Is link building still relevant for SEO?

SEO: How important are links?

The idea seems simple: the more websites link a website, the more important and relevant it has to be. It was on this basis that Google began its business more than 15 years ago Search algorithm build up. It quickly became clear, however, that links can also be artificially created. So can the algorithm manipulatewhether against payment or free of charge. Today, over 15 years later, many website operators are faced with the question of whether and how important links are in SEO are still.

  1. The story of links
  2. Why classic link building is not worthwhile
  3. Features of good backlinks
  4. Instead of building links: This is how you gain important ranking signals
  5. Conclusion

The aim of our article is to give website owners all the material they need to decide for or against Link building need. How relevant is it to be able to hold against competitors? How much budget should be invested? Link building is a mandatory measure in order to better rankings to obtain?

As mentioned, links played an important role in the past. Because they were a clear sign that a website was relevant was. But it wasn't just the amount of links that was relevant. The properties of the linked pages were also evaluated and included in the search algorithm. A link from a page that was frequently linked was more important.

Setting a link is not difficult with a sufficient budget. Google also knew this and began to refine the evaluation of links more and more. How far up on the page was the link? Which other pages does the page link to? Is it a meaningful word that the link was placed on? How many links are there from the website? How often is the link clicked?

Many of the measures are intended to differentiate more finely between "Real" and "artificial" links allow.

Why classic link building is not worthwhile

Working according to a scheme for acquiring links is called classic link building. Some providers have specialized in building forum profiles and spreading links in threads, others write comments in blogs, still others contact news sites and bloggers to publish a link for a fee, and still others are still working through web catalogs .

The fact is: each of these solutions, even if combined, is not infinitely scalable without attracting attention. Dive sooner or later template which automatically show differences to "real" link profiles. From here it is only a small step to Penalty of a domain.

There is also no telling how Google is different Ranking factors around links in the future. If the detection of purchased links gets better and better, domains could also be punished retrospectively with the next update - although link building has perhaps not been done here for a few months.

Features of good backlinks

Links are generated by Google based on your quality evaluates and flows with different weightings positive or negative, up to a manual penalty, in the ranking assessment.

The page performance of the Link source. In addition to good rankings, these can also be sitelinks that are shown in the search results and represent a certain quality. Another positive signal is when the link does not come from left flinging, i.e. has few outgoing links overall. The Link juice is then shown in a different strength, which is why the large selection of yellow pages offers hardly any positive weighting via links and only has a certain relevance in the local search.

In addition, high-quality and unique content should be found on the pages that also thematically fit the content of your website. As already mentioned, the position of the link is also evaluated. Much more relevant are links from the content area of ​​the website, as they also appear much more natural (organic) and a higher relevance represent. Backlinks from the sidebar and footer areas are clearly downgraded, also because of the link spam history of paid links at these points. In this context is also the Link text important and should fit thematically and not be thematically unsuitable at any point. But watch out! If too many links are linked via a keyword (hard linking), this case again seems unnatural and can lead to a penalty. In a natural link profile, the website is often linked with anchor texts such as "here", the domain or the name of the brand.

Whether link power also with links with the nofollow attribute be passed on, even the SEO experts do not agree on that. It is controversial whether a nofollow link has any weighting at all. In any case, nofollow backlinks belong in the natural link profile of every website, anything else would send unnatural signals.

Basically, the linked source should be found in the index. If this is not the case, the De-indexing as a result of a penalty for spam projects. The search engine giant also has the pages banned from the index on its screen and checks the pages linked from them. If you are linked from a deindexed page, you have to remove this backlink.

But while the "search engine optimizers" rely on values ​​such as visibility, trust and backlink source for link building, the relevance of links should not only be seen against Google. A link can contribute much more to a good ranking, namely real site visitors deliver. If a backlink is placed well and appropriately, it can become an important source of traffic with real visitors who, in the best case, convert on your own website. If you decide to build links, you should try to generate traffic through it and, in addition to positive signals to the search engines, also get potential customers to your own site.

Instead of building links: This is how you gain important ranking signals

Anyone who refrains from traditional link building, does not violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines and does not want to take any risk of being penalized, does not have to do without backlinks. A keyword for organic link building is Content marketing. Usually you want to get links for a commercial project through high quality content. The chance of links increases with unique content, which is usually not commercial. At first glance, it may seem pointless to invest time in creating non-commercial content. But why should other websites link to the product categories? There is seldom a reason for this. But if you take a "detour" over counselor or for example Infographics you can get positive mentions. The content is of course positioned on the same domain as the commercial content and thus strengthens the popularity of the entire website.

It becomes more and more dangerous when you buy links. Google knows this method and combats any unnatural links with the utmost consistency. The best way to get high-quality links is with high-quality content that added value for your own target group.

Classic Link building is also among the experts in the SEO scene highly controversial and was pronounced dead until recently, but has become significantly more relevant again in recent months. With the Google update that penalties only apply to individual URLs and no longer to the global domain, the risk of penalties has been reduced. Some SEOs are now using old methods again and manually building (thematically appropriate) links.

In addition to the technical values ​​of the respective link source, the Traffic opportunities a big role because the search engines don't convert. Every page visit by real users on the website advances the operator. And that is ultimately what a good ranking should bring about: increasing page visits.