This week I want to talk about backlinks, and whether you need backlinks in order to rank on Google.
Before we start – here is a brief explanation:
“Backlink”- a link from a page on another website back to a page on your website – in very simplified terms, Google considers a backlink as “a vote of confidence” from another domain.
It is fairly consistent in SEO that business owners learn the basics, find out about backlinks and decide, “We need that!”.
The truth is that in most cases you are actually in one of two places:
1. You just don’t need them at all (your on-page SEO strategy is achieving results) OR
2. You aren’t ready yet for them (either because you have not yet invested in your on-page SEO strategy or you do not have the budget).
That is somewhat contradictory to most of what we hear in the SEO world, which is that backlinks are the currency that makes the world go round.
I want to debunk that myth for you with a story.
A few years ago, we worked with a small practice that had just started and had very few patients. They had just created a website with a homepage, a contact page and an about us. When we first met, they had received only 12 calls total in that past month.
We were set to do SEO with them and had to decide exactly what keywords to go after and where we should start. Instead of taking on 200 keywords- for this small business, we decided to track 21 non-branded keywords.
Now, picking a smaller number of keywords is not usually the tactic most agencies will take when preparing to target keywords.
Our reasoning for doing this was that if we wanted to keep a small number of pages for now – due to the clients wishes to keep costs low – then focusing on a smaller number of keywords would allow for the most results.
It is important to remember that creating relevant content for 200 keywords can be challenging, whereas creating relevant content for 20 keywords – is something anyone can do.
After choosing this small number of keywords we split them across five different pages – four for services and one just explaining general terms. We created the content and posted it all.
Our client thought SEO was going to take them months to reach the first page for some larger keywords (i.e. more competitive search terms).
Well, in one week they had 4 first page keywords and the lowest was mid-way on the third page.
Not bad for five pages.
You can see the rankings here:
In the month after ranking, they received 71 calls from leads. 4 per week to 71 per week after only five pages. An investment of such a negligible cost, changed that business almost overnight.
Though it wasn’t the only thing we did, the on-page work played a big role in this case.
Why Does It Matter?
So why does that story matter exactly? Because on-page SEO is the starting point for ALL businesses.
Only as your campaign matures do you need to ensure your link building is on-point.
And only in more competitive markets is it necessary to many thousands of dollars on the biggest link building campaign.
Although backlinks are still very important, you can receive results that matter, without having to invest heavily in them (you will still need some). All it takes is to commit to your on-page SEO strategy.
Now that is all good and well for me to say that, but the reason backlinks are the thing everyone wants – is because they are easy to understand.
One website building a pathway to another isn’t a complicated idea.
Whereas for on-page SEO, it can be hard to understand properly how to actually make the most of it.
So here are the three key areas for on-page SEO that small businesses should be focusing on as well as the link to articles written by our parent company, for all three:
1. Your Meta Title
2. Header Tags
3. Alt-Text For Your Images
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.