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Backlinks for website exposure

Learn about backlinks and why you may need them

What are Back links and why do I need them for my website search engine ratings?

The name back-link is given to a hyperlink to your website from another website on the internet. A backlink located on a higher rated website than yours brings credibility to your website and can improve its overall ratings, just as linking to a website considered as spam and or offending content could hurt your credibility and so your ratings in the search engines could fall dramatically.
So it goes without saying that the higher rated backlinks you have linking to your website the more popular and higher placed your website will become in the search engines.

The actual rating by the search engines is calculated automatically by complicated algorithms used by search engines like Google and Yahoo and is one of their top kept secrets, so we can't quote on what those algorithms are actually doing behind the scenes here.

Backlinks are also very useful for a faster natural submission to the search engines as opposed to submitting directly to the search engines yourself.
Let me explain more. The search engines search the internet everyday, pick up new contents on WebPages and index them in order of relevance and popularity, plus a number of other parameters not revealed by the big search engines and concealed in their algorithms.
This means that when a search engine finds a link to your site from another website page with relevant content they will normally index it in their directory immidiately, which is a lot faster than submitting the webpage directly to the search engine itself.

How do I know if a website has a high rating in the Search engines?

Google Page Rank (PR)

There a number of ways to find out the rating of another website, but one very easy way is to look at its Google PR or "PageRank". Googles PR is a numeric value from 0 - 10 which is used to represent the importance of a webpage (not necessarily the whole site) on the internet. Page Rank numeric values are categorized where 0 = not rated and 10 = very important. It's no wonder that Googles home page itself has a PR10 along with other very popular pages from other websites on the net, like Microsoft and Adobe.
Page rank can be considered as a voting system, for example when a high PR webpage links from its page to another webpage, we can say it's voting for the pages it's pointing to. There is a small exception and though generally any High PR page will help your webpage it's always much better if the link is coming from a source that's relevant to your contents. This helps assure the search engines return related information on what it users are searching for and thus will weigh more on your own webpage PR.
Also it's important to note that PR value is not static but it goes up and down depending on the popularity of that particular page over time and although a websites Page rank is not the only factor in getting a high rating or placing in the search engines, it must be said that it's a big contributor.

To see a websites pagerank you can easily download and install the Google toolbar into your web browser. You may have to enable the “page rank tool” in the toolbar settings as sometimes it is not automatically shown in the default toolbar.

Alexa Ratings

Another way to see if a website is popular is the Alexa rating. Alexa is owned by the Amazon group and it aims to rank websites by how much traffic they receive. It is the opposite of PR in the sense the smaller the number the more traffic your website receives, so if your Number one there's a good chance your site is receiving more traffic than anybody else is on the internet.

A word of warning, the actual Alexa rating can be a little misleading by the way it gathers its data. Alexa ranks its traffic based on the usage patterns of its Toolbar users and also data collected from other, sources over a rolling 3 month period. A website's rank is based on the combination of reach and page view measurements. The reach is determined by the amount of unique Alexa users who visit a particular website on any given day. The page views are the total number of requests for a website from an Alexa user. However, multiple requests for the same website on the same day from the same user are counted as a single page view. To top it off the website with the highest combination of both users and page views is ranked at Number 1.

You can find more details of this service by visiting the Alexa website at www.alexa.com. At the time of writing this article Yahoo was number 1 followed by Google and then YouTube, not surprising eh?

To sum up Pr from Google will show you the importance of a site and Alexa rating will show you the traffic a site receives. Neither is foolproof but worked together you can get a pretty good idea of the popularity and rating of a website on the internet.