What's an Inbound Link and Why Is It Important for SEO?

February 19, 2018 Natalie Russo

Backlinks, inbound links, or just plain links from other sites … whatever terminology you want to use, you may have heard of the positive effect links to your website can have on your search engine ranking.

While links pointing people to your website can help grow referral traffic from other sites, inbound links play a greater role in helping consumers find you than just those resulting clicks. That’s because inbound links help search engines such as Google to determine which websites people are most likely to find useful and trustworthy.

How can a link communicate something so important? Well, think of every inbound link to your site as a vote – if another website thinks something you’ve posted is informative and they link to it, Google takes it as a sign that you have authority on the subject at hand. The more inbound links, the more votes you have towards your credibility and authority, and the more likely Google is to show your page to consumers searching for local businesses such as yours. Also, the more authoritative Google considers the website that links to you to be, the greater this effect.

But beware: not all inbound links are helpful. In fact, the wrong kind of inbound links can hurt more than they help, even getting your site demoted within results rankings.

Good inbound links come from authoritative websites themselves and are earned legitimately because you created content that was worth linking to. Bad inbound links include link-trading schemes and paid backlinks from websites that have nothing to do with your type of business.

Here are some good strategies for growing inbound links, and some ways of growing links that can have a negative impact on your search ranking.

Good backlink strategies for local businesses:

  • Creating authoritative blog posts and content for sites to link to

  • Sharing thought leadership materials such as presentation decks on platforms such as SlideShare and LinkedIn

  • Providing opportunities for local bloggers to review your business

  • Speaking at local events and conferences

  • Adding social sharing buttons to your content to encourage people to share your links

  • Local directory listings (quality counts here, so it’s important to seek out authoritative, credible directories; Yellow Pages PresencePro can manage listings on your behalf on 40+ key platforms)

  • Writing op-ed articles and thought leadership pieces for local media outlets and websites

  • Getting interviewed by local media

Inbound link strategies that can get you penalized:

  • Paying for backlinks

  • Links in advertorial content that are not tagged “nofollow”

  • Indiscriminately leaving links in forums or comments sections of other sites

  • Offering freebies in exchange for backlinks

  • Being featured in free widgets where the primary purpose is to create backlinks

Start improving your search with more inbound links

Legitimately earned, inbound links are a powerful signal that can improve your search engine ranking. While there are lots of ways to earn good inbound links, directory listings are a great way for local businesses to get started – and it’s especially efficient do so with Yellow Pages PresencePro, a fully-managed solution for building your presence on more than 40 key websites, apps and directories.

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