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What are Backlinks and Does Link Building Still Help Your SEO?

Written by Scott C, May 12, 2017
what are backlinks

What are Backlinks and Does Link Building Still Help Your SEO?

When it comes to how well you rank in a search engines results, there are many criteria which determine your position; two of the main ones are content and backlinks.

Does Link Building Still Work?

Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo, every search engine has its own algorithms designed to return results for any search term. Irrespective of the search engine, they each place the primary importance on being able to produce results that are relevant and authoritative. The former is a case of using information indexed from the text and links on a site to calculate whether content is closely connected to the search term; some search engines do this better than others. More sophisticated than in previous decades, the over-reliance of keywords has been replaced with advanced text analysis to return better results.

backlinks for effective SEO

Link building is an important part of an effective SEO strategy. Image via Pixabay.

A standalone calculation, content can be analysed by a search engine using highly developed software but the flaw is that such an evaluation lacks human sophistication. Crucially, the latter (backlinks) allows search engines to determine whether a site’s content is valuable, trustworthy and respected. The thought process is simple; if another website owner or internet user rates your content highly enough to link to then your site must have something of value.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Backlinks in SEO

From the beginnings of search engine algorithms, backlinks have been valuable for successful SEO, so much so that it wasn’t long before the use of backlinks was being manipulated by many webmasters as a way of boosting their SERP standings. The widespread use of backlink exchange programs was quickly seen as a free market and the trade in backlinks began to skew the results for valuable keywords. As a result, the democracy of search engine results was becoming corrupted.

In an effort to prevent this kind of duplicity, search engines began to use a system of authority to assess where a backlink comes from as well as how often it is actually used. This meant that simply having a dusty backlink in several hundred low-quality directory sites was no longer enough to boost your rankings.

The Penguin update launched by Google in April 2012 also sought to clamp down on backlink exchange programmes and introduced penalties to discourage their use.

Furthermore, most search engines now look at the geography of a backlink to help determine whether it is genuine and relevant. For example, backlinks from foreign language sites linking to a site written in English are also deemed to be of lower quality than their English counterparts.

rise fall of backlinks with effective SEO

Backlinks are an important part of building growth but staying in the rules is important. Image via Pixabay.

Quality over Quantity

The importance of link building (along with great content) is still of prime importance in an effective SEO strategy but it is the quality of your backlinks rather than the quantity that will determine your success. Search engines want to reward trustworthy sites that achieve organic growth with high page rankings and this can be achieved with a well-planned and optimised plan for link building.

However, failure to play by the rules can earn you strict penalties which could negatively impact your website’s traffic.

Talk to Opace

At Opace, we understand the importance of backlinks and how to build an effective campaign to maximise their potential for traffic growth. If you want to know more about how a professional SEO team can boost your link building strategy then contact us today on 0845 017 7661.

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