The End Of The Backlink – Long Live Backlinks!

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Warning: Many people may disagree with my thoughts in this post about back-linking but here goes…

Not that long ago, Meta tags were an important part of optimizing your website / blog.

Website owners stuffed their Meta tags with the same targeted keywords, like ‘cat food, lovely cat food, best cat food’…and numerous other slogans mentioning the same keyword phrase.

Along with other search engine optimization criteria, stuffing your Meta tags with keywords ensured you ranked pretty well.

Google changed their algorithm, and Meta tags are no longer used as part of their search engine optimization.

It’s the same story with reciprocal linking. I link my site to your site and you link your site to mine. We both get a great backlink! Everyone did it – well a lot of website owners did!

Google now puts very little emphasis on reciprocal linking.

“GIVE US THE BACKLINKS”

Then over the last 2 to 3 years it’s all been about building backlinks using anchor text. Build as many links as you can, vary the anchor text and you’ll get ranked.

Now that method of optimization is being abused.

Website and blogs owners are using ‘spammy’ SEO services that promise to build you thousands of backlinks for cents. And they do. Problem is the backlinks often come from ‘spammy’ or undesirable sites.

Hence the recent Panda and Penguin Google algorithm changes.

These algorithm changes were aimed at removing spammy backlinks and over optimized sites were impacted.

The Complaints Are Pouring In…

Many websites owners are complaining.

Many blog owners are complaining.

Their site rankings are falling.

They feel they are being penalized for building too many backlinks.

They’re not.

They are being penalized for building too many ‘spammy’ backlinks.

But this is just the beginning…

I believe over the next few months we will see more Google algorithm changes…all to do with targeting spammy backlinks.

And in 2013 backlinks will be way down in the algorithm that determines your website position in the search engines.

I think there will be more emphasis on quality content.

Oh no, here we go again…it’s all about the content.

But it’s true!

Your visitors come to the internet to find a solution to their problem.

“I have this problem and I need it fixed”.

They don’t want just theory.

They want actions they can use.

They want to be told what to do.

Let me say this again: They don’t want just theory.

Now be honest…how many of your blog posts are just theory?

High level fluff!

Dare, I say…I think it’s the majority!

So how will Google determine quality content?

Like they do now.

How long do people stay on your site?

How many pages do they view?

The bounce rate.

How many people link to your content from their site?

How many people have shared the content on the major social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+?

These aspects will be given more emphasis.

This is going to be my back linking strategy from now on…

Don’t even think about backlinks.

“Whoa” I hear you say!

Think of it this way…if you are doing certain things / tasks JUST to build a backlink…STOP NOW!

Do you comment…just to build a backlink?

If yes…then STOP! You should comment because you want to comment and add to the conversation.

Do you guest post…just to get a backlink?

If yes…then STOP! You should guest post because you want to widen your brand and profile.

Do you set up social site profiles just to get a backlink?

If yes…then STOP! You should set up social site profiles because you want to share other people’s work.

That’s the theory out the way!

Actions For You…

Forget about backlinks but do this…

1.     Social Profiles

Set up accounts at the following:

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

YouTube

LinkedIn

Each of the above allows you to add links to your site.

But remember we are not setting these up just for the backlinks…we want to share other people’s work on these sites.

2.     Commenting

Comment on blog posts but ensure you add to the conversation. Remember others will read your comment and get an opinion of you. You are not writing just to get a backlink. If you do, think of it as a bonus.

After your comment is approved, add the blog post to your social sites like Google+, Twitter, etc.

3.     Guest Posting

Above I mention that quality content is important. It is even more important when you guest post.

Every day I receive about 5 – 10 requests for guest posts to be published on my blog. The vast majority are absolutely rubbish. Not related to my niche, poor grammar, high level fluff or they want backlinks to their sales pages!

They go straight into the email trash!

Go ahead and guest post but ensure you provide awesome quality content and only link back to your website/blog or “about me” page.

4.     Your Own Content

Make it the best possible. Make it so good, people want to share and link to it.

From now on, don’t perform tasks that just build backlinks.

Simply concentrate on sharing your wonderful knowledge and experience to help people solve their problems.

Disclaimer: Of course, I have no inside knowledge (nor does anyone else – well unless you are Mr Google) of what Google are going to do next. This is just my gut feel.

Now…over to you…what do you think?

Am I talking rubbish?

Am I talking perfect sense?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below (and not just because you want a backlink!!!)

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266 Responses to The End Of The Backlink – Long Live Backlinks!

  1. Uchenna April 23, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    Personally I think, if the search engines could do without backlinks, they would have done so, a long time ago. Ironically, it was using backlinks as a ranking signal that made Google what it is today, so it would be the equivalent of them biting the hand that has fed them all these years.

    When it comes to quality content, this is still a fairly ambiguous area, it’s very difficult, if not impossible to write an algorithm that can determine whether a piece of content is of good quality or not. Signals such as bounce rate are too sketchy, as the premise is flawed. Just because an individual spends a small amount of time on a page, before living it doesn’t necessarily mean the content on that page is of poor quality.

    Matt Cutts also spoke about this, how the signal was too loud, which is why they don’t use it. He also said that they tried running Google Search without backlinks as a ranking signal and the results were disastrous. So I don’t see links EVER going out of fashion, that’s the sad reality. If Google wants to clear up all the spam links out there, they are going to have to take a more proactive approach, like they’re doing now, by individually banning link networks.

  2. aceclue May 11, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    Andrew,

    What a great post. I believe though that many people might have said NO to this thought when you publish this article. Even though they might not make it known in the comment. The thought you shared was and is quite a bitter true then and now.

    Only people with insight could readily absorb the notion and put in their daily blogging habits when the hitting search engine algorithm updates are made public.

    The fact is to be natural in publishing information online. I do it and it pays. As for the backlink, it has direct link with page rank. But is quite funny that Google don’t lay emphases on Pagerank and backlinks to rank web pages on its SERPs.

    The key is to write quality contents that initiate readers engagement and social sharing. Quality backlinks will seamlessly follow as a reward for the hard work.

    Thanks for sharing the thought.

  3. Rakesh Desai May 21, 2014 at 4:45 am #

    I must say that even i disagree at first, but after reading the whole thing I am quite convinced. I agree that blog commenting is getting too spammy as guest posting but other activity can still work in decent way. But yeah, nothing can beat quality content and its the only way to success for any business.

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