Because the way that websites are ranked by search engines is constantly evolving, it’s inevitable that certain SEO strategies become irrelevant and are replaced by new strategies over time.
This can be frustrating because it means that if you have a blog or website for a number of years, you’ll probably have to keep revisiting the way you strategize in terms of SEO.
One well-known method of ranking highly on search engines is backlinks. Backlinks are links that lead from one website to another.
If you link from your site to another domain, it’s called an external link, and when another domain links to yours, it’s called a backlink.
Backlinks were once hailed as one of the most effective ways to boost your domain’s SEO, but recently, more and more experts are questioning the relevancy of this strategy.
Read on to find out whether backlinks are still relevant for SEO in 2022, and what the answer means for the way you should be optimizing your content.
Why Backlinks Are Important?
First of all, let’s start by dispelling a myth that has been circulating recently.
Despite what you may have heard, backlinks are by no means completely irrelevant; in fact, receiving or not receiving backlinks to your site remains a major factor in whether or not your domain makes it to the first page of Google’s search results for relevant keywords.
The kinds of backlinks you should be seeking have changed along with Google’s algorithm, but more on that in a moment.
The reason backlinks continue to be an important component of SEO strategy is that they are a positive indication of your site’s authority.
When another domain links to your site, it’s basically considered a ‘vote of confidence’.
The other domain is telling its readers that yours is a site to be trusted.
And it’s not just readers of sites that are backlinking to yours that will be convinced of your domain’s authority.
Backlinks are also (to an extent) a way of indicating to Google’s algorithm that your site is considered by other domains to be relevant.
If, for example, you manage to get a backlink from one of the top sites that come up for the search term ‘best oat flour substitutes,’ your domain is likely to rank higher for this combination of keywords as well.
So, in short, not only are backlinks a good way to indicate to search engine algorithms that your content is relevant, but your domain will also appear more authoritative to the readers of the sites linking out to yours.
Backlinking Strategy: What To Bear In Mind?
While the idea that backlinks are now totally irrelevant is inaccurate, it’s also wise not to overstate the importance of backlinking as an individual strategy.
You Need High-Quality Links
First of all, the idea that you can put out low-quality content that isn’t optimized and make it to the first page of a search engine’s results is not something you should buy into.
SEO experts always recommend that those domains seeking to include external links should only choose high-authority sites that produce high-quality content.
Therefore, if your own site doesn’t meet these expectations, you’re unlikely to be chosen by other sites who do.
This will significantly decrease your chances of risking through the ranks using backlinks.
Basically, although backlinks are no doubt an important part of SEO, you shouldn’t treat it as the only deciding factor in whether your domain is successful with search engines.
SEO is made up of many different factors, and backlinks are just one of these.
The most important part of optimizing your content for search engines is making sure that the content is as good as you can make it, which means quality writing and attention to relevance.
Backlinks Are Not the Most Important Thing
Something else you should bear in mind is that it’s possible to reach the top page of Google without any backlinks whatsoever.
On the other hand, your chances of getting to the top of search results through the power of backlinks alone are extremely slim.
For instance, even if your page somehow manages to get several backlinks despite low-quality content, Google’s algorithm (which has evolved over the years) is highly unlikely to rank your site highly.
Although backlinks are a part of SEO, it can be helpful to think about backlinks as separate to the rest of your SEO strategy.
What we mean by this is that the success you will achieve through backlinking is largely dependent on the effectiveness of the other strategies you have implemented, such as keyword optimization and consistent uploading.
Once you have mastered these, acquiring backlinks will be a cherry on top of the cake.
Diversify Your Backlinks
Our final point for this section is that in order to get to the top of search engine results using backlinks, you’ll need something called backlink diversity.
This basically just means getting backlinks from a variety of sources rather than sticking to just one site.
You might be thinking that acquiring a lot of high-quality backlinks from a variety of domains seems like a difficult task, and that’s because it is.
However, the importance of diversification when it comes to backlinks makes sense if you think about each backlink as a vote for the quality and authority of your site.
Getting lots of backlinks from one site is great, but again, when you think of backlinks as votes, you realize that this doesn’t actually mean very much.
Even if the site in question is very reputable and high-quality, all your backlinks being from that site is the equivalent of having the same person (albeit a respected person) vote for you over and over again at a talent show – it doesn’t say very much about the general consensus regarding your domain, and it might even look like the other domain has some kind of bias in favor of yours.
As a result, some research has suggested (although it’s difficult to prove definitively) that there may be diminishing returns for domains that get all of their backlinks from just one website.
While this obviously doesn’t mean that you should turn down more than one backlink from a single site (getting several backlinks from any authority site can’t be a bad thing, and it’s better than getting diverse backlinks from many low-quality sites), it does mean that you should set your sights on getting relevant backlinks from as many high-quality sites as you can.
If you’ve heard that backlinks are no longer relevant when it comes to SEO strategy, the good news is that you don’t have to change the way you strategize completely.
Backlinks are still a relevant and beneficial aspect of SEO.
However, it is important to bear in mind that backlinks are not the only, or even the most important thing when it comes to optimizing your online content.
You can rise through the ranks of Google’s search results without a single backlink if your content is good enough, but all the backlinks in the world (especially if they’re low-quality or all from the same domain) won’t compensate for poorly optimized content.
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