What are Backlinks and How to Get Them to Your Photography Website
Seeing as you’re a loyal reader of the Wix Photography Blog, we assume that by now you know a thing or two about SEO. However, if you’ve been hiding under a rock, Search Engine Optimization simply refers to those actions that you undertake in order for your photography website to appear in a better position on Google’s search results. Why would you need that? Well, the more people see your pages in the results, the more they’ll click through, browse your stunning photography portfolio and hopefully book your services. In other words: your position on search results can actually impact your earnings. Mind. Blown.
So how does one get to SEO Nirvana, i.e. page one of Google? There are several methods that you can employ, many of which we’ve discussed in this riveting SEO guide for photographers. However, in this article we’d like to focus on one method in particular that has the ability to skyrocket your ranking: backlinks. Not only are they a powerful signal to Google, but the additional traffic that your site will enjoy will for sure boost your SEO. It’s almost like seeing a double SEO rainbow! So stay tuned, as we’re covering everything from what backlinks are, to how to get good ones to your site and more. Here we go: backlinks back, alright!
What are backlinks?
Backlinks (also known as incoming links, inbound links, and inward links) are in simple terms, hyperlinks pointing from an external site to your own. This means that when website A (sitenameone.com) adds a link to website B (sitenametwo.com), website B gets a backlink. This is not to be confused with ‘internal links,’ which is when website A links to another page within website A.
As opposed to on-page SEO signals – such as your SEO titles and descriptions, or your textual content (which actually appears and can be changed on your own website) – backlinks are a part of your off-page SEO. These are components that happen outside of a website. This (usually) means that technically you have no control over the amount of backlinks you obtain or where they are coming from – all the more challenging for you to acquire. Don’t worry though, as we are here to share that exact wisdom with you (if you keep on reading that is).
Why they are important?
Once upon a time, in a decade far far away (basically the 90’s), backlinks were the single most important factor as to whether or not a website would appear in a top spot on the search results. They were seen as ‘votes of confidence,’ from those who used them, to the websites they deemed useful or relevant within their content. It was simple: the more backlinks you had, the better your position was.
It’s known that there are over 200 different signals that make up Google’s algorithm for ranking websites. Yet, backlinks remain one of the most significant ingredients to having a good chance of appearing on page one of the results. Aside from this, there are many crucial factors in SEO, that combined with inbound links, will improve your overall chances of climbing up Google’s ladder to traffic heaven. Your site’s content and the value it brings to users is, of course, central when it comes to ranking higher. In turn, this is also something that is highly correlated to whether or not your site gets a mention, social share or dare we say it: a link.
What are good backlinks?
Indeed, not all backlinks are created equal. There are certain factors that impact the ‘effectiveness’ of a link in boosting a site’s SEO.
Relevance: As search engines are becoming increasingly aware of the context of content, linking to a site that is completely irrelevant to yours is not a great practice. Looking back at the history of the search engine algorithm (picture mayhem, or a scene from Westworld), the linking schemes that were used by some sites to acquire links we’re less good – and more bad and ugly. This is exactly why algorithm updates were put into place to fight this behavior. The focus turned to the quality of the link, rather than the amount. For example, if you’re a photographer, and suddenly a link appears on your site to a blog about kitchen appliances – it may look slightly strange in the eyes of Google. And the consequences can harm your site’s SEO. So remember, when entering the linking game, you need to make sure that you’re following the correct guidelines. You can find them here.
Authority: Another component to whether a link is considered to be ‘good’ is the source from which it comes. In the world of SEO, all sites have a ‘score’ which is often referred to as ‘domain authority’ or DA. The metric, developed by Moz, gives a notion of the quality, age of the domain, popularity, and trust rank. And the higher the score (out of 100) the better, especially when it comes to backlinks. You see, when you get a backlink from a highly authoritative site, this will positively impact your SEO. You can check a website’s DA by adding the Mozbar Chrome extension or just keep this key rule in mind: when acquiring links from others, always make sure that the sites are quality ones, that provide useful and informative information to their visitors.
Number: Yes, we did mention before that quality beats quantity in the realm of backlinks. However, the number of links you can obtain is also factored into the ranking algorithm. Especially when you get linked to from more than one domain (i.e. sitename.com). This shows Google that a diverse range of sites are giving you their ‘approval’ and believe your site is credible and provides quality to readers.
Now that we’ve established what a good backlink is, let’s delve into the different ways one can get some of those, shall we?
How to get backlinks
So remember how we said that you don’t necessarily have control over the backlinks you get? Well, we’re going to let you in on some proactive ways for getting links to your site, without standing on your hands and knees.
Sign up to online directories
Online directories are sort of like new-age phone books. They are essentially places on the Internet where you can add your contact info, including your website. And once you do, you’ve got yourself a link to your site from an external site. Indeed, it’s that easy! And in most cases it comes at zero cost. The most popular online directories include Google My Business (which is great for upping your local SEO game), Yelp, and Foursquare – but, there are a plethora of sites you can sign up to. We’ve compiled this handy list of free places to promote your website. Easy wins for the taking!
Reach out to peers
What’s the best way to get someone to link to your website? Just ask. In today’s day and age, bloggers, online magazines and more can seriously amplify any type of content with just a mention in their blog or a Facebook post. This is why outreach marketing is another great mechanism for getting your website ‘out there’ and in return getting some links. Luckily for you, we’ve got this great guide on exactly how to reach out to peers and others in your sphere.
Reclaim your own links
You may not be aware, but people online may be referring to your services or to your work without you even knowing it. Your name might have been mentioned on a wedding provider review site, or someone may have even saw a photo of yours and decided to share it online. This is why link reclamation is just another easy win in order to get links and traffic to your site. This just means that you’re going to request from those that are mentioning you already to add a link to your photography portfolio. How to go about it? Start by finding all the places on the Internet where you are mentioned. You can use tools like Google Alerts (free), SEMrush (freemium) or Mention (paid) to monitor your brand’s mentions. Then, use outreach marketing tactics to get in touch and claim your link to fame!
Collaborate with vendors
As a photographer, you tend to work with a lot of vendors in different fields of practice. For example, a wedding photographer may have connections with an event planner or a videographer. In this case, it might make sense to collaborate in the online world. Perhaps they’d like to add your photography portfolio as a list of partners on their site? Just make sure that you are following the correct guidelines and you’re good to go.
Get reviewed by clients
Another great way for obtaining links is by using the services of your very own clients. When you think about it, they could already be sharing photos from an event taken by, oh… You! This is a great occasion for a backlink, don’t you think? So whether it’s a company event, a food photography session, or a private party your customers, you can and should always give the photographer the credit (and link) they deserve.
Check out your competition
By understanding what kind of links your competitors are getting, you can actually find really good places to get linked from. Seeking these opportunities for new links may seem like a difficult task, but it’s actually pretty simple when you use the right tools. For this, have a look at Moz’s free Link Explorer tool. All you need to do is enter your online portfolio link and check your inbound links. Here you can also check a site’s domain authority, so you can double check if the site you want to reach out is actually worth it.
Share on social media
Although social media isn’t seen as a strong signal SEO-wise (and those links are not referred to as backlinks) the additional site visitors can have a positive impact on your ranking. Therefore, we recommend that you share every piece of work on your social media channels. Not only will the added traffic from your own pages benefit your portfolio, but your photos can be seen by others who can share them and amplify your content. Perhaps a person that has seen your photos on social media could even share them on their own blogs. The possibilities are endless! If you’re not an Insta superstar just yet, don’t sweat, we’ve got this social media for photographers guide that can come in handy.
By Ruth Eschenheimer
SEO Content Specialist for Wix Blogs