Are Backlinks Becoming Less Valuable? – For any business, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing today. How you optimize your website has a major impact on where it ranks on search engines.
The most popular tactics for SEO are: backlinks, on-page optimization (keyword rich content), and metadata. But let’s not forget that there are other ways to ensure your website is in top shape for search engines.
Google wants to ensure it provides users with the most optimal search experience, which has prompted the search engine to constantly change its ranking metrics. It now includes metrics that take into account whether the website is optimized for mobile, the site’s speed, security, and so on. All to ensure that users get what they are looking for along with the site experience.
Which makes you wonder whether or not popular tactics like backlinks are less valuable than they were before.
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Backlinks occur when one website uses a link to connect to another site within its content. The technique has been a part of SEO for decades now as it provides a “vote of confidence” to search engines that the linked website has reliable and valuable information. The tactic has become a staple in ranking just about any type of content.
In order to understand the value of backlinks, it is important to determine how effective they are in 2019. Backlinko released a list that highlights ranking factors on Google, which gave much importance to backlinks. Stating that search engines still value the number of referring domains for a business when it comes to ranking. It even references a graph that shows a direct correlation between higher business rankings on Google with the number of backlinks a site has.
SEMRush has also published a study that values backlinks; stating that it is the fifth most important factor when it comes to ranking on search engines. This shows that the technique is still valuable if you want to beat your competition and achieve higher rankings.
But there are different factors that determine the effectiveness of your backlinks because not all backlinks are equal. The factors that matter are:
- Quality of referring domain: the more authoritative the referring domain is, the more effective the backlink. If most of your backlinks are from average to low-quality websites, the impact of such backlinks on rankings will be marginal.
- The number of backlinks: this is obvious; more links coming to your website increases the chances of better rankings. Remember to keep the quality of referring domains in mind.
- Anchor tag of the link: when the targeted keyword is used with the backlink, it slightly helps boost the chances of ranking higher for the particular keyword. It isn’t a sure thing, but it does have an impact when it comes to popular keywords.
It doesn’t seem like backlinks will lose their value any time soon; in terms of SEO. Similarly, these age-old tactics still reign supreme as far as value goes.
Relevant, quality content
The more relevance and quality your content has, the higher the chances of better rankings. This is why blogging is one of the most effective ways to impact SEO since blogs are easy to establish and integrate into websites. They also enable businesses to constantly provide users with quality content that is relevant for their audience.
Content that is rich in keywords
Yes, it’s true that Google doesn’t like keyword stuffed content, which is why you need to craft content that skillfully incorporates your target keywords. In 2019, you also need to keep in mind that people aren’t just typing when they search but also using voice commands. With this in mind, remember that you should include slight variations of your keyword.
Some newer factors that your business should consider are:
- Mobile optimization: in 2018, more than 50% of internet traffic was from a mobile device. It makes sense that Google penalizes those websites that are not optimized for mobile devices when it comes to search engine ranking.
- Site speed: how fast your website loads plays a vital role in user experience. You need to ensure that it loads within 3 seconds otherwise it may be considered slow by Google, hurting your chances of ranking higher.
The last word
Think again before taking backlinks out of your digital marketing strategy. The tactic is still highly relevant today as it was a decade ago. Its effectiveness depends mostly on the authority of the site that links back to yours, the number of backlinks you can muster, and probably most importantly now, the relevance of the article and website linking to you. So rather than limiting your backlinking efforts, you should ramp them up. That is if you truly want to rank higher and remain a step ahead of your competition.