Although there are many ways you can increase traffic to your website one of the most prominent ways of doing this is carrying out a sustained link building campaign and getting as many backlinks for your website or blog as possible. But what is link building and what are backlinks?
Link building and backlinks explained
There was a time, late 90’s early 2000’s, when you could enjoy good rankings by creating lots of keyword-centric content. This was good, until people started overdoing it. At a particular point people were simply creating nonsense in the name of publishing “optimized content”. Lots of junk began to show up in search results. Than the search engines, especially Google, started using backlinks to evaluate your rankings. A backlink is when someone links to your homepage or one of the pages of your website from his or her website or blog.
Suppose you have a website with the URL http://yourwebsite.com and I have a website http://mywebsite.com. If you link from your website to my website from one of your pages, you give me a backlink.
If I link to your website from my website then I give you a backlink. The link has to be within the <a></a> tag so that it appears as a hyperlink. The backlink can be more beneficial if the hypertext you use for the hyperlink contains words that explain exactly what my website stands for. Take for instance HowToPlaza; if you link to this website from your website with something like “an online resource for how-to tutorials, articles and blog posts” rather than simply HowToPlaza it will be more beneficial to this website.
Anyway, this is just one backlink. Suppose there are 50 web owners or bloggers who link to http://mywebsite.com. What does it tell the search engines? It tells them that this website is so good that 50 web owners and bloggers have linked to it. This is because when you link to someone or something, you put your reputation at stake. You do not just blindly link to various websites. It tells the search engines that my website contains valuable content and I deserve better search engine rankings for related keywords. It is sort of word-of-mouth recommendation expressed in terms of backlinks. The more backlinks you have got, the better are your search engine ranking prospects.
The only thing you need to take care of is that the backlinks coming to your website need to come from people who already enjoy a good reputation with search engines. This means they themselves must be having quality backlinks coming to their own websites. This is to ensure that they are not spammy websites or just link farms. Only if they have good reputation with search engines they will be able to send some of their reputation to your website by back linking to you.
But how do you get people to link to your website or blog? People will not simply do that. You need to reach out to them or you need to make it possible for them to find you. This process of enabling people to link to your website, or creating opportunities for people to give you more and more backlinks, is called “link building”. Your link building campaign involves creating right conditions for people to link back to your website.
Increasing your website traffic with link building
Your backlinks increase your website traffic in two ways: direct traffic and indirect traffic.
Direct traffic is like when you come across a link on another website, you click that link and then go to the hyperlinked website. If you have a backlink from a high-traffic website then there is a possibility that you will get lots of direct traffic from that website. As people come across your link on a particular website, they click that link and then they come to your website.
Through your link building campaign (encouraging people to link to your website) you also provide an opportunity to the visitors of that particular website (the website that is linking to you) to further link to your website from their own respective websites. It can turn out to be a chain reaction. This is how sometimes links go viral. A particular link is found on a particular website and then from that website the link is used by the visitors on their own websites, and so on. For many website owners and SEO marketing experts, this is a dream come true.
Indirect traffic can come in the form of improved search engine rankings. As more and more high-authority websites link to you your search engine rankings begin to improve and hence you get more search engine traffic.
Getting more and more quality backlinks
This topic deserves a complete, dedicated blog post but the gist of the entire effort is, providing enough reason for people to link to your website. Why would they link to your website? Unless they are your relatives and close friends, they are not going to do it for the sake of love. There has to be some value. This value comes from the quality of content and your authority over your subject. People normally link to your website because of you (they respect your expertise and authority) and because of your content (they find your content really useful).
The more valuable content you have the more reason you give to other website owners to link to you. In order to link to you, first of all they have to find you. How do they find you? Through search engines, but for that you need better search engine rankings and you are most probably seeking backlinks to improve your search engine rankings, so it may become a vicious loop. But do not worry about that. Focus on creating lots of high-value optimized content on a regular basis. Start interacting with people (who may be influential in your field) on social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Leave useful comments on various forums and blogs. Offer to write guest blog posts for successful blogs. Increase visibility on the Internet and this way you can get quality backlinks for your website.