SEO backlink building has always been the most powerful method for ranking websites quickly and attracting targeted traffic from Google. That is truer today in 2017 than it has ever been before. But what is a high-quality backlink? What do search engines look for? What kind of linking practices will get you penalized in 2017?
What Is A Backlink?
A backlink is basically a vote of confidence in the site being linked to. But unlike political elections, when it comes to SEO, all votes are not equally valued. Some backlinks are more valuable than others, and some backlinks can actually be harmful, as you’ll see in a moment. But if your website has the right kind of backlinks pointing to it from the right sources, you’re guaranteed to get better search rankings than sites without those links.
Simply put, backlinks are the most important ranking factor that Google and other search engines take into account when determining how to rank a website today in 2017. There are many factors to consider, but backlinks are at the top of the SEO hierarchy. If your website doesn’t have high-quality backlinks, then you are missing out on targeted traffic, conversions and earnings.
In September 2016, Google rolled out version 4.0 of its infamous Penguin update to its algorithm. Penguin devalues websites with unnatural backlink profiles, but it hasn’t really changed much with this latest update. Spam, automated, low-quality backlinks are still targeted as before, but now Google is attempting to have Penguin work in real-time as opposed to being refreshed every few months or so.
Also, Penguin 4.0 penalizes the pages containing spam links themselves rather than the entire website on which they appear.
What Makes A Quality Backlink?
The most important factors Google looks at in a backlink are relevance and authority. Google wants to see natural backlinks, so anything that looks unnatural is likely to lead to a penalty. So when attempting to build backlinks, you want links that come from sites that are relevant to your own site. If a website about car repair is linking to a website about pet care product, which looks unnatural and is not likely to carry much weight.
Authority is also important. Links from websites that Google considers authoritative – such as major news sites or government websites – will push a lot of link juice to your own website, but links from low-quality sites like content mills and spam niche sites will bring little value or may even lead to penalties.
Contextual links embedded naturally within the body of the content carry more weight than backlinks tacked on at the bottom of the page as a footnote or as a blog comment. Some links do have more impact than others, but that doesn’t make those other links worthless. You might even argue that the “worthless” links are necessary too.
The Importance Of Backlink Diversity
You want your website’s backlink profile to look natural, and to accomplish that you need a diversity of links out there on the web. It’s natural for people to link to great content on social media, in blog comments, in blog post content and on forums. For this reason, you want your backlink efforts to include all of these, but with an emphasis on getting those links from high-quality, relevant and authoritative sources.
Going overboard on contextual links with unnatural anchored text will get you penalized.
What To Look For In An SEO Backlink Building Service?
With today’s economic climate and the growing strength of the Canadian dollar, Agencies are able to deliver great value to their clients and offer back linking services that can catapult their clients’ websites up through the search rankings.
If you’re looking to hire an agency to do your SEO backlink building for you, it’s important that those links are built manually to ensure the quality of the links it kept high – that they are going onto relevant websites that carry authority in the eyes of the search engines rather than being blasted out using spam bot computer programs.