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If you’ve been in the marketing or SEO space for very long, then you’ve most likely heard many times that backlinks are essential to a website’s rankings on the search engines.
While it is true to some degree that backlinks will ultimately help a website rank higher in the SERPs, it is very important to understand that many of the methods to building backlinks that exist online, are very outdated, and many of the practices some places teach will harm your rankings more than helping them.
The Golden Day Of The Backlink
A few years ago, the backlink was considered one of the biggest ranking signals for search engines. Basically, if a site had a plethora of other sites pointing back to various pages, it was perceived as an awesome site that would rank well in the search engines, specifically for keyword terms that were used within the backlink.
But the search engines soon discovered that many of these backlink sites were nothing but spam laden sites that provided no value.
The reason for this is that many “get rich quick” marketers simply purchased a ton of low value backlinks from “link farm” companies that would go out and place tons of links on low valued forum sites and in various blog comments.
Another technique would be to bootstrap and find sites to leave comments on by searching the following:
site: .org inurl:blog “post a comment” -“comments closed” -“you must be logged in” “YOUR KEYWORD”
By entering this into Google and adding your targeted keyword in the “YOUR KEYWORD” area, you would be asking Google to show you:
- .org sites that have the word blog in the URL
- That has the ability to “post a comment” within the post
- That does NOT have the “comments closed”
- That does NOT have the “you must be logged in” phrase to leave a comment
- And has your targeted keyword
Here’s a screenshot showing this dodgy technique. I used the keyword ‘cat training’
Clearly this technique was leveraging the wordpress system or any site that allowed comments.
This is where the Google Penguin Update really came into play as the update scoured many of the sites with low quality backlinks and several webmasters watched their sites disappear off of the search engines over night while marketers who had really developed their content with the idea of helping their audiences saw their sites appearing on the first pages of the SERPs.
The Biggest Backlink Mistake You Can Make Today
As mentioned above, once upon a time you could buy all the backlinks you ever wanted and then sit back and watch your website rank on page one of the search engines. Now, if you buy backlinks to your website, most likely all you are going to do is either get your site de-indexed (removed from the search engines entirely) or demoted.
Many of the backlinks that you purchase are coming from “Low PR” (i.e. pagerank) valued sites and the ones being offered from “high PR” sites are simply no longer needed in order to rank your site effectively. Honestly, you are playing with fire anytime you purchase backlinks, as all it takes is one poor campaign to really kill your online business.
So, How Should You Be Building Your Backlinks Now?
Backlink acquisition is no longer considered an important metric when it comes to ranking a website. In fact, they are far less important than providing your audience with quality content that they will then share to their friends and family via social media.
Wait, isn’t sharing something the whole purpose of a backlink?
Yes, and that’s why social shares are a good form of inbound traffic (this is what backlinks are called now) as it shows the search engines that other people who like similar things as to what your site is talking about, are sharing your site’s content. This makes the search engines look at your site more, and helps it climb the tiers of the SERP ladders.
Another great tactic to building successful inbound traffic is to start making videos and posting them to YouTube. Videos are a great way to build up traffic to your site, and they also serve as additional content that you can then embed on some of your posts. This technique is an SEO double whammy as it allows you to create inbound traffic to your site while also developing great content.
The Proof Is In The Website Pudding
How can I sit here and tell you that you can rank a website without hardly any backlinks while others are telling you that it is simply impossible? Well, I’ve actually successfully done it, and have done it LIVE in a 4 week case study site that was built in just a few hours with no backlinks to it.
I provided relevant content, and saw quite a bit of traffic as well as profits from its development. It currently sees about 5,000 monthly visitors and hold multiple page one positions on the search engines.
As you can see above, I am currently in position 1 for my primary search term as well as ranking for multiple other traffic bringing, buyer keywords. Not too bad for a quick little site build. You can follow along with the full training that shows every step I took in order to build it, please feel free to check out here.
Final Thoughts On Backlinks Currently
As mentioned in detail above the major takeaways from this post are as follows:
- NEVER Buy Backlinks – Just don’t do it!!!
- Develop Great Content – Your audience and the search engines will thank you!
- Develop Your Social Presence – This way people can share your content easily.
- Use Videos For Backlinks – It’s an SEO double whammy for content and backlinks
- Focus On On-Site SEO – Make certain that your site is easy to view and navigate.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Now that understand that backlinks are not nearly as important as they were a few years ago, you’re probably wanting to learn more about building sites the right way and then driving more visitors onto your site.
If this is the case, I strongly recommend that you check out the video series and case study that I did on building a quick niche site the right way, as well as jumping in and checking out the community on the site.
You can learn many different tactics that will help your online business grow well into the future by providing your audience and the search engines with quality content that will stand the test of time.