Let’s say you have a lot of great content on your company’s website. Excellent! That’s one of the most effective things you can do to make sure that potential customers find your business when they conduct a search for a solution to their problems. You want your company’s website to tell your company’s story and you want people to find it compelling enough to reach out and purchase your goods and services.
Now with that in mind, let’s say you have written a novel. Maybe it’s full of heart-pounding action and unpredictable plot twists. Perhaps you have crafted a fully-realized universe full of engaging characters and moral quandaries that examine the very meaning of what it is to be human. You’re convinced that it’s bound to change the literary landscape and be a bestseller on top of it!
What’s the next step? Would you put your manuscript in a drawer, and never show it to anyone?
Of course not! No one will ever see it there.
The world wide web is like real life in this way. If no person will ever be able to find your page—even if it has a lot of great things going for it—then much of the hard work that you put into creating it will go unappreciated. To put it simply, you want to be found.
We have already discussed why crafting high-quality content is of the utmost importance when it comes to getting search engines (and through them, people) to your site. But it doesn’t stop there. Backlinks can help connect you to the rest of the online community and increase the exposure that your website receives. Hyperlinks (or simply links) are, of course, those bits of underlined text that you can click on while browsing a website that will take you to another webpage. That page could be within the website you’re currently browsing (an internal link) or to a different website altogether (an external link). When a webpage on another site contains an external link that leads to a page on your website, then your website has a backlink from that site. You want backlinks from other reputable sites, and the more the better.
The main reason for this is that this weaves you into the fabric that holds the online community together. Knowing this, it should be easy to see why we call it the world wide web. Different websites are connected to each other through links (enmeshed like the strands of a spider’s web). Search engine robots, often called web crawlers or spiders, move along these links to discover websites, so the more backlinks you have directed toward your site the more likely it is that the search engines will find you. And if they find you, that means more traffic from real live humans.
Of course, getting others to link to your site is not as easy as simply understanding what backlinks are or how they can help you. It takes time and diligence. And it has to be organic. Paying some unsavory service to hurl links at your site is not just ineffective; it might result in Google penalizing you for doing it. As with so many things that matter in the real world, quality counts so much more than quantity. It’s better to have a real human user who maintains an influential website in your field create a link to your site than it is to have spambots try to promote you through cheating. Search engines will see through this trickery. Plus, you degrade the inherent value of your website and, by extension, your brand, by doing this.
The best method you can use to get other websites to send browsers to your site is to make it worthwhile to do so. And you accomplish this by writing great content. This may mean devising an illuminating guide that helps people understand the best method for accomplishing something. It may mean being at the vanguard of a technological movement. It may even mean sharing immersive anecdotes revealing the wisdom you have acquired in all your years of being in business. If it’s accurate, engaging, helpful, and, most of all, readable, then people will want to share it with others. And the more they share the more traffic you get.
You can take additional steps toward getting yourself more effectively woven into the fabric of the world wide web. Put external links in your own articles that send users to other websites that help to further illustrate or reinforce the points you make in your written content. It never hurts to connect yourself to more-established sites, provided that they are relevant, reputable, and as authoritative as possible. Don’t write articles that are made up entirely of links, but feel free to direct your users to other sites if you think that this will be helpful to them and reflect well on your material. And if what you compose is valuable, expect others to begin doing the same for you!