What Are Backlinks ?
SEO experts worldwide debate how much importance should be attributed to backlinks. Considering Google and the other search engines generally use about 200 ranking factors regarding your webpages to determine which should rank first and which should rank last, it is impressive that one of these factors can take up so much discussion in the SEO community.
Quite simply, a backlink is one website mentioning another website and linking to it. It is not merely referencing the website or it’s web address. It has to be a clickable link using an href attribute within the code. It is the difference between http://www.moz.com and Moz. Even though the first example displays a URL, the search engines do not register this as a backlink. They are usually visually seen with an underline and a different color to the text.
In the early days of search engines, backlinks were everything. Basically, you could launch a website and create a whole lot of links from all corners of the web, and before you knew it, you were on the first page of Google for any keyword you wanted. This was because the search engines were still new and had not crafted their algorithms to the finely tuned instruments of today.
For a while, backlinks developed a bad reputation in the industry and people believed that Google gave less credibility to the use of links. Even today, you’ll find online services that will get you 5,000 links almost overnight. Your website will skyrocket to the upper stratosphere of the search engine results because of a few dozen servers with thousands of useless websites created for the sole purpose of creating backlinks. The trouble is, over the next few weeks your website will fall never to return again.
It’s because Google never gave up on the idea of backlinks; it just got better at qualifying them and utilizing other online signals to determine quality from disreputable tactics. These old methods can not only hurt your rankings, but can cause your domain to incur penalties from Google. Yes, your domain can be penalized and can even be removed from Google’s index if the offense is serious enough.
So enough of these scary stories. Google actually likes backlinks and relies upon them. The whole idea behind them is that they help to tell Google what is good and useful out there. Remember, it is still an algorithm. It doesn’t know that your page describing the best technique for restoring a 1965 Ford Mustang bumper is all that great. But if enough people are talking about how great it is, and thereby referencing that page on other websites, well Google will actually know.
It not only count the number of links, it attributes values to different links. Now here is the tricky part. The valuation of links can be complicated because we don’t completely know how Google rates the value, they won’t tell us. They allude to certain significances, provide best practices and even from time to time mislead us in the industry. There is a never ending stream of research done by SEO companies that publish results relating to nuances of backlinks and what the measurable results are from these subtle differences.
What are Wiki Backlinks ?
Over the years, Wikipedia has become a minefield for marketers, often causing more trouble than it’s worth. However, Wikipedia is still effective and can be used by content marketers to both assists with SEO and contribute to the mission of the world’s largest encyclopedia.
Content marketers often misunderstand how backlinks work in Wikipedia. They think that if the topic is relevant, simply adding a link to the “external link” section of a page is good enough. Not so.
Adding a link to Wikipedia is like surgery – if not done correctly it can cause many issues, including having your added domain listed as spam and banned from Wikipedia.If done correctly, it can still be a great benefit to your SEO.
First, let’s look at how backlinks have changed in Wikipedia over the years. When Wikipedia launched in 2001, backlinks were all “do-follow” – created for SEO purposes. With Google’s heavy weighting of Wikipedia and its backlinks, marketers were quick to pick up on the SEO effect.
Wikipedia editors quickly caught on that spam was aplenty. The community took massive steps to help curb spam, including changing links to “no-follow,” which have less SEO effect, and creating a black list to block domains they considered spam.
Now, even though no-follow backlinks have less effect on SEO than do-follow backlinks, Wikipedia backlinks are still some of the most coveted in the marketing industry. This is because Google gives heavy weight to Wikipedia links despite the fact that they’re no-follow.
Do not simply look for citation-needed entries. Wikipedia automatically searches for and scrutinizes completed citation-needed templates. If the added links do not contribute to the entry’s quality, they will be removed and potentially blacklisted.
Find entries in dire need of cleanup and expansion. In these cases, you have a better opportunity to contribute quality content – expanding the knowledge shared on that topic and contributing to Wikipedia’s goal of freely sharing knowledge.
To find an article needing more quality information, go to the all-articles-to-be-expanded page. More than 1,800 articles fell into this category in one month this fall. Explore more than one month for an endless supply of pages that could benefit from your input.
Now that you know where to find places for your links, let’s look at the best-suited types of links:
- Make sure the links come from a reliable source. Wikipedia’s rules on reliable sources are lengthy. Basically, don’t use self-published sources (press releases, etc.) and make sure that the linked website employs fact-checkers to ensure an accuracy of content
- Check whether Wikipedia already considers the source as reliable. See if the cited website has its own article. For instance, AdAge has its own Wikipedia page, which increases the likelihood that links from its site will be accepted as a reliable source.
- See if your cited website has been used as a backlink. Go to the search box and type in the URL that you want to check. A site that has been used numerous times also increases the chances of it being accepted as a reliable source.
- Make sure the link is more than a landing page. A link to a landing page without information to support the content is considered spam by Wikipedia editors.
- Link directly to the relevant content page. The link must have content that supports the information you are adding. For instance, if you are adding information about advertising, you cannot simply link to your website’s home page as the authoritative source. You must connect to the exact page that supports the content, similar to how you would cite sources in a research paper or industry study.
Now it’s time to add the link. To do things correctly, you must contribute to the encyclopedia – adding more links than just the backlink you want to include.
What Are Edu Backlinks ?
EDU backlinks refer to links obtained on website domains with EDU extension. With GOV backlinks, EDU links are the “holy grail” of a netlinking strategy. Indeed, EDU domains, and therefore EDU backlinks, have authorithy and trust in the eyes of Google and other search engines. EDU is a restricted TLD, organizations have to be an acredited post-secondary educational institution to postulate for it. It is often hard to obtain a natural link on an EDU domain – only GOV backlinks are probably harder to obtain – as the pointed content must theoritically have an education value. There are, however, different means to obtain EDU backlinks by the back door. It is possible to use or pay students who may have the right to create pages on the domain -blogs, profiles, announces -, or to post fake announces – job offers, student missions, etc. However, some of these links could be in nofollow zones and it is likely that Google takes into account the link placements on EDU sites. A few good EDU backlinks are often more effective than thousands of low quality links for good SERP rankings.