Backlinks are vital to the success of your website or blog. A backlink is when another website, directory, forum post, blog, or other internet entity links to your site. The more backlinks you have, then the more traffic you will get. Backlinks are one of the top ways that search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, determine the credibility and value of your site. They figure that if other websites, blogs, etc... are linking to your website or blog, then they must find some value in your content - so they drive more traffic to you. If your traffic is not where you would like it to be then you probably do not have a lot of quality backlinks pointing to your site.

Note: To figure out how many backlinks you have pointing to your site, go to <a href="">Backlink Watch</a> and type in your website address.

Here are seven surefire ways on how to get backlinks to your site:

Submit to Free Directories
Directories are an archaic way of searching for websites, but search engines still value their backlink because most websites must be approved by a human editor before being accepted. The human editing factor makes a backlink from a directory valuable. is one of the major (free) directories on the web -- although getting into the directory can take some time. Start making it a point to submit your website into the appropriate catagory of multiple directories a few times a week. Because directories have human editors, it will take anywhere from 2-4 months to be accepted. So submit it and forget it. In a few months you may be happy to see that you've been accepted into a directory or many directories, but it is nothing to lose sleep over if you don't get into all of them. It's just an easy way to get a quality backlink that you should utilize. There are also directories that you can pay for that will review your site in as early as 24-72 hours after submission, but that does not guarantee that your website will be approved, it just means that the editors will review your site before others.

Get Active in Complementary Blogs
If you are not already following complementary blogs, then you should start. Follow blogs and begin to make relevant comments to interesting posts. When making a comment on a blog, do not forget to include your website address. If your comment is relevant and insightful, then you will likely have readers of that blog clicking on your comment to bring them to your site. This adds crediblity to your site twofold: giving you a backlink and also giving you traffic. Becoming a regular commentor on a few blogs will also grab the attention of other regular readers and hopefully get them interested in your website as well.

Use Google Alerts
Google Alerts is another wonderful (and free) tool that you can use to keep abreast with current events related to your website or blog. Create some Google Alerts with keywords relevant to your website or blog. Google will then send you an email regarding recent mentions of that keyword in websites, articles, blogs, etc..., now you have a fresh batch of resources. Make comments and start following even more blogs. Make comments on recent posts. Aside from giving you great resources for backlinks, Google Alerts may also give you some great ideas for your own blog posts or ideas for new content on your site.

Get Active in Niche Forums
Nearly every industry out there has an active forum, it's your job to find one related to your niche and get busy. Forums are a great way to display your knowledge and help others and it's another surefire method on how to get backlinks almost immediately. Make sure that your website address is in the signature of each of the posts and replies that you make in the forums -- this is key in getting your backlinks from forums. The more active you are in the forums, then the more others will view you as an expert in your niche - this will drive them to visit your website, possibly bookmark it or become a regular reader.

Submit Articles to Article Directories
Submitting original articles to article directories are a great way to get a highly valuable backlink to your site. and are two leading article directories that the search engines love. Create a 400-700 word article that is related to your niche and submit. Your article must be read and reviewed by an editor before being published, which is one of the reasons why the search engines value these types of directories so much -- the human editor nearly guarantees that there is no fishy business. Aside from getting a backlink from the article directory, and traffic from readers, most article directories allow others to re-publish your articles (granted they keep the links in tact). A republished article gives you yet another great backlink and even more traffic. Just don't forget to add a link to your website or blog in the appropriate places in your article.

Add Social Bookmarking Tools
Social bookmarking is a great passive way to get more backlinks. Social bookmarking allows readers to keep tabs on what's new on your website or blog. It is also a way for reader to share your site with others. This works in a way like viral marketing with other linking and forwarding your site others and so on. There are lots of social bookmarking widgets to choose from, for example, <a href="">Add to Any</a> is a great social bookmarking tool generator that makes it easy to create and customize your own buttons for your readers.

Exchange Links with Relevant and Popular Sites
If you are following different sites, then you may be familiar with some that provide great and interesting content. If you find a website that could really interest your own readers and you also feel that readers of that other website may be interested in your content, then you should consider asking the webmaster of the other site to exchange links with you. Write a friendly note explaining how you think a link exchange would be benefit both of you and send it off. Do not get discouraged if you do not hear back, likely the webmasters are busy doing the same thing you're doing: trying to get more traffic. If they do not respond, then they have missed out on a golden opportunity. Find another relevant website and send another friendly email. Eventually you will find a great website to exchange links with you and this will definitely give you a great backlink.

While these are great ways on how to get backlinks to your website or blog, one of the keys to any business online (or off-line) is patience. Backlink building is an ongoing process and it is unlikely that you will see a jump in traffic overnight, but with time and diligent backlink building you will see an increase in traffic.