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Debunking Common Backlink Myths

February 8, 2022

Sales calls are par for the course when you own a business, but lately, many companies are pushing backlink-buying schemes to help bolster your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). “Gaining 1,000 backlinks in one month” might sound intriguing, but it’s crucial to understand more about SEO and the role backlinks play in it before you spend any money on buying backlinks. 

Many factors are at play when it comes to SEO and achieving high ranks on search engines like Google, including backlinks. Simply put, backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website. While it’s true that websites with a high number of backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings, link building has changed significantly over the last decade. Here are some common myths to take note of when considering a link building strategy for your website:


SEO is All About Backlinks

One of the biggest backlinking myths is that SEO is all about these links. There is so much more to SEO than just creating backlinks; they are simply one component of an effective SEO strategy. In fact, there are more essential things to focus on if you want to create a website that will rank well in Google. These include:

Technical SEO: A process of optimizing the infrastructure of your website for the crawling and indexing of search engines. This deals with your website’s technical components, such as sitemaps, page speed, and site navigation. If done well, search engines will access, crawl, interpret, and index your site without complications.

On-Page SEO: The method of optimizing pages of your website for specific keywords to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. On-page SEO relates to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized. 

Off-Page SEO: Related to techniques you can use to improve a website’s position on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). At its core, Off-Page SEO is the method of promoting your website to rank higher on a search results page. 


The More Backlinks You Have, the Higher You Rank

As always, quality over quantity! A single high-quality backlink is worth more than thousands of low-quality backlinks. Spammy websites linking to your pages won’t carry the same weight as a link from a trusted, authoritative website or top industry publication. 

Similarly, having unique backlinks has more bearing on your website’s SEO than having tons of backlinks from the same few sites. 100 links from 100 different websites will rank you higher than a handful of websites linking you 1,000 times. 


Link Context Doesn’t Matter

Not all links are equal. Google rewards and gives the most significant authority to backlinks from a site that’s relevant to your content. Let’s say that you run a site about gardening. Several gardening blogs and home and garden magazines are linking to your site. Search engines will register those highly relevant backlinks and give your site’s search engine rankings a boost. But if, say, a nightclub is linking to your gardening site for some reason, search engines will find the connection irrelevant and the backlink won’t give your site a bump in the search results at all. And while there is no penalty for having too many “good” backlinks, having too many poor quality or irrelevant backlinks will prove detrimental to your SEO efforts.

Additionally, if your site is backlinked in a way that enhances a user’s experience rather than manipulates search engines, you’ll notice your ranks get a boost. “Editorial links” in blog posts and news articles that are intended to help readers find out more information or buy a recommended product are rewarded by search engines. If your website is linked in such a way, you might notice an increase in online traffic and a higher search engine rank.


Buying Backlinks Boosts Your Rankings Fast

Those backlink-buying schemes that promise higher rankings on Google should be completely disregarded. Buying links is a direct violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and getting caught penalizes your website. The penalty? Your search engine rank will plummet, and the money you spent trying to climb those ranks will have been wasted. Even if Google doesn’t catch you in the act, most companies asking for money in exchange for backlinks to your site will most likely link your content to irrelevant or spam pages, which could hurt your rankings more than help, anyways.


You Can’t Ask for Links

You might have heard that you should never ask people directly to link to your site. It might have never even crossed your mind that you could ask for links. But you absolutely can! Asking for links is a great way to get them, but it is crucial to do it the right way. As long as you are genuine in your request and don’t come across as being “spammy,” you’re in the clear. For example, if you notice a broken link in someone’s article or blog post that could be replaced by content that lives on your site, you can send an email to the writer. Politely inform them of the broken link and suggest it be replaced with your relevant content. Situations like this can be a win-win: you get a worthwhile backlink and more eyes on your site, and the journalist or blogger can continue to service their readers!


Guest Posting for Link Building No Longer Helps

Guest posting is a great way to generate backlinks to your site, but it matters where your posts go and what they are about. For years, spammers and those that were trying to build backlinks exclusively to increase their amount would create content irrelevant to the site to which they were backlinking, or they’d share backlinked content to random sites with no real domain authority. However, writing guest articles for quality websites relevant to your site’s content and adding a backlink to your site in your byline is a fantastic way to generate high-quality backlinks for your site. 


Backlinks Are Forever

No, just because a site linked to you once does not mean that that link will exist forever. This is both good and bad news for your site. The bad news? Any backlink from a “good” website with a high domain authority or high relevance to your content could swap out your link for someone else’s at any time. That could lead to your site’s rankings taking a bit of a hit.

But the good news? “Toxic backlinks” can be removed, too! Toxic backlinks are links that are hurting your website’s search engine rankings. They typically come from low-quality or suspicious websites (often the kinds of sites you’ll get linked to if you are buying backlinks). There are backlink audit tools available online that can help you review your backlinks, identify toxic links, and generate and submit a list of the toxic links you’d like to disavow to Google. If you know your site isn’t ranking well, auditing and clearing toxic backlinks from your site may help. 


Fully understanding the use of backlinks in your SEO strategy can be tricky, and numerous other factors can increase your website’s ranking on search engines like Google. Contact the experts at TOTAL Advertising to help you improve your SEO strategy in the right ways.