What are backlinks and what is their importance?

For the benefit of those new to blogging and building a website that attracts a lot of search engine traffic, after explaining pagerank and its importance in search engine strategy, this time I will explain what back links are, or the importance of them.  It is not so much the quantity of your back links when it comes to page rank as it is the quality of these back links. By quality back links I mean links from sites that talk about the same things you do and have a good page rank and are respected by search engines for their traffic, content and popularity. There are several ways to gain quality back links. One is by making sure your content is helpful in your chosen field. You will discover that by continuously providing quality content, back links will show up from respected sites naturally, because quality begats quality and your information WILL be found. This is the best kind of back link in my opinion, because it came to you organically, honestly, simply by doing a good job, thus the link counts for a lot. For example, I discovered that you can actually move up in page rank if you have one high page rank back link as opposed to many links from low ranking sites. Alexa, which is another barometer of your site’s popularity and one that affects the rating of paid to post bloggers, has a free tool bar you can download which will show you the page rank of each site you visit. This shows up as a very non-intrusive box at the bottom of the screen and one I have come to totally rely on in helping me to build both my page rank and my Alexa score, (the later which is done automatically just by having the tool bar installed, by the way.)

OTHER WAYS TO OBTAIN QUALITY BACK LINKS:  You can gain quality links aggressively without simply depending on your content, although, as they say, content is king. One of these ways is by becoming a member of forums in your chosen field with your signature in your posts and be a helpful, knowledgeable participant. Another way is to make thoughtful comments on blogs in your field that have a high page rank. You can also gain quality back links by reviewing sites with high page rank, linking to them in your post and hoping that when they see your link they will reciprocate. Of course, you can ask to trade links, but personally I feel better when I get a back links without asking. I feel like I have earned it. You don’t have to buy back links, although I see plenty of this going on and I suppose it works and is another option, but one that is not necessary and actually doesn’t buy you the strong back links you really want, those you worked for. The main thing to remember is that it is the quality of the back links, not the quantity that affects your page rank in a positive way.  Though building quality and natural back links and thus page rank takes time, if you are passionate and hardworking, they will come to you.