What Are Inbound Links? (+ Best Practices)
Inbound links are one of the most important pieces of the SEO puzzle. Not only do they help your site appear higher in search engine results pages, but they can also increase the visibility of a website and improve its overall authority.
To discover how inbound links can help boost your SEO efforts, here we:
- define what an inbound link is,
- detail inbound link best practices,
- and discuss how to use inbound links for SEO.
What are Inbound Links?
An inbound link, also known as a backlink, is a hyperlink that points from one website – the referring domain – to another, third-party website.
Why is this important?
Well, there are many factors that go into ranking a website in Google.
One of the most important? You guessed it, inbound links.
The more high-quality backlinks a website has, the higher a site is likely to rank on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Additionally, backlinks are great for referral traffic. If you can get a high-traffic site to point to your own website, there’s a high likelihood that some of their audience will click on the backlink and find their way to you.
Think of it like this: If you think of a website as a house, the inbound links are like the doors. They allow people to enter and explore what’s inside. The more doors there are, the more people can find their way in, and the more foot traffic will explore its interior. The same is true for websites – the more links there are, the more people will find their way to your site, and the more traffic you’ll get.
Okay, so is any old backlink a good backlink?
No. If there’s one thing you should absolutely take away from this article, it’s that not all backlinks are created equally.
Quality backlinks can help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), while spammy or low-quality backlinks can actually hurt your SEO and rankings.
What defines a high- or low-quality inbound link?
The quality of a backlink is mostly determined by its relevance and authority. Essentially, if an inbound link that points to your site is
- contextual, meaning the post is topically relevant to your website’s niche or the topic your post covers,
- and the website that links to yours is credible and viewed by Google as a legitimate source of factual information,
it is very likely to be of high-quality. Ultimately, passing on link juice or link authority to your content and website.
In SEO, link juice is the term used to describe the value that a website gains from links pointing to it. The higher Google regards a web page and the more high-quality links a web page has, the more powerful its link juice becomes. So, you guessed it, if a web page with lots of link juice adds an inbound link to one of your web pages, it will pass on this link juice and boost your page’s chances of ranking higher in the SERPs.
Inbound Links Best Practices
As backlinks hold so much value in terms of SEO, you can imagine there are many nefarious actors that use less than savory tactics to secure links and manipulate the SERPs. The industry refers to this as black hat strategies.
Why would some SEO practitioners use these types of tactics?
Well, for the same reason you’re here – to boost the success of their websites. The thing is, these techniques are often not sustainable. They offer quick wins that are at risk of getting penalized by Google. So, before you decide to use black hat tactics, be sure to weigh the risks and benefits carefully.
Some of the most common black hat strategies include participating in link exchanges, creating spammy blog comments, taking part in private blog networks (PBNs), and participating in other such reprehensible actions.
So, is it worth the risk? More often than not, no.
Google’s algorithm is constantly being updated and improved. And aside from improving their user’s experience on their platform, the biggest reason they do this is to crack down on unethical and nefarious tactics like those mentioned above.
How to Use Inbound Links
There are a variety of different ways to secure inbound links to your website.
1. Leverage Guest Posting
Guest posting is a tried and tested, Google-approved method of securing backlinks to your domain.
How does guest posting work?
The process involves pitching and writing content for a third-party website. Essentially, it is a mutual exchange. The idea is that the referring domain receives written content they can publish on their blog while you get a backlink to your own website.
For this to work for both parties, you’ll want to pitch a blog that’s relevant to the niche your website resides in. Not a direct competitor, of course, but a site that’s contextually relevant to your specialization. Additionally, the website will expect to receive content that’s well written, factual, and informative.
So be sure to write content that’s both high quality and useful to the referring domain’s audience.
Typically, the backlink is included in your author bio that the blog manager adds on the same web page the written content is published to. Sometimes though, if the third-party decides they would rather the content appear as if they wrote it, they may publish the content under one of their author’s names and link out to your website within the written piece.
Whichever way it occurs, you’ll secure a backlink to your website.
2. Write HARO Pitches
Another effective method of securing inbound links to your website is through the leverage of your expertise and insight.
Through the use of platforms like HARO.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a service that connects journalists with sources for their stories. By providing expert commentary or insights to reporters who are working on stories related to your industry, you can secure high-quality backlinks that will help improve your website’s ranking. In addition, by acting as a resource for reporters, you’ll increase your exposure and reach among potential customers.
To get started with HARO
- create an account on their website,
- filter for queries that fit your expertise,
- and, when the HARO emails start hitting your email inbox, browse through the list of queries from reporters looking for sources and respond to them.
Be sure to only respond to queries that are relevant to your niche and that you can answer truthfully and factually. To help you determine whether you are a good resource to an upcoming article, reporters who submit queries will often mention the particular set of expertise they’d like the respondents to possess.
In your response to a reporter’s query, include
- an attention-grabbing subject line,
- a well-written, well-researched, and unique response,
- your personal details, including any relevant credentials you possess, as well as a link to your website.
For the best results, be sure to submit a response in a timely manner. As you can imagine, reporters get whacked with a ton of responses so best in best served.
3. Produce Content That’s Link-Worthy
As a fellow search engine user, I’m sure you are aware of how much low-quality content exists on the SERPs. Google doesn’t prefer low-quality, but if the only content available to its web crawlers is low quality or nothing, well, it’s going to choose low-quality.
While low quality content may work for some less competitive niches or search terms, it’s certainly not going to for industries or keywords that are more competitive. And it’s certainly not going to earn you any backlinks any time soon.
For this reason, it’s within your best interest to produce high-quality content that’s not only well curated, but is also unique, plagiarism free, and informative. In doing so, you are not only more likely to rank higher in the SERPs, but you are also more likely to incentivize other niche-relevant blogs to use you as a resource and link out to your content.
For written content, this typically exists as long-form, accurate, and factual information that’s backed up by reputable and credible resources. For videos, a highly engaging video or tutorial embed within a web page is likely to not only serve your audience and reflect well on your website, but will also help improve time on-page. One of the many metrics that Google pays attention to when ranking web pages.
There’s no doubt, it’s within your best interest to secure high-quality inbound links to your website. In doing so, you’re not only improving your SEO metrics, but you are also adding more value to your audience.
But let’s be honest, securing backlinks is possibly one of the hardest tasks faced by website owners, digital marketers, and SEO alike.
To help you out, here at Loganix, we offer a ton of link building strategies that are sure to secure high-quality, relevant inbound links to your website. If you are interested, check out our wide range of link building services today.