What Are Backlinks? Should You Pay for Them?

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Today we’re talking with Allyzon from Cast Haste about a word that gets thrown around a lot when we’re talking SEO: backlinks. If you’ve found yourself wondering `What are backlinks?’ this is the episode of Google My Business Problems to bookmark. 

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks go by a lot of different names. Some refer to the process as link building and others refer to it as guest posting. In short, a backlink is any time a website (outside of your own) links back to your website. These backlinks function like ‘votes’ and the more ‘votes’ you get on your website, the more traffic you’re going to see. In some cases, you may even see increases in your keyword rankings. 

Ready to start earning backlinks? Here’s a quick overview of the process:

  1. Find websites that are popular in your niche and have some of the same keywords as you. 
  2. Verify that they have better traffic and domain authority than you. 
  3. Add them to a master list. 
  4. Reach out to them. Ask if they are accepting blog posts. In some cases, publications have their guest posting guidelines readily available.

You’ll find very quickly that many publications are open to guest posts- though some may want to charge you a fee. When working on guest posts, your progress will only move as fast as you do. 

… Should You Pay for Them?

If you check Google’s search quality guidelines, the answer says no. But they’re assuming that you’re paying a bulk service to buy you backlinks you wouldn’t otherwise earn. You’ll quickly find that when it comes to working with high-end publications they’ll charge a fee. This is to compensate the editor for their time spent. As you can imagine, any website with 1 million readers is going to get about 100 inquiries a day for guest posting. 

If you’re going to hire an agency to do link building for you, understand that it’s not a cheap service. More importantly, make sure you understand how they acquire their backlinks. Don’t get conned into paying for backlinks from spammy sites. The best companies will simply take over the outreach process for you, and show you the sites they plan to pitch to ahead of time. 

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