When you create an inbound link from one website to another you have created what is known as a backlink. In short, it’s all about Search Engine Optimisation and let me tell you, the world of SEO revolves around backlinks.
Websites want as many quality backlinks to their site as possible as search engines like Google look to backlinks as a way of determining how popular or important a website is. If a website has lots of backlinks going to it, search engines deem that particular website to be more relevant than others when it comes to the order in which websites will appear in search results. Of course a company wants to appear as high up in the search results as possible, I mean come on, who actually gets to the bottom of the first page of results on a search engine, let alone onto the second or third?
However what defines a quality backlink? Generally its to do with the content of the site. If you’re a blogger who writes about beauty, a link to a website about computer programming within your content wouldn’t be considered to be a quality link because the content is completely unrelated to one another.
As in the Matt Cutts quote above, organic, quality back links take a long time to emerge but are the most beneficial to a website and I think its bad practice when some companies try to mass manipulate SEO results by trying to get unrelated websites to link back to their site. While there are varying degrees of success with this approach, it actually violates Google’s guidelines which you can read about here.
Google and other search engines want the results that are generated to be relevent to what the person has searched for and popular because the popularity can show how helpful the page was if lots of people have found it to be of relevance to what they were searching for. Backlinks are one of the major players in determining what search results are found however Google aren’t stupid, they know that there are companies out there that are trying to manipulate the results by getting their link on as many websites as possible, regardless of whether or not they are relevent and they are taking steps towards stopping this from happening. As a blogger I have, on occasion, written a sponsored post for a marketing agency only to be contacted by the same agency less than a year later asking for the link to be made ‘No Follow’ or to be removed completely because they’ve had their hand smacked by Google. While the beauty of being a blogger is that your content is your own, unedited thoughts, you’re generally blogging without qualifications in the field and its only through reading outside of your blogs topic, about SEO and how page ranking works that you realise how you should and shouldn’t be operating as a blogger. I think that’s how a lot of bloggers are used by marketing companies because in a lot of cases, those professionals are relying on a lot of new, inexperience bloggers to blindly post backlinks to their site.
Backlinks really do help to ascertain the reputation of a site but it what is also very important is the quality of the content on that page. I think that ultimately, backlinks will not become obsolete until Google has worked out a way to search for the information that relevent backlinks provide without having the use the backlinks themselves. Google’s never-ending quest ultimately leads towards developing Google into more of a conversational piece whereby it can understand language more so than an order of keywords.
What is certain is that the internet is full of links and it is impossible to get away from them. The best websites will always have organic, natural links leading to them simply because of how genuinely great they are and they don’t need to attempt to manipulate SEO in order to gain a higher page rank. There is talk of Google taking the relevance of backlinks out of their search results but recent trials were found to yield, poor, unrelated search results, as discussed in the video above, so at least for the time being, backlinks are here to stay.
What do you think about the future of backlinks? Are they here to stay or is their time running out? Let me know in the comments!
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