Are backlinks still relevant for your SEO in 2022? Let's discuss...
Backlinks, a link on and external website pointing towards yours. Once a corner stone of SEO, they’re now seen by some as an outdated, archaic old school SEO tactic. This raises the question, “do I need to worry abut backlinks in 2022”?
Let’s start by looking at this purely from an SEO point of view. When ranking a website, Google uses around 200 known ranking factors – at least these are the ones which we know about. A number of ranking factors revolve around backlinks. So we know that, on some level at least, backlinks are still important for SEO.
How Important Are Backlinks For SEO
We’ve established that, as a bare minimum, backlinks have some bearing on your SEO, but how much? Well, Google views backlinks as a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another, in essence it’s one site saying, “this website has good information, you should check it out”.
The internet is, and always has been an information sharing entity, it’s still SEO best practice to include at least one external link in blog content. This should give you some insight into Google’s views on backlinks. It’s safe to consider that they are still relevant in 2022.
Most 3rd party domain ranking scores use backlinks and linking root domains as a major factor:
“Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and total number of links, into a single DA score” – Moz
Although these domain scores are 3rd party rankings, which do not have a direct bearing on Google’s website rankings, they can still be considered a good signpost as to the importance of backlinks.
In short, backlinks are still important in modern day SEO, perhaps not as important as they used to be – but important enough.
Should I Focus On Backlinks?
A difficult one, as with all SEO endeavours, a link building campaign takes a fair amount of time and effort. It’s wise to focus on your on-page SEO in the first instance, something which you can directly control.
In recent years Google’s emphasis has shifted a little away from backlinks towards good, informative content. The benefit of producing, good, engaging content is that it’s much easier to garner organic backlinks – simply put, people will want to link to your good content without the need for a backlink outreach exercise.
Further to this, Google much prefers a genuine backlink profile that has been grown over a period of time, as opposed to lumpy increases in backlinks.
Bad Backlinks vs. Good Backlinks
Your link profile is important, and not all backlinks are born equally. It’s far better to have 10 links from relevant, authoritative sites than it is to have 100 from poor sites. Many aspects are taken into account when considering link toxicity.
Google looks at things like link locations – too many inbound links from a footer in a website isn’t a good sign. Relevance is another important aspect, it’s a red flag if your site has a number of links from an irrelevant site – this screams of a dishonest link building strategy.
Luckily, in order to avoid being penalised Google as made it very easy to disavow bad backlinks.
A healthy link profile should be built up overtime and maintained. Backlinks aren’t something which can be forgotten about, they can quite quickly become irrelevant or unruly, think of backlinks as your garden – sometimes the grass needs reseeding and sometimes you need to pull up the weeds!
We come back to content again really, if you do not have the time or resources for a well thought out and executed backlink campaign – ensure that your content is tip top and the rest should slowly but surely begin to fall into place.
Build it and they will come.
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