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A backlink, also known as an “inbound link”, is a link on a website pointing to a page on another website. Most search engines, especially Google, consider backlinks as recommendations for the pages receiving links. Pages with a large number of backlinks generally achieve good organic positions in search engines.

Gestion des backlinks reçus par un site

The two types of backlinks

There are two types of backlinks: natural backlinks and artificial backlinks. A natural backlink is an external link pointing to a site, obtained without having had to offer any sort of compensation in exchange. It is a type of backlink generally obtained by large authority sites, i.e. sites that have made a name for themselves in their field, and which are therefore trusted by Internet users. An artificial backlink, on the other hand, is a backlink obtained in exchange for a financial consideration. Any site can have backlinks of this type, as long as you decide to dedicate a certain budget to the purchase of links.

Google highly values natural backlinks over artificial ones. It is important to remain careful in your strategy of obtaining artificial backlinks. Indeed, if you adopt a netlinking technique that is too aggressive, Google Penguin may notice and penalise you.

Usefulness of backlinks in SEO

The number and quality of backlinks received by a site are data used by Google to evaluate the quality of your site. Indeed, Google establishes its ranking of the various search results on the relevance and reliability of the content proposed by a website. So, if many good quality sites point to your site, Google will judge it to be of good quality and trustworthy, and will move it up in the search results.

On the contrary, if you have few backlinks, or the backlinks you do have are of poor quality, then Google will penalise your website, and you will drop in the search results.

Data on which to base your choice of backlinks

In order to select the best sites to link to your site, it is important to assess certain metrics.

SEO Metrics: Trust Flow, Citation Flow and Domain Rating

Some SEO tools provide metrics to evaluate the quality of a website. It is therefore interesting to analyse this data to give you an idea of the quality of a site.

First of all, the Majestic tool allows you to evaluate the trust index and popularity of a domain, thanks to its Trust Flow and Citation Flow metrics, two scores between 0 and 100. The Trust Flow is used to evaluate the trust index of a site. If this score is high, it means that Google trusts the site in question and the content on its pages. The Citation Flow, on the other hand, evaluates the popularity of a site. This CF is measured according to the number of backlinks received by the site: the more backlinks it has, the higher its CF. Google takes into account these two metrics to evaluate the reliability and relevance of a site. In your choice of sites on which to obtain backlinks, make sure that they have a TF and CF greater than 15, and that these two metrics are not too far apart.

Finally, the Ahrefs tool also gives indications about the quality of a website, with its Domain Rating metric. This DR is considered good from 20 onwards. Sites with a DR of more than 70 are qualified as authority sites, on which it is very good to have backlinks.

Importance of the traffic received

The organic traffic captured by a website is the most important criterion to take into account in your choice of sites on which to place your backlinks. Indeed, the more organic traffic and the number of keywords on which a site is positioned is important, the more it means that its natural referencing is good, and that Google considers it reliable. So, receiving a link from a site with high organic traffic will give you good SEO juice.

History of the domain

Finally, the last criterion to take into account in your choice of backlinks is the history of the site on which you want to place it. Indeed, the older the domain is, the more established it is, and therefore valued by Google. Moreover, an old site is much more likely to have many backlinks, and therefore a strong authority in its field, than brand new sites.

Be careful also to take into account the total number of pages on a site, as well as the total number of outgoing links present on the pages: if their number is too high, it means that these backlinks are artificial, and therefore that the site risks being unpopular in the eyes of Google.

Defining the quality of a backlink

In addition to the quality of the sites on which you get your backlinks, there are also other criteria to evaluate their quality, criteria that are important to respect in order to make your netlinking strategy effective.

Semantic field

First of all, it is important to ensure that the semantic field of the article in which you wish to place your link is consistent with the theme of your site. This will allow you to offer content that is relevant to the user’s initial search, as well as making your netlinking strategy natural in the eyes of Google.

Content size

The size of the content also influences the quality of a backlink. Indeed, Google values pages with relevant and abundant content. Moreover, the more a page is rich in content, the more the number of keywords on which it is positioned will be high, and therefore the more it will gain visibility. It is therefore strategic to obtain backlinks on pages with abundant and optimized content, which will be well positioned in the search results.

Location of the backlink on a page

The possibilities for placing your backlink on a page are many and varied. However, it is advisable to position yourself in the first part of the main content area. The areas to be avoided are the footer and the header.

Relevance of the chosen anchor

There are different types of anchors: optimised, semi-optimised and de-optimised. It is strongly advised against using only one optimised anchor for one of your pages. So make sure you vary the type of anchor you choose. It is recommended that 60% to 70% of your backlinks are made on your brand, your URL, or on a de-optimized anchor such as “here” or “this site”. Also use 20% to 30% long tail anchors, and 10% exact match anchors to your main keyword. Finally, vary the pages to which your backlinks point, so that you don’t just target your homepage, but also internal pages of your site with high added value in terms of SEO.

Dofollow tag

The last criterion for evaluating the quality of a backlink is the chosen tag. Favour dofollow backlinks to those nofollow.  As their name indicates, dofollow backlinks indicate to crawlers that they can follow the associated page, while the nofollow tag blocks access. So if you want crawlers to explore your pages, make sure your backlinks are dofollow. However, it is interesting to have a few nofollow links in order to make your netlinking strategy more natural in the eyes of Google, and to protect you from a possible penalty.

How to get backlinks?

There are various techniques for obtaining backlinks, all more or less natural and are therefore appreciated by Google. It is important to ensure that these techniques remain as natural as possible so as not to reduce your efforts concerning your netlinking strategy to nothing. Here are some of these techniques:

Place links in directories

Some directories offer you a free backlink to your site, sometimes in exchange for writing an article. Some ask for a variable amount of money in return.

Create links on forums

It is possible to create discussions, or reply to comments, on forums dealing with topics similar or close to that of your site, and to insert a link in your replies. However, this technique of acquiring backlinks is considered blackhat. So be careful not to abuse it to avoid being penalised by Google.

Posting comments on blogs

On some blogs only, you can post comments at the bottom of an article, and insert a link to your site. However, this technique is not very popular with Google, and should be used in moderation.

Carry out link exchanges

Some sites offer link exchanges. This means that they offer to place a backlink to your site on one of their pages, in exchange for you placing a link to their site on yours. Generally, each party writes an article to be included on the other’s site, in which both backlinks involved in the exchange will be placed.

Publish guest-blog articles

There are sites that are in the middle of a filling process, i.e. looking for content, usually blog posts, to integrate. You can offer this type of site to write an article for them, in exchange for which they will add a backlink to your site.

Exploiting social networks

Social networks are now a real tool for obtaining backlinks. Encourage the sharing of your brand on social networks through the regular publication of catchy content to obtain new backlinks. Generally, the links obtained are in nofollow, but they nevertheless allow you to send signals to Google concerning your notoriety and popularity.

Purchase of links

Finally, you can also buy links. For this, there are platforms specialised in buying links, such as Ereferer or Rocketlinks. These platforms list many sites selling backlinks on their pages, and even offer a writing service.

How to monitor your backlinks?

Once your backlinks are obtained, it is important to monitor their evolution. Indeed, it is not uncommon for webmasters to remove your links. It is also possible that you have gained external links naturally.

In addition, monitoring your backlinks allows you to evaluate your link profile, and consequently determine which anchors and pages to target in your next backlink acquisition.

You can track your backlinks using free webmaster tools, such as Google Search Console. However, not all backlinks are visible there. You can therefore use, in addition, paid SEO tools such as Ahrefs which list all your backlinks and the associated links.

The most popular definitions

backlink dofollow
backlink nofollow
Sponsored article
Anchor link
citation flow
Link exchange
Link juice
Toxic link
Keyword occurrence

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