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Is Link Building Dead? Or should it be part of my SEO strategy?

Is link building dead? What is it and should it be part of my SEO strategy?

The relevance of link building is a much-debated topic online with many SEOs and marketers weighing in with their opinions. However, it’s pretty clear that building quality links to your website is still integral to your search strategy. The important thing to distinguish is what type of link building is being discussed.

Link building refers to various SEO practices of getting links to your website from third-party domains. These vary from buying backlinks to getting them naturally and asking for them from different websites online.

To be clear, link-building practices intended to trick or bypass search engine algorithms are well and truly dead. One of which is the process of buying backlinks. While purchasing backlinks and other “blackhat SEO” tactics may have worked in the past, that is no longer the case. Recent Google algorithm updates ensure dodgy link-building practices and other blackhat tactics are easily identified and penalised, thus impacting offending sites search visibility.

However, quality backlinks to your website have always been one of the most important rank factors for websites, and they still are. QUALITY is the key here and quality backlinks are good for SEO.

What is link building?

Link building is the process of getting other websites to add links (known as backlinks) on their pages to your website content.  By building backlinks to your website, you build credibility as well as new pathways to your site. This helps SEO efforts as it signals to Google that your website is worth linking to and, as such, worth listing high in search rankings.

Link building is still one of the most important ranking factors for search

You want a website that is worth linking to right?   As such, you want content that answers your target audiences’ questions, solves their problems, and, therefore is optimised for search queries.  

The best content normally wins in the case of generating genuine meaningful backlinks.

It is for this very reason that Google will rank your website higher in search results if you have a lot of backlinks to your website.  Backlinks work like votes for your website and its content.

There is, in fact, a direct correlation between websites that have quality backlinks to their site from other domains with good domain authority. 

organic search results by average linking domains

Source:  ahrefs.com Blog “How to Find Backlinks (that you can replicate)”, written by Joshua Hardwick, Updated: 9 October 2020.  Accessed 25 September 2021.  URL “https://ahrefs.com/blog/find-backlinks/

 If you have quality link building practice in place as part of your broader content planning and SEO strategy, you will rank higher in search engine results.

How linkbuilding strategies have changed

In the past websites would build links in several ways that were designed to trick search engines into ranking pages higher in search.  This included building links. Often the links would come from spam websites, or from very poor or thin content, that lacked relevance to the page it was linking . Often these sites and content were created purely for the purpose of selling said backlinks. Google refers to these types of backlinks as “unnatural links”.

Blackhat SEO tactics like this will hurt your search engine rankings.

Google aims to deliver the most relevant content to search queries (which use search terms and keywords) that will enhance the user experience.   This means removing spammy websites from search engine results.  Two recent Google core updates –  Panda & Penguin – target spam websites that have poor or thin content and/or those that have unnatural links to do exactly that.   

If Google detects spam websites linking to your site or unnatural links, it may issue you with a “manual action”. Manual actions will stop your website from being served in Google search results.   

However, when backlinks are content-based, relevant and from websites that have good domain authority (aren’t toxic or spammy), Google ranks the page higher in search results. 

See Google’s information regarding “manual actions” and test your site to see if it has any manual actions in your search console.

How does link building get better organic search rankings?

1. Backlinks give your website more exposure to Google crawlers.

Google only knows about a page and what content is on the page if the page has been “crawled”.  When Google crawls a page it determines where the page should be ranked in search queries based on the information on the page. 

Google crawlers find a page to crawl when a website owner submits the page (via their sitemap) to be crawled and indexed or if Google follows a link from an already known page to the new page.

Google relies on links from known sites to find pages on your website as well as to develop an understanding of what each page is about.  This in turn helps Google decide where to rank your website in search engine results pages (SERPS) for various queries.

Once Google discovers your page, it can then start to understand what your page is about.   That is, it can analyse the content and media included on the page, get an idea about the intentions of the page and its relevance to different search queries.  Google will then store the information it collected in their database, Google’s index.  Google then serves your website page to users for relevant search queries.

Therefore, the more quality links you have to your website, the better your search rankings.

2. Backlinks build credibility and domain authority

Backlinks to your website tell Google that you have content that is worth linking to.  It tells search algorithms that your content is unique and adds value to readers online.  Backlinks give your website and content authoritative strength. 

Google aims to provide users with timely and relevant content based on their search queries.  Your site ‘authority’ – how many backlinks from good reputable sites you have – indicates how well your website will rank in search results.   As such, backlinks can help get higher rankings in search results.

The key to remember here is that good backlinks to relevant content from reputable websites are what you are aiming for. Google can tell if it’s a toxic site linking to your website, indicating blackhat SEO tactics as mentioned above. 

3. Backlinks get your website out across the internet to be seen by more people

Link building is a great way to get your website in front of more users’ eyes.  It gets your website out there, far and wide across the internet and, in turn, should increase your website traffic.

The purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to your website.  But traffic to your website can also improve your search rankings, in turn, helping your SEO efforts.

So how do I generate quality backlinks?

The key here that we’ve mentioned several times is QUALITY backlinks help your website rankings. 

‘Earned’ links that are ‘do follow’ likes are invaluable to your SEO.

Earned links are links to content where you didn’t have to ask for the link. Rather, another blog owner or content publishes finds your content and links to it because of its quality and relevance. For example, if your content is used as an information source, or someone loves your products or business and so wants to tell people about it. 

But don’t wait around for your content to be found and linked online. You could be waiting some time. You will also be missing the additional website traffic that comes with good backlinks as you wait. 

Instead, implement link-building strategies and tactics to build more backlinks to your website sooner. But try these more acceptable tactics rather than buying links.

  • Share your content via social media to increase exposure. Read more about how Social Media helps SEO. Social media is a great way to get your content infront of more people online. This in turn increases your changes of getting backlinks.
  • Backlink outreach. Find blogs and websites with content that is relevant to yours or where yours can add value. Reach out to the website owners and suggest backlinks to your site wherever relevant. The key is to demonstrate how your content adds value to their content by improving understanding about the topic being discussed.
  • Post to guest blogs. Guest blogs often allow a backlink from the authors bio. Become a guest blogger and post original articles on sites relevant to your business.
  • Conduct a unique research project or survey and share the results. Survey results provide insight as well as credibility to content. This makes published results appealing to mention and link to.
  • Look for mentions about your business online. If there is no link to your website, request the website manage add one.

Why Found Online for SEO Services Sydney?

SEO is not an overnight process.  It requires a strategic approach to all the things a business does online. When done properly, this online activity should ultimately improve the website’s search rankings and traffic. 

Found Online can help you generate quality backlinks with our content marketing and backlink generation services.

Found Online are SEO experts and holistic SEO service providers. Our expertise covers on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO capabilities. This includes an in-house, Sydney-based team of content writers, website developers, and SEO experts.

If you want to see your website ranked higher in search engine results, give us a call at Found Online Sydney on 02 7906 8405 or email us at info@foundonline.com.au.  You can also send us an email inquiry via our website contact form.