that it wants webmasters and marketers to follow. Here are some dos and don’ts of how to get backlinks to your website:

The Dos:

Do Publish Awesome Content

Start a blog or resources section to publish articles that are resourceful, shareable, and interesting.

Do Promote Your Content

Promote the articles that you write. Without promoting them, you probably won’t get your content in front of the eyes of the people who would be most interested. Promote content on your social channels, or even reach out to others directly to those that may find it interesting.

Do Form Business Relationships

Building relationships with people in other businesses and organizations can translate well to earning backlinks from other websites.

The Don’ts:

Don’t Submit your Website to Link Farms

A link farm is a website that’s sole purpose is to features links from other websites. This is a very outdated SEO practice that can harm your website’s SEO.

Don’t Pay for “Dofollow” Backlinks

This is still possible to do; however, you’ll need to add a “no follow” tag, which discredits your website from gaining SEO benefit in Google’s algorithm. If you pay for websites and do not add a no-follow tag, you risk Google penalizing your site.

Don’t Participate in Excessive Link Exchanges

This is another outdated practice that does not work for SEO. Link exchanges are okay to do a few times, but anything more significant, it can be detrimental to your SEO.

For more information about the dos and don’ts of getting backlinks, check out Google’s Webmaster guidelines.

It’s Time for Your Website to Get Backlinks!

Whether you’re a business owner or marketer, keep in mind opportunities to reach out for backlinks from other websites. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to get backlinks; you just need to be mindful of making time to get backlinks as you grow your business online.

About The Author: Nate Fishman is a Boston-based SEO consultant that works with both small businesses and enterprise businesses to create sound SEO strategies to improve search visibility. He just published his content link building ebook, free to download.