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Blog > WordPress vocabulary for beginners: backlinks

WordPress vocabulary for beginners: backlinks

posted on 12:57 PM, July 5, 2017
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WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) in the world, used to power over 70 million websites worldwide [1]. If you aren’t sure why to use WordPress for your website, check out our previous blog post on the topic.

Once you’ve decided to use WordPress, you may find all the new vocabulary a bit daunting. Not to worry! Yes, there are a lot of new words, but the concepts are pretty basic. With practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. Check out Part 1 of our WordPress Vocabulary series here, and subscribe to our RSS Feed so you never miss a future post.

Something really important in website design is backlinks.

So, what is a backlink?

This is a link to your website from another site. For example, if your organization works in partnership with another organization, then that organization could have a link from their website to yours.

The picture below shows some backlinks on the Volunteer Ottawa website, to the websites of people in our Faculty of Instructors. If you visit our Faculty of Instructors page, you’ll see that these images are hyperlinked. The hyperlink is the backlink, not the picture of the logo.

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Why are backlinks valuable?

Backlinks are very valuable, because search engines measure the number of links to a webpage. The more links there are, the better the page will do on search engine rankings. And the value extends beyond just the single link. For example, we have linked to many of our instructors’ web pages through our Faculty of Instructors page (see the picture, above). Hopefully, lots of people think the Volunteer Ottawa education program is valuable, and they provide links on their sites, to the VO Education pages. These links also provide a boost to our instructors’ sites, from these primary backlinks.

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When can backlinks backfire?

Because backlinks are so valuable, some bad practices have cropped up, which search engines are aware of. Examples include buying and selling backlinks, link exchanges (link to my site and I’ll link to yours), or using automated programs to create links to your site.

Google has clear webmaster guidelines which state the penalty your website will receive if you are caught doing this. Basically, you and the other site will be penalized for abusing backlinks. Both sites will appear lower on search engine rankings, or may not appear at all.

Whoa, what do I do now?

The World Wide Web is just that – a web of inter-related websites. We all have a vested interest in making sure that the relationships between websites are healthy and relevant to site visitors. You should absolutely use backlinks if they will be valuable to the people who visit your site.

For example, this article includes a number of backlinks of its own. There are (1) links to other, related blog posts, (2) a link to a Google article on a related topic, and below, (3) a link to a workshop on a related topic. I’ve put in these links to add value to your reading experience. You can click on them or not, depending on your level of interest in this topic and the amount of time you have.

Want to learn more about creating a high-quality website using WordPress? Come to our upcoming workshop.

Click here to register Friday, October 20, 2017. 12:30 to 3:00 p.m.

[1] E. Teralda, "5 reasons why we use WordPress," Fresh, 20 November 2012. [Online]. Available: https://www.freshconsulting.com/5-reasons-why-we-use-wordpress/. [Accessed 7 July 2017].| [2]S. Balkhi, "What is: Backlink," WPbeginner, [Online]. Available: http://www.wpbeginner.com/glossary/backlinks/. [Accessed 7 July 2017].
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