Attracting backlinks has been one of the most important factors used by search rankings to determine organic rankings. This has led backlinking to be a core part of an SEO strategy adopted by content marketers and SEOs to help their content rank highly.
Backlinks help build domain authority and credibility of your website. If more people are pointing to a page on your site, then surely it must be valuable and useful?
This is correct, however, with Google’s ever-changing algorithms and updates, it is proving that the value of backlinks is gradually decreasing. When Google finds a link pointing at your website, it can choose to do one of 3 things:
- Count it in its ranking algorithm
- Ignore it – or not give it any weight in boosting your rankings
- Penalize you – if it thinks the link is manipulative
In fact, most people would be surprised to learn how many links don’t actually help you to rank, or can actually hurt. To keep Google happy, it’s best to understand Google’s best practice and knowing what types of links to avoid.
Therefore, what is becoming more important, as backlinks take a back seat? In July, we saw a new Google Panda update, around rich, relevant and quality content. This is becoming more and more important meaning it’s crucial that you have a content strategy in place to ensure you’re surfacing new content on your site each week which is adding value for your users.
Google are also starting to look at the user experience. This is crucial for Google to ensure that their customers are receiving a great customer journey and are landing on relevant content. Therefore, factors such as bounce rate, interaction, CTR etc are really important for your SEO.
Nevertheless, backlinks do have a lot of power left in them, however, it is important to look at an overall strategy that includes different approaches to ensure your website is ranking ahead of your competitors. If you want to rank for anything that’s even remotely competitive, the chances of finding a website ranking without external links is very rare.