Are Backlinks Still a Google Rank Factor?

Backlinks have been a tried-and-tested SEO technique for a number of years now. Numerous companies – including quite a few high-profile businesses – have used them to help send their official sites shooting up the Google rankings.

While you have to be careful about the quality of the links you use, the good news is that high-quality links can be purchased with ease from a market of backlinks. This means you can rest assured that your backlinks are of the best standard and lead only to authority sites.

But are backlinks still a vital part of boosting your site’s Google ranking? Read on to find out!

Backlinks never go out of fashion

The simple answer to the query “are backlinks still important for ranking highly on Google” is a resounding yes! In fact, backlinks are currently viewed as the second most important ranking factor, behind the content of your website. It’s very tough for websites that don’t feature any backlinks to acquire much traffic at all, which reveals just how crucial they still are.

But why is this?

Essentially, a backlink from what is known as a ‘high authority’ website is like a badge of honor for your own site – and the more of these ‘badges’ you acquire, the higher your website will climb in the Google ranks. These backlinks from trusted sites are like a demonstration of confidence in your own content, which, in turn, lends your website a level of authority of its own.

What are high authority backlinks? 

A high authority backlink is a link to a trusted website, such as a reputable news outlet or a similarly authoritative source. Academic and government sites can be high authority links, as can any well-respected site from your business’s industry.

However, there are other factors that make a backlink authoritative, or ‘high-quality.’ These factors are:

How natural the backlink is.

How relevant the backlink is.

A natural backlink is one that has not been purchased and used purely to boost your website ranking – Google frowns on those kinds of links and you can even be landed with a penalty for using them. Using unnatural links could even cause your site to slip down the rankings.

Natural backlinks, on the other hand, are formed through mutual associations whereby the content of each of your sites is deemed to be of interest, and useful to, your respective readerships. This is where the relevancy comes in. Search engines such as Google analyse the level of relevancy between your content and the content you have backlinked to. They will then give you scores on both domain relevancy and page relevancy. The better your scores, the higher up the Google ranking your site will go.

What backlinks are to be avoided?

As we have mentioned, some kinds of backlinks – known as ‘low-quality’ or ‘unnatural’ links – can do your site more harm than good, and even lead to a ranking demotion.

These include:

Links that have been purchased specifically to manipulate your ranking.

Links to irrelevant web pages.

Links to forbidden or explicit content.

By steering clear of these types of links, and by making sure you use mostly high authority backlinks – although medium-quality links are acceptable too – you will help your site achieve a better ranking.

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