Our recent review of various Google ranking factors left us in no doubt that backlinks are absolutely key.
Backlinks are simply links back to your website from other websites. Each backlink acts like a 'vote of confidence' for your website. The more 'votes' you have, the more respect Google will give to your website.
And the more respect Google has, the higher your website will appear in its search results.
Backlinks and Domain Authority
The problem is, not all backlinks are equal. Search engines like to see links from websites that have a high Domain Authority (DA). The higher the DA scoring (out of 100), the more authoritative the website. For example;
- www.akirastudio.com has a DA score of 37
- www.ingersoll.ca has a DA score of 36
- www.cbc.ca has a DA of 95
So, if you could get a link from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to your website, it carries over twice as much weight as a link from the Town of Ingersoll website. However, the chances of getting such a link are somewhat slim.
As a rule of thumb, most experts reckon you should aim for websites with a DA of at least 40, although above 30 will do just fine.
So, how can you get quality backlinks from well-respected websites with a higher DA?
Buying Backlinks No Longer Works
In the good/bad old days, some people bought links by the hundreds (or thousands) from link building companies. The problem was, most of them were from fairly horrible websites that were totally unconnected with their core business, and ultimately these kind of links did much more harm than good.
That's why experts today refer to 'crafting' or 'earning' backlinks. You can't just buy 'em anymore, you need to work for them. There are various ways to get quality backlinks, some of which are more hassle than others, but one of the easiest is to list your website in a directory.
Links from Business Directories
An online business directory is simply a list of businesses either within a geographical area or in a market area. The best directories give you a listing that includes a live link back to your website, as well as the opportunity to add a description of what you do and maybe a picture or video.
The biggest directories are those you pay for, such as Yellow Pages, Canada One, Weblocal, etc. There are also lots of other directories you don't have to pay for (or pay very little for) including:
- regional directories (by province or county)
- town and city directories (often maintained by the town councils)
- small business directories
- niche market directories
By listing your business on these directories, your business can rank on the first page of the search engine results (SERPs) several times, both for your own website and for your listing.
Akira’s Quick Guide to Canadian Directories
To help you get started, we've complied a list of Canadian directories that are ready and waiting to list your company. Some you pay for some you don't, but all will require a brief description of what you do, so write several version of this before you start. Also make sure you have a good image or two to add, and a small version of your logo as a jpeg or similar if you want to add that too.
(UK version coming soon!)
Do follow and no follow links
A little bit of geeky stuff here; not all links can be used by search engines to find your website. A do-follow link is an open door for Google and other search engines to go through direct to your website. A no-follow link just allows Google to read the name on the door, but go no further.
Some people may suggest that no-follow links are therefore useless, but this is not the case. Real people (i.e. customers) can follow either link type to find your website, and in the end, it's customers that you really want. What's more, more customers clicking through equals more traffic (people visiting) your website, and search engines like to see traffic flowing to your website. So both types of link are definite win/wins.