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What the Hell is a Backlink and Why Exactly Do I Care?

The concept of backlinks is one of the toughest challenges for most small business owners to deal with. Here’s what you need to understand….

If you were there in the beginning it would make more sense. I happened to be working at a National Laboratory at the time. We had all been given a terminal linked to our local DEC Microvax and were attempting to figure out how to create something that looked similar to a typed out document on the IBM Selectric, with the aid of some software called Mass11. Strictly a command prompt type of thing, it was truly evil.

One day a Department Manager walked in, just beaming because one of his top notch PhD guys had just found these amazing pictures of some satellites in orbit using something called the internet. Interwhat?? We laugh now, but at the time you almost needed a PhD to find anything on the internet. It was simply a long distance connection to many computers in various parts of the world. There was absolutely now way to find anything!! The best way was to have some one tell you what the ip of a certain page was and you could enter that in the interface, no browsers yet….

Then along comes some smart guy with the idea of a GUI (graphical user interface, i.e. – no command prompts) browser software and soon after the idea of a hyperlink. You could actually put a piece of code in this software which would put some words on a page. When you hovered your cursor over this text with a thing called a mouse and clicked on it, miraculously you ended up looking at another page!!

The rest is history. The exact numbers are tough to get, but estimates are that there are 10’s of billions of web pages out there. Imagine all of those pages with no hyperlinks to get to anything. Now you understand the importance of links to the usefulness of the internet. And that’s why links to your website are so important! These are what we call backlinks. If another webmaster somewhere in the world creates a hyperlink to your site, the search engine gods count this as a vote of confidence. Get a bunch of these and these gods will give you favorable treatment, you may just retire early.

Just to be clear, making a significant impact on your rankings takes a lot of backlinks to your site. It’s a slow and steady process. For ideas on how to be most productive in this effort contact us. We’re good at it & we’d be glad to help.