Are backlinks important for SEO? Yes, backlinks are still very important but building out your link network should be done with some forethought.
One of the first things people learn about when trying to optimize their website is backlinks. Backlinks are links to a website from other websites. They are important because sites that have a large number of backlinks generally rank higher in Google.
Lately, there has been some question regarding whether backlinks are still as important as they used to be. Google’s Matt Cutts made the statement recently that guest posting is dead (or at least less effective), and this led some people to believe that Google no longer considers backlinks, since the process of getting backlinks has become very spammy.
Cutts addressed this question in a recent web video. According to Cutts, backlinks are still very important. Apparently Google tried a version of their search engine’s algorithm in house that did not include backlinks as a ranking indicator. This version provided much worse search results than Google’s current version. As a result, Google will not be taking backlinks out of its search engine algorithm anytime soon. Backlinks are still very important!
However, not all backlinks are created equally, and the quality of the backlinks is important as well. Links coming from related, reputable websites with authority pass on positive link juice. The larger authority of the referring site(this can be measured by using metrics from Moz, Majestic and Google), the better. Links with relevant anchor text and links in a body of text, instead of in a footer or side bar, are especially helpful as well.
Some backlinks can actually harm a website more than hurt it, however. Links that come from spammy or questionable sites can not only hurt a website’s ranking, but having too many bad backlinks can get a website taken out of Google altogether. Whether the owner is aware of the backlinks or not makes no difference. Website owners have the obligation to use Webmaster Tools to make sure they have not been targeted by spammy sites. If you are you can disavow those links from Webmaster Tools.
Google: “First and foremost, we recommend that you remove as many spammy or low-quality links from the web as possible.”
Paid backlinks can also hurt a website’s Page Rank or cause it to become removed from Google. Paid backlinks include links that companies have paid to create and ad links that are “do follow.” Website owners can avoid these paid links by not buying links from anyone and by making sure that any ads they place have “no follow” tags.
Internet Marketing Team: Instead of buying links we recommend a strategy of buying High PR Domains with great Domain Authority and creating valuable content. Once you establish these sites then you can drive traffic to your main site with a link, which has the nice side effect of passing SEO juice.
While backlinks are not the only indicator Google looks at when ranking pages, backlinks are still a crucial element of Google’s algorithm. Website owners who want their pages to rank well must periodically check their backlinks to make sure they have as many good links and as few bad links as possible.
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