Backlinks: Are they still a big deal?

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Let’s just cut to the chase; according to massive amounts of research done by industry experts, backlinks still have a LOT of influence on your site’s ability to rank organically. But, we should also point out that not all links are created equal AND that links alone will not get you on the first page of Google.

You’re probably wondering where the data is to back this up. Well, look no further.

In one study that evaluated Google’s top 10 ranking factors, it became clear that backlinks are still an extremely important ranking factor. Based on their data, the experts concluded that the number of linking root domains was directly associated with a domain’s ability to rank more than any other factor. Additionally, this study concluded that overall link authority (the quality of the links pointing to a site) was directly associated with a site’s ability to make it in the top positions of Google.

The experts over at Moz also did some research on this same subject. They examined the top ranking sites for over 15,000 keywords and found at least one obvious trend; 99.2% of all sites in the top results had at least one external link. What’s more, the study found very few websites ranking for competitive terms without a single link pointing to it. And, most that were ranking well for high volume keywords had a significantly larger number of links.

They also concluded that the relationship between higher rankings and backlinks sits at .30. It doesn’t seem like much, does it? That’s because Google works hard to make sure any given ranking factor isn’t overly dominant over others. But, with over 200 ranking signals factored into their algorithms, .30 is actually quite significant.

To put it simply, “if you’re looking for a site that ranks well with no external links, be prepared to look for a very long time.”

However, this brings me back to a point I made earlier. NOT ALL LINKS ARE CREATED EQUAL. There once was a time, long, long ago, where SEO’s would gather links in bulk from any possible source to boost their organic rankings. That time has since passed, and you’ll find yourself in quite the pickle if you think any simple link building tactic is going to do you any good.

In other words, you’ll do more damage with purchased or hidden text links from sites that are completely irrelevant to your subject matter. Yes, in most cases it’s quite the struggle to earn even one honest and powerful link, but it’s SO worth it.

Now it’s time to get to work!

You probably have no idea where to start. Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you hanging! Stay tuned 🙂

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