Bringing your business online is always a tricky and risky job. Even if you’ve exceeded offline, you have yet to prove it and establish your authority from scratch the moment you turn your computer on. The rules are strict but fair: nothing matters if it isn’t translatable into megabytes.
It isn’t only about creating a special online sanctuary where people will gladly visit, stay and interact. More than that, and especially at the beginning, it’s about making this sanctuary visible and dragging people there. It’s about persuading them that it’s worth their while to give some time to you rather than to some of the big animals who have already earned their trust.
Basically, the choice is simple. Either pick a fight with those bigwigs out there that occupy the first page of Google and lose it before anyone even noticed you. Or forge an alliance with them, which is easier said than done, but not impossible.
But how to forge alliances with the bigwigs?
In comes the notion of bigwigs’ generosity toward the less fortunate. To be perfectly clear: this isn’t a church, but the market. They won’t be generous because of their altruism, but because (and if!) they deem you worthy of it. After all, it doesn’t cost them a thing.
To have them notice and acknowledge your value by linking to your website – that is the basics of backlinking. The magic of the Internet is that it’s big enough that it can absolutely do without you and me, but at the same time expendable enough to always let the new players in. Those who are strong enough will live to tell the tale. Those who don’t manage to understand it and use its advantages will see themselves out.
Let’s put it this way. Every student of science has this dream of having his name listed in a great scientific citation index. This entry in the index, pointing to his work, will recognize him and provide him with authority that he would never be able to carve out on his own.
Except that he first had to work really hard to deserve it.
It’s much the same rules within the digital space.
Basically, backlinking is about lending readers to each other, which is a process that heavily relies on trust. Bigwig won’t lend their readers to just about anyone. It took them some real effort to “earn” them (pun intended) in the first place. Those people didn’t spend their time out of compassion – the bigwig first had to dig into their interests and needs and strike the right chord that will have enough power to sing and resonate in their heads long after they’ve forgotten what his article was about and how they got to read it in the first place.
An earned trust calls for justification, so one backlink is never enough, however powerful it might be. Strive for more. Provide more valuable content.
It’s not only about the numbers of links leading to your site. Their authority and relevance to your niche and topics also matters. Once upon a time, in the 1990s, there were even places that used to grow backlinks. You could submit your site there and get backlinks in exchange for the same kind of service, or even cash. They were called link farms and private blog networks (PBNs).
But Google equipped itself with PageRank (back in 1990’s) and Penguin algorithms to sniff this dishonesty. It gets really angry and penalizes you for using such knavish methods. Those algorithms were created in order to be able to differentiate quantity for quality. Without those regulators the web would have been overflown with annoying no-good spammy content (even more than it is now).
Even to this day, there are places where you can buy backlinks. How do they exactly work now that search engines got smarter? Who pays them money in exchange for backlinks and what are the consequences?
Don’t ask us. Even if Google was that stupid to buy into those techniques (and it isn’t), we wouldn’t be. We know that the best high quality links are earned organically, with producing high quality content. Linking means voting. Voting means democracy, which is striving to rise above manipulation and deceit.
Don’t cheat your way into the search engines, or they will backfire at you.
Establish your worth properly, or have someone help you to do it.