What Are Back-Links & Do They Still Matter?

Back-links - Link Building - SEO - Search Engine Optimisation - Dublin - Ireland

What exactly are back-links, and do they matter? Do Irish businesses need to consider back-links as part of their search engine optimisation strategy? Do back-links have an impact on the organic search visibility of business websites on Google Ireland? 

YES!

Now that I have your attention, read on as we explore the topic of back-links and search engine optimisation in more detail…


First: Let’s Go Back To Back-Linking Basics

Are you familiar with ”The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine” written by Sergey Brin & Larry Page? If not, get yourself a coffee and a comfortable chair, it’s quite a long (read:technical & boring) read.

Back in the day (1998), the main focus of Google was to improve the quality of search results using metrics based on how webpages were linked to each other. At the time, no other search engine worked this way). Google’s evaluation of back-links between webpages gave us “PageRank” which awarded more points to the pages that had higher number of links pointing to them. More than a year ago Google killed the PageRank score. So what’s left? We know on the basis of the original innovation that Google still relies heavily on back-links, but the metrics and scoring associated with them has clearly shifted towards quality & relevance. Back-links are far from gone, they are as crucial as they were when Google’s search engine first landed. However, the importance on quality linking seems to be higher than ever. Quality links from high authority domains are like thumbs up for your content or business. In this way, back-links are a clear signal to the search engine that your site is valuable. With the old-school PageRank model it was relatively easy to manipulate a website’s ranking on Google. Nowadays, quality outranks quantity. The only sure-fire and safe way to improve visibility on Google is with a good quality back-link profile from reputable websites.


Which Backlinks Are The Most Sought After?

Not all back-links are created equal. You should pay attention to the links that are point to your site. Some can cause penalties, or generally hinder your visibility on Google.ie. Google search algorithms are getting better and better at identifying low quality & spammy links. If any manipulation of the search engine is found out, the reality for your business can be devastating. If your back-links are solely designed to boost Google rankings, you risk your reputation with the most popular search engine available, and this can badly damage your website domain name’s viability.

Good back-links should;

  1. drive quality and relevant traffic to your site and/or,
  2. reference your top quality content as a source.

Ok, But How Do I Get Better Quality Back-links?

Google wants to make sure that their search engine results aren’t tampered with. The best approach to acquiring a clean and organic back-link profile tends to involve;

  1. Publishing the best information the web has ever seen on a subject or topic.
  2. Focussing on creativity, engagement, and usefulness.
  3. Understanding what online traffic wants from your website and giving them what they want.
  4. Promoting content to relevant online audiences.

Other concepts to improve your off-page profile include considering partnerships/sponsorships with other company websites, improving the graphic design and user experience of your website, or keeping your SEO professional well fed, happy, and perhaps get him/her some sunlight every now and again.


Food For Thought

It helps to consider that the web has existed for a long time now. A long time before Facebook, and a little before Google gave us a great search engine. Google search has a job to do based on how the world wide web works, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Google doesn’t control how the world wide web works, it just indexes and catalogues it. So anything that happens naturally on the web, based on real people or real businesses engaging with each other will win the day!


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