Re-examining the Importance of the SEO Link – Links are Not Dead

SEO links are not a thing of the past; an important thing to remember when building your own website.  A good website still includes backlinks and valuable content that readers will find interesting.  A study by SEMrush lists the top 8 ranking factors, and 50% of those factors are based on link signals.  These factors include total backlinks, total referring domains and referring IPs, and total follow-backlinks.  Besides this, a study by Backlinko reports that Google’s number 1 organic search result has 3.8x more backlinks and 3.2x more referring domains than those that come in at  2-10. Despite all this, 94% of web content contains no external backlinks, but link building and technical optimization are still holding their status as the most effective SEO task. 

It is, however, important to note that not all links are created equal and there is such a thing as a “bad” link.  Site developers must be familiar with and follow, Google guidelines if they want links to work in their favor.  Some of the things Google frowns upon are link schemes (buying or selling links without being tagged as sponsored); hidden links which, may locate off-screen or be present in manipulated fonts or single character links; doorway pages, which are high ranking intermediary pages which funnel users to other pages; and thin affiliates (using duplicate content from an affiliate network.)

Other things which may affect link quality are URL factors such as a high number of redirects and tracking parameters; unnatural anchor text including excessive keyword optimization or a high volume of exact matches; follow links, which pass authority to the linked site; and clickability; links in the body of the text are more likely to be clicked than links in the footer. 

Maintaining a good link profile requires trust, diversity, and relevance.  Trust comes from links with high page and domain authority.  Diversity requires that links come from varied domains, IP addresses, and types of sites.  Relevance means the presence of keywords in the anchor text and surrounding content

According to experts, links are still alive and well and they are a vital part of building your brand.  Linking from one website to another is how we navigate the web, which means their relevance is not ever likely to die.

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