Google makes various changes to its search algorithms to identify and select genuine websites with good credibility. Google launched penguin to correct spammy methods for getting ranked in search results. Link building was the major thing targeted in penguin updates. Earlier Penguin was a separate algorithm that was updated with the search results periodically. Between the last two previous Penguin updates i.e Penguin 3.0 and 4.0 there was almost two years gap. Hence even if someone has corrected the issues for Google Penguin, it took almost 2 years for them to get benefit. With the last major penguin update 4.0 which was announced in September 2016, Penguin became a part of Google core algorithm. Quality is still considered as an important aspect both in link building and content.
In link building, there are two major types, inbound links and outbound links. When links are pointing from your website to the other they are termed as ‘outbound links’. In contrast, when links are cited from other websites or resources to your site then they are called as ‘backlinks’ or ‘inbound links’.
There are hundreds of factors that determine rankings. Initially, Google rankings were heavily determined by backlinks. The emphasis on links has reduced now, but still backlinks continue to be an important parameter for ranking.
What is a Backlink in SEO?
Having links from other sites improve targeted traffic to our website. Since we have no control on inbound links as they are coming from other websites, the links could be of higher or lower quality based on quality of the site from where links are originating. It is natural that, if the website has informative and unique content, then there is a higher possibility of having good backlinks from other sites. Links coming from high quality sites with relevant content are most valued than the links that are generated by low quality websites. The more number of quality backlinks a website has, the higher is its chance to be visible in Google search results.
Importance of Backlink in SEO
Besides improving website traffic, backlinks improve site popularity and search engine rankings. For this reason, many websites try every method possible to have more number of inbound links to their websites sometimes using spammy techniques. But in today’s SEO, it is not about how many backlinks the website has, but it is about the quality or value that each backlink is carrying when pointing to your site. As a basic link building strategy, you may create links to your site from articles, guest blogs, directory submissions etc. Despite these efforts, sometimes you may not see any improvement in site rankings irrespective of the large number of backlinks. In fact the site may even get penalized for having too many inbound links, if they are irrelevant and of poor quality.
What Decides the Quality of Backlink?
While deciding the quality of backlinks, Google primarily looks for naturality in the links. If links are built slowly over time without any manipulative technique from a relevant website then the site will have good amount of quality backlinks. Sometimes websites involve in reciprocal linking where two websites agree upon exchanging links in order to boost their site rankings. Google treats this as a manipulative technique as this is not the genuine method to attain quality backlinks. Typically when assessing the quality of backlinks, apart from relevancy, search engines consider the popularity and trustworthiness of the sites of the linking site.
Building Backlinks Require Patience, Skill, Knowledge and Time
Backlink building is not an instant thing, especially for newly created websites which are still in the process of building their personal brands. Instead of going for manipulative methods such as buying or exchanging links, it is better to have a methodical strategy for developing links. First the site needs to focus on creating informative and quality content and then it has to develop strategies for improving its brand awareness and identity on the web. With the right approach, websites can get back good referral links from other websites, which ultimately deliver better site rankings. Identifying websites of decent quality from where links can be generated also requires lot of patience and effort. After this, still the link gaining process may require contacting the site, sharing info in a format required by the site and regularly checking to see if the listing was activated.
Importance of Link Velocity in Link Building
The number of backlinks coming to a website in a specific period of time is termed as link velocity. The better the link velocity for a website, the greater is the possibility to rank well in search engine results. However, it is also important to build link velocity gradually in a steady manner instead of making it look unnatural or spammy. If there is a substantial jump in the number of links or sudden change in link velocity, then it indicates that the site is building links in bulk using spammy techniques. For instance, if 10 links are build over a 3 months period then it looks quite natural. But all of a sudden if there is a sharp spike in link building with 200 links within a week, then it becomes suspicious. To continue gaining more number of backlinks from quality websites, it is essential to generate good quality of content consistently.
By: Uma Sri