If you’ve been in the search engine optimization business for long, you might have been advised to switch from backlink-heavy SEO tactics to more sound content marketing strategies. This is mainly because of the changes and search engine algorithm updates introduced by Google to prevent – or at least minimize – web spam and promote the creation of quality content.
Sure enough, this is a sign that major backlinking strategies are fading in relevance. While one can argue that ranking-wise, its value has barely changed, Google’s new focus in content and the actual consumer need for content means that a backlinks-dependent site will likely either be drowned by content-rich results or be completely ignored for its lack of substance. However, does this mean that search engine optimizers should completely abandon the formerly effective SEO strategy of backlinking?
Probably not. Apparently, backlink relevance will be sticking around indefinitely as they are integral in the production of quality search results. This is one conclusion that we can derive from the statements in a recent YouTube video released by Matt Cutts of Google’s Webspam team. This video is a response to a UK-based user’s question inquiring him whether or not there is a version of Google that does not take backlinks into account, adding further that he or she would like to try it out, curious of what the results may look like.
In the video, Cutts mentioned that while no such version of the search engine is available for use by the public, it actually exists and was used internally in Google to test what the search results would look like if the relevance of backlinks is removed from the picture. It turns out, Matt said, that results where backlinks are not taken into account are far worse than the spam-addled search results that we are getting with the current version of Google.
Without being so explicit about it, Cutts’ YouTube vid certainly implies that backlinks are still relevant for Google. Yes, that means that you can still use your good old backlinking strategies, although you may need to update them to catch up with the times. Link building these days is inter-married with content, making things a bit more complicated than in the past.
Effective modern link-building, however, demands that links leading back to your site should come from other site owners. Of course, doing it the old fashioned way like blog commenting still works if done discreetly, but does not deliver the same result.
Prompting others link to your site takes many different methods. A popular one is guest posting and writing product reviews. Both can help you establish credibility in your field if you are careful with the way you compose and research your content, thus giving other website owners reasons to link to your site.
Backlinks will remain relevant for SEO for quite a while. This holds true until the time comes when one of Big G’s engineers figure out of a way to replicate the quality of present search results or make it better without relying on how websites are linked to each other.