Linking is a vital part of a successful SEO strategy. Links build connections between websites that can let search engines know just how valuable and useful a webpage really is.
Also known as “inbound links,” backlinks are links that point back to your site. The amount and the quality of your site’s backlinks directly contribute to your page’s ability to rank in search engines like Google.
How can you optimize your website’s backlinks for maximum SEO success? Keep reading to find out!
What Are Backlinks & Why Are They Important?
A backlink is a link that is created when one website links to another. For example, when website A hosts an external link that points to website B, website B has gained a backlink.
Backlinks are incredibly important to a page’s SEO value. When it comes to determining a page’s Google rank, backlinks kind of function as votes. If your site is being linked to by other sites, it’s as if those sites are voting for your site and vouching for its value. Links are a vote of confidence and pages that have lots of high-quality links pointing to them are likely to be of high-quality themselves.
This makes it easier for search engines like Google to know just how valuable and important a page really is, and where it should appear in its rankings.
Today, a website’s link profile is just one of many factors taken into consideration when determining a page’s search ranking. Nevertheless, it is still one of the most important. A 2015 ranking factor survey by Moz found that page-level link features accounted for nearly 20% of a website’s SEO signals, and domain-level link features for nearly 21%.
Plus, backlinks also give your website a boost through the referral traffic that they bring in. A healthy amount of links pointing back to your site can be a consistent source of traffic for a long time.
What Makes A Backlink Valuable?
Not all backlinks have the same SEO value, and some backlinks are better than others. Google has made repeated efforts to diminish the value of low-quality backlinks in its ranking algorithms. Nowadays, a single high-quality backlink can be better than dozens of low-quality ones.
So what kind of backlinks should you be targeting? High-quality backlinks share some key traits.
High-quality backlinks come from trusted, authoritative websites. When one page links to another, it can pass on link equity, also known as link juice. Link equity is effectively a transfer of value and authority from one domain or page to another.
This concept can be simplified by looking at the domain authority metric. The more domain authority that a linking page has, the more authority that it can pass on to your site via its link.
As such, you want to make sure that you are getting as many links as possible from the most authoritative websites you can. While these links may be hard to get, they are definitely worth the effort!
Try to also make sure that many of those backlinks are coming from authoritative websites in your niche (cannabis). Google gives more value to links that are coming from related websites since that is usually a sign of sharing knowledge and expertise (a.k.a value).
Additionally, try to get links from a variety of websites, not just the same one or two over and over again. It’s believed that links originating from the same domain can have diminishing returns so relying on the same sites all the time for your link juice is a bad idea. Instead, try to snap up backlinks from as many of the most authoritative and valuable sites in your niche as you can.
And remember that backlinks from pages that get a lot of traffic can be a goldmine for referral traffic. The more views a page gets, the more likely a backlink is to send some of that traffic your way.
Just as inbound links can have different values, so too can outbound links. The links that you create and point out to other sites can differ in value depending on factors such as page authority, accessibility, content, and more.
Getting More Backlinks For Your Dispensary Website
The process of gaining more backlinks is known as link-building or link-earning. Link-building campaigns can help to attract more links to your site, boosting your SEO signals and Google ranking in the process.
The best kinds of backlinks are natural editorial links. An editorial link is where somebody links to your website through their content without you having to ask them to do it. These are the holy grail of backlinks because they are perfectly organic and can be obtained without you having to lift a single finger. One way to gain these kinds of links is by creating skyscraper content that draws the eyes, and the links, of other websites in your niche.
In a perfect world, every backlink would be an editorial link. But in reality, you will likely have to manually reach out to other websites and webmasters in order to gain some, if not most, of your backlinks. These are called “outreach” links and can usually be obtained by contacting a webmaster and directly asking them to link to a piece of content on your page that you believe they may find valuable.
However, you choose to obtain them, if your dispensary website is lacking backlinks, you will likely need to start a link-building campaign. Checking your website’s current backlinks is a good place to start so you can establish a baseline. You can use free tools from Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush to check your site’s current backlink profile and assess its quality.
If you’re working with a fresh website, it can be difficult to know where to start link-building. One way to get an idea is by doing some competitive research. Take a look at the backlink profile of a competitor that is ranking for your target keywords. Seeing where their links are coming from can provide you with valuable insights into how they went about building their links, and into which domains you may be able to target in your link-building campaigns.