SEO is incredibly complex. Couple that complexity with the fact that Google is constantly making algorithm changes, and it is no surprise that people are confused by the process of search engine optimisation.

This branch of digital marketing has certainly come a long way since its early days. The goal of Google has always been the same — to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible. As technology has evolved, their approach has become more refined. Gone are the days of content farms and keyword stuffing. Google’s algorithms are now designed so that websites that provide users with relevant, quality content are ultimately rewarded — there’s no shortcuts or ways to circumvent the system.

We often get to hear these days that “SEO is Dead”, but is it really dead? While it’s true that the strategies used in search engine optimisation are constantly evolving based on the new algorithms, but the practice is never likely to ‘die’. As long as there is Google, there will be a need to optimise content and websites to increase relevant customer traffic.

Backlink building has always been a tactic that has attracted a lot of attention, both from those that specialise in SEO services and Google themselves. Some experts have been predicting the death of backlinks for over 10 years now. So, in 2022, do they still matter to your SEO campaign?

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are also known as inbound links or one-way links. They are links from one website to another. Think of a time when you’ve been reading an article that quoted a statistic. To back up this statistic, they link to a study on another website. This is a backlink.

Google sees backlinks as ‘votes’. The more times a particular page is used as a backlink, the more likely they are to improve its search engine results ranking. This is because Google infers that only reputable pages are likely to be used as backlinks. The search engine assumes that the content is credible and will be useful to other people searching for information online.

Backlinks can be categorised into two separate camps — Nofollow backlinks and Dofollow backlinks. Nofollow backlinks tell Google not to bother using the link as a ranking signal. Dofollow backlinks, on the other hand, can contribute to your SEO results. Nofollow links were developed by Google in response to the increased number of bots spamming comment sections with gibberish in an attempt to improve search engine results — a practice that quickly fell under the ‘black-hat’ category of SEO strategies.

Backlinks have always been a valuable part of Google’s algorithms. In fact, for a long time, they were the most important ranking factor. However, as time has passed and Google’s algorithms have increased in complexity, other factors have come to the forefront demanding equal time and attention. Any good SEO company in Melbourne will tell you that backlinks are still important and when created using the right startegies, they still help to rank your website on top search pages.

How to use backlinks — properly

Now, it’s important to note that not all backlinks are created equal. In the eyes of Google, some carry greater weight than others. High-quality backlinks can be worth hundreds, if not thousands of low-quality backlink ‘votes’.

What defines a high-quality backlink? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, it comes from a high-quality website. Having the BBC, for example, link to your article is going to look far more impressive in the eyes of Google than a local blog site. The BBC has more of what is known as Domain Authority, or DA, suggesting it’s a reputable and authoritative site.

Other factors that affect the perceived quality of a backlink include the type of link — Nofollow or Dofollow — and whether or not the content featuring the backlink is relevant to your page.

In 2022, buying backlinks is against the Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you get caught engaging in this type of practice, you can expect a heavy penalty that could considerably impact your search engine rankings. So, how do you go about building backlinks naturally?

The first thing to concentrate on is creating high-quality, unique, and relevant content. Yep, the best way to build backlinks is to actually put time and effort in. Once you’ve mastered content writing, you can then approach guest blogging sites and ask if they would like to feature your work on their website. Emphasise the fact that it is well-researched, detailed, and relevant to their readers. Be prepared to approach a number of sites before you begin to establish positive relationships with key industry players.

Your end goal is to produce such high-quality content that other websites naturally link to your own, without you even asking! This won’t happen overnight but when it does, expect a snowball effect that sends your SEO results through the roof.

In short, any SEO company in Melbourne will tell you that backlinks certainly do matter in 2022. Use them in an honest and straightforward manner as part of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

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