Things are always changing within the search engine landscape.
The algorithm is constantly evolving but you can bet on one thing and that is the importance of link building.
It is still a great way to build authority and trust within your URL and really the only proven way to get a higher search engine ranking. Link building has always been the cornerstone of any SEO campaign and if done properly will have a massive impact on your rankings.
What is a backlink?
Ahrefs defines backlinks as links from a page on one website to another. If someone links to your site, then you have a backlink from them. If you link to another website, then they have a backlink from you.
If you are looking at getting noticed online and improving your profile then you have to be link building – simple as that!
The future of link building is somewhat blurred. Whilst it is still the favourite son of most SEO companies, link building can get quite dangerous, especially if left in the hands of someone who has no idea of how to build links or is limited in their capabilities due to constrained budgets.
Links are still the mainstay of Googles algorithm and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Saying this, there are 4 really important messages that you can take out of this article.
1) Links boost rankings
Links are by far the best way to accelerate your ranking. Many SEO agencies have altered their link building strategies and fine-tuned tactics to only use high PR sites as opposed to low quality, spammy sites, which was common practice among many players. The future is clear in this space. Either clean up your link building or be prepared for the dire consequences. Google wants to see backlinks from high DA or domain authority sites. Anything less won’t work and in fact, may actually harm your site. Semrush confirms this by telling us Despite several changes to Google’s search algorithm and ranking system, Google still considers backlinks to be a key ranking signal. Google recognizes backlinks as votes of confidence.
2) Link building is not the same as content marketing
Link building is the process of improving one’s website ranking, whilst content marketing is simply the process of generating content via blogs and other avenues to dominate a certain area. The two are not one and the same, period. Sure you can write articles, which is great for your overall visibility, but this has absolutely nothing to do with your SEO. There should be cross-pollination between your link building and content writing when referencing articles and this should, moving forward, be done on a regular basis.
3) Link building will only become more difficult
In the case of finding high-quality pages, I would say the loopholes will tighten over the next couple of years. Whilst SEO is not related to content marketing, the future will be more focused on the latter. Point to note – if you are in the SEO game, you need to be more concerned about the way people are going to connect with your content.
Post updated 6 July 2021: SEO is directly related to content marketing and Google places lots of value on websites that can demonstrate that they are continuously updating their website with fresh new content. In fact, content marketing is as important as link building. Known as SEO copywriting, it’s now a fundamental component of your SEO game plan. If you are not writing blogs, news articles or refreshing main pages this will have a direct impact on your rankings and online visibility.
4) If you want your content to rank, you have to link build
All pages ( with the exception of a rare few) are very competitive in the online space. Hence, you need to rank your blog and internal pages and this will be done through an effective link campaign.
I guess you could say linking to your website is still very popular, but let’s give this a few years and see what comes out in the wash. The way things work with Google one just never knows. It is a gamble, but to be on the safe side there should be a 50/50 split between the links and the content side of things. Google has an algorithm called Rank Brain that combines link building and content. In a nutshell, the more content you write and the better quality links you build, the more trust you will bring to your website. A combination of the two is a perfect mix and will have a tremendous impact on your overall traffic and the number of visitors that land on your site.
As Google evolves and becomes more sophisticated so will your link building and the associated strategy. I’d say that in the next 3-5 years Google will tighten its ranking criteria so much that it will only recognise the very best links. If you want to stay ahead of the game it’s best you start planning for this now. Most SEO agencies will not have the kind of strategy to obtain these types of links ( as they rely on private blog networks ), so the challenge for the business owners will be to find these agencies and be prepared to part with some big coin in order to satisfy Google’s tough new ranking criteria.