To earn a top spot on a search engine results page, you have to catch the attention of search engine crawlers. As crawlers explore the internet, they look for indicators that tell it how relevant the page is for specific keywords. One of these indicators is backlinking. Building and managing backlinks on your website should be an important part of your SEO strategy.

Backlinking Basics and Why It’s Important

Backlinking happens when another website links to your website. Also called inbound or incoming links, backlinks do more than direct traffic from one site to another. Search engine crawlers look at incoming links to determine how the pages connect, making it one of the most important factors used to rank pages.

Search engines see these links as a vote of confidence for your content. They assume that your information is relevant and accurate when you have these links, especially when they come from authoritative sites. After all, few companies direct their customers to information they won’t find useful. These links also help the crawlers understand the content on your site so they can index it properly.

How to Use Backlinks to Boost Your Business

There was a time when search engine crawlers only looked at the number of backlinks to your site. As a result, companies invested their efforts in linking to their own pages and including links to their sites in blog comments. This was an easy way to build backlinks, but linking to a vitamin company from a finance blog didn’t help search engines do their jobs.

Search engines now place more emphasis on the quality of your backlinks, which makes some links more valuable than others. The ideal incoming links are relevant to your content and come from authoritative—not spammy—websites. As these sites link to yours, you’ll see increased traffic directly from the links and improved rankings in search results.

Key Steps to Remember When Backlinking

When building backlinks to your website, keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. This starts with your website. Make sure the site is easy to navigate, contains accurate information and gets regular updates.

The next step is positioning yourself as an authority in your field by publishing engaging content that offers a unique angle on topics. Choose evergreen content that stands the test of time instead of following what’s trendy. Establish a publishing schedule to help you remember how often to post new information.

Look for ways to promote your website. Respond to questions in online forums like Reddit and Quora. Share updates through your social media channels. Write guest blogs for other websites in exchange for backlinks. Offer a free resource to your website visitors to encourage them to visit and look around your site.

When you discover a broken link on another website, use it to your advantage. Create new content that’s relevant to the link and the site. Then ask the companies to replace the dead links with your replacements. You’ll help them get rid of broken links that damage their authority with their customers, and you get the backlinks.