Indexing backlinks is an important step for the success of your digital marketing strategy, which drives more traffic to your site and improves its credibility among your target market. With the sudden rise in online businesses, one would want their backlinks indexed quickly. This blog post will explain all the essentials of faster backlink indexing.
What is a backlink?
Backlink, also known as an inbound link or an incoming link, is a hyperlink that redirects a reader from another website to yours. Backlink is a crucial aspect of your SEO(Search Engine Optimization) strategy because Google uses it as a parameter for ranking your page in search results depending on how relevant your site’s content is to the search queries of your niche.
Acquiring backlinks on reputed sites of your niche makes your page rank higher on the search engine results page.
What exactly is backlink indexing?
Google uses crawler bots to search for images, text, and video from sites on the internet through a process called crawling. When the crawler bots find a backlink, they scan the page that the link leads to and add it to Google’s index, which is a large database of information.
For example, if you own a digital marketing firm, your backlinks should not be on a pet store’s site with no relevance, instead, could be on Ahrefs since it has a high domain authority and is relevant to your niche.
Ways to ensure faster backlink indexing
1. Carefully consider the relevance of the site:
A relevant site with a higher domain authority will likely fetch your site higher referral traffic and as a result, your backlink gets indexed faster. For example, as the owner of a digital marketing agency, you should be acquiring your link on Semrush, instead of a furniture store’s site
2. Appropriate placement of backlinks:
Backlinks should be placed on easily discoverable pages of a site. Backlinks placed in easily discoverable areas receive more clicks which translates to increased organic traffic and conversion rates, This will increase the votes of confidence your site gets. Search Engines assign higher authority to the pages with more votes of confidence. For example, The backlinks should usually be placed after the introduction of the post in the main body of text.
However, the placement of the backlinks depends more on the relevance of the topic being explained. For example, if a point is being explained just before the conclusion requires a backlink, then it is to be placed there even though it is at the end of the post.
3. Google Search Console :
If you have control over the site with the backlinks or know the site owner who placed the link, then you can submit the page’s URL having the backlink to the console’s URL inspection tool to get that page indexed faster.
Follow these steps to use the URL inspection tool:
- Open Google Console for the site you have control over.
- Insert the URL of the page having your backlinks into the URL inspection field.
- Press the enter button to submit the URL for inspection.
- Click the ‘request indexing’ button to tell Google to recrawl the page to find your backlink.
4. Using RSS(Really Simple Syndication) Feed:
The RSS feed of your site keeps subscribers and search engines updated with the latest content. All of this works based on an ‘aggregator’ that regularly goes through your site for the latest content and then shows it to your subscribers on their feed, i.e. web syndication. Google crawls the RSS feed quite thoroughly. Having the backlink shared on RSS Feed’s directories can speed up the indexing of your desired page
5. Using Social Media:
Social media statistics show that nearly 5 billion users use social media globally, which is 61.4 % of the world’s population. Social Media is a powerful tool to share links to your latest blog posts, articles, press releases, and other content. When users share your content on social media, it attracts more visitors who may link to your content if they find it valuable.
To the credit of a partnership between Twitter and Google, your tweets will now be indexed in real-time by Google. You can improve your chances of your tweets containing the backlink URL being indexed by ensuring as much engagement as possible. This is because Google prefers tweets with higher engagement for indexing. You can also use other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
6. Appropriate usage of anchor text:
The clickable word to which a link is attached is the anchor text. It is an important factor affecting backlink indexing because search engines use it to know what content that link leads to. The anchor texts used should be descriptive and relevant.
For example: Use the Branding Marketing Agency’s Schema Markup guide to strengthen your SEO strategy.
The anchor text above leads the readers to a blog post titled ‘Ultimate Guide To Schema Markup for SEO’. Hence, the anchor text is relevant and descriptive. The same anchor text should not be used multiple times. Google may penalize your site for doing that. Hence, you must diversify your anchor texts.
7. The Skyscraper Technique:
When using ‘The Skyscraper Technique’, you search for keywords of your niche and find sites that highly rank with them. You then create an improved version of that content, and then request the sites that link to the original content to link to your content.
Example: A site has a post titled ‘ 20 Landing page ideas that work’. You find some gaps in that post like the lack of price comparisons and reviews. You then rework the same content and request sites linking to the original post to link to your content since it is an improved version of the previous content
The Skyscraper technique can help you acquire backlinks and referral traffic. Some benefits of the skyscraper technique are:
- It encourages you to improve your content
- Is easily scalable owing to its cost efficiency and replicability
- Helps you acquire backlinks on pages with high authority
- Creating improved content than your competitors improves your brand’s reputation among the readers and in your niche or industry.
8. User-Generated Content(UGC):
Marketing research shows that 60% of consumers consider UGC as the most authentic source of marketing User-generated content includes testimonials, images, text, and videos created by users rather than a company. UGC can come from customers, brand loyalists, sponsored content creators, and employees. It is an important factor in a consumer’s journey.
50% of millennials are more likely to buy products and services when suggested by their family and peers.
When users review or post content about your product or service along with your site’s link, your site receives a vote of confidence from them. This increases the viability and the potential of your site or page’s URL to be used as a backlink.
For example, Airbnb encourages its users to share their experiences. As a result, Airbnb has acquired backlinks on many travel app.
Types of user-generated content are:
- Blog Posts and comments
- Social Media posts/comments
- Testimonials and product reviews
- Video streaming (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
9. Pinging tools:
You can use the pinging tool to notify search engines about the latest updates on your site. When you ping a search engine, you tell it to crawl your latest content, which could be possibly indexed.
Some examples of pinging tools are PrepostSEO, ManageEngine, and SmallSEO tools.
How to check if your backlinks are indexed?
⇒ Using Google’s ‘site:’ operator
In Google’s search bar, enter ‘site:’ followed by the link of the page that contains your backlinks. If the page with your backlinks is visible in the search results, then your backlinks would be easily accessible from that page.
However, it is to be noted that the ‘site:’ operator does not provide an exhaustive list of URLs for any given search. Therefore, it is not always reliable.
⇒ Using Google Search Console
You can use Google Search Console’s index coverage section to check the indexing status of your pages. They are described by the following statuses
URLs that haven’t been indexed due to 404 errors.
URLs that have been indexed.
• Valid with warning:
URLs have been successfully indexed but with some minor errors that need rectification
This status includes URLs that have not been indexed due to the following reasons:
→ Blocked by robots.txt:
This file, which is located in the root directory of a site, instructs crawl bots what pages they should crawl and what pages they should not. The ‘disallow directive in the robot.txt informs the crawler bots to ignore certain pages of a site. This usually prevents the ignored pages from being indexed. Having an empty robots.txt file allows the whole site to be crawled.
→ Noindex metatag:
A noindex meta tag in HTML informs crawlers to exclude certain pages of a site from being indexed. However, the links on a page with a noindex meta tag will still get crawled and followed given those links have a ‘dofollow’ attribute. On the other hand, a ‘nofollow’ backlink will tell the crawler to not follow the link.
Canonicalization is the process of informing search engines that a given URL is the preferred or the master copy of a page out of the set of duplicate pages, i.e. pages with the same content having a similar URL and many pages having similar content.
Why do duplicate pages exist?
- The same site may have different URLs owing to geographical differences. For example, Yahoo.co.in and Yahoo.co.uk
- Differences in site protocols such as HTTPS and HTTP versions of a site.
- A difference in the mobile and the desktop versions of a site.
- The demo version of a site accidentally allowed itself to be crawled.
To specify a page as canonical, the tag ‘rel=canonical’ is inserted in the head section of the HTML element of a webpage.
Canonicalization is quite important because it controls your duplicate content. Without canonicalization, the search engines may have to crawl through many URLs with duplicate content during which it may miss out on your important content. This affects the ranking ability of your pages. Even if they do, the wrong URL may be considered as the master copy.
⇒ Using Backlink Tools:
There are numerous tools available to check if the pages with your backlinks have been indexed. E.g- Ahrefs, Semrush and Moz.
To do the same in Ahrefs:
- Head to the “Site Explorer” tab
- Type the URL of the page containing your backlink.
- Check the backlinks section for the list of URLs hosting your backlink
- If the indexed column mentions ‘Yes’, then the page with the backlink is indexed
Types of backlink strategies to avoid
➥ Buying links:
No matter how attractive the prospect of online growth might sound, buying backlinks is never a good idea. Google loves organic growth and considers paying for links spam.
➥ Excessive Link Swaps:
Link Swaps involve two site owners agreeing to share their backlinks on each other’s site. Though they aren’t inherently wrong, excessive link swaps are penalized by Google.
➥ Site-wide links:
The links used on every page are called site-wide links. They are usually embedded on the headers or footers of a page and are often considered spam by Google.
➥ Private Blog Networks:
Private Blog Networks are a group of sites that are linked together to manipulate search engine rankings. These sites exist solely for linking each other to make it look like they have organically earned links. PBNs work well if not detected by Google. However, such manipulative techniques are not advisable as they are against Google’s guidelines, and will result in your site getting penalized.
➥ Hidden Links:
These are the links that aren’t easily visible to users on a website and are used to lead users to a page without their knowledge. Such links are prohibited by Google’s spam policies. Some examples of Hidden links are:
- Hiding hyperlinks behind an image
- Using CSS(Cascade Style Sheets) to position text off-screen to keep it hidden from a reader while keeping it discoverable to crawler bots.
- Hiding a link using small characters such as a hyphen.
- Setting the font size or opacity to zero
This is a manipulative technique that involves showing different content to the users and the search engines to manipulate search engines or deceive users. For example, showing a page of beverage recipes to search engines, but showing gambling-related content to users.
➥ Hacked Content:
This involves placing content on a site by exploiting its vulnerabilities. Hacking often exposes the visitors of the site to a lot of malicious links. For example:
• Content/link injection:
Hackers might add links to the pages of a site that are invisible to the users but could be detected by search engines using CSS and HTML techniques. E.g.- hidden links.
When hackers include malicious codes into a website, users are often redirected to malicious or spammy sites. E.g- Clicking a search result might redirect users to a spammy page, while they go to the original page when visiting that page by manually entering the URL
With more businesses moving online, you need to acquire a good grip on backlink indexing. Getting a backlink indexed fast is one crucial step for your business. Through the help of search engines, it lets the target audience know the worth of your business. There is no one-size-fits-all method of backlink indexing. You must experiment with various methods until you find the one that suits your business best.