The Truth About Backlinks That You Must Know in 2023
In the words of Ann Smarty, Community Manager, Internet Marketing Ninjas, “You can optimize, you can make your site fast, you can create content. But at the end of the day, linking moves the needle to get that website ranking competitively”.
There is a growing misconception that backlinks don’t matter and won’t influence your rankings on SERPs. It is a myth, so I wrote this article to reveal the truth about backlinks.
What are backlinks in SEO?
Backlinks are links from one website to another. Sounds pretty straightforward.
However, there is more to it than meets the eye. If it were that easy, websites would acquire links and boost rankings on SERPs. Unfortunately for website owners and webmasters, all backlinks are not created equal.
As such, a better definition of backlinks in SEO will refer to high-quality links from one website to another.
Are all backlinks useful?
Countless SEO strategies exist that can help a website rank higher on SERPs. Nevertheless, backlinks are indispensable. I am not in any way implying that your website content won’t rank high on SERPs without backlinks.
Web pages targeting less competitive keywords will rank without necessarily having backlinks if the content is top-notch.
However, for more competitive keywords and niches, you’ll need a vote of confidence on the web, which only comes in the form of links; these backlinks will help you rank higher than your competitors on SERPs.
I will recommend getting contextual backlinks for your website for safe and long lasting SEO results.
10 Hard Truth About Backlinks You Still Don’t Know
1. Good backlinks are expensive
You must have seen ads offering backlinks at very affordable rates. What you must keep in mind is that not all backlinks are created equal. Some backlinks will skyrocket your website traffic and rankings on SERPs, while others will not.
Therefore, as a general rule, you will have to pay for backlinks; but you should know what you will get when paying for one. Although the truth about backlinks is that you can get some for free when you have linkable assets (content that’s worth linking to on your website), you’ll still have to pay for some.
Before you pay for any link building service, keep the following requirements in mind:
- Relevancy of the backlink for your website. Don’t just go around buying links.
- Analyze the content on the website you intend to get links from and access their publishing rate.
- Consider the Domain Authority of the website for at least the past year.
- Analyze the organic traffic of the website for at least the past year.
2. Link building requires patience.
As a business owner and a backlink expert, I understand the need for business owners to get a return on their investment as fast as possible.
However, it is very frustrating when a website owner reacts with disgust after I provide a rough estimate of over six months to get quality backlinks.
These website owners fail to consider that getting top-quality backlinks for a website is a strategic process that requires pinpoint execution.
Consider the following:
- Content creation.
- Crafting personalized outreach emails.
- Leveraging guest posts and also crafting guest post outreach emails.
- Testing and monitoring the strategies implemented to ensure they produce the intended results.
- Above all, analyzing the quality of the acquired backlinks.
3. What should you focus on: Quality or Quantity ?
Closely related to the previous point, quality backlinks will always beat quantity: Instead of targeting as many backlinks as possible, focus on getting more quality backlinks for your website.
Quality backlinks will always be more complex to acquire than quantity. Also, one quality backlink will generate better results than ten ordinary backlinks.
To determine the quality of a link, consider the following;
- Relevancy to your website.
- Domain Authority of the website.
- Monthly organic traffic of the website.
4. The amount of backlinks you have is Irrelevant
Avoid acquiring backlinks with the sole purpose of outnumbering those of your competitors.
Unfortunately, some link building experts and website owners think you must have more links than your competitors to get more traffic or rank higher on SERPs.
According to Brian Dean, search engines consider approx 200 factors before ranking one web content over another. Interestingly, backlinks are just one of those things.
You may have more backlinks than your competitor, but they may have better content, better traffic, faster loading website, or higher domain authority.
The truth about backlinks is that you need them, but it is not a race to see who will acquire more.
5. URL Vs. Domain Rating
One of the less-spoken truths about backlinks is that websites with a low Domain Rating (DR) can rank higher than those with a high DR.
We’ve seen this happen on SERPs. The reason for this isn’t independently related to the DR but could be due to other aspects i.e. content quality, on-page seo, page speed etc.
As such, links to websites with a high DR won’t guarantee top search engine rankings for your website.
On the other hand, URL rating (UR) refers to an Ahrefs metric that shows how strong a backlink profile is on a scale of 1-100.
The backlink profile contributes strongly to how your website ranks on SERPs. The ideal strategy is to analyze DR and UR ratings together to acquire a good backlink.
6. Which is more important: content or backlinks?
The importance of content in your link-building quest is arguably the most underrated truth about backlinks.
Sadly, some website owners and backlink experts focus more on backlinks forgetting about the content. There is even a debate on whether backlinks are more important than content.
Think about this for a moment; If you successfully increase traffic and rankings on SERPs with backlinks, what will generate leads and maybe conversions for you?
The answer is CONTENT. Content will always be king.
You need top-notch content to get natural links, and quality content to ensure that the links you acquired are a good return on investment.
7. Use targeted anchor text
The anchor text you use for back-links is crucial. Ensure that it is related to the content the link provides.
If you are to get a link to your content on “How to find guest blogging sites in no time”, the anchor text should be something like, “Click here to discover how you can find guest blogging sites in no time”.
Search engines will give more relevance to referring domains related to your content or niche.
Also, this strategy benefits search engines and humans because your click-through rate will increase when the person knows what that link provides.
8. Black hat link building = NO
The long-run effects of black hat link-building strategies are probably the most hidden truth about backlinks.
Black hat link-building specialists target the thirst for quick success most business owners have and make “too good to be true” promises.
Link building takes time and requires diligent planning.
9. Does link velocity matters?
While I may have assured you that link-building takes time, it’s essential to strike a balance when acquiring backlinks.
Having so many backlinks within a short time may trigger attention from search engines, and you could be penalized. I think link velocity is the most strategic truth about backlinks.
There’s a lot for you to consider. You must ensure that you progressively acquire links but not too much to trigger attention from search engines nor too slowly to give your competitors an upper hand.
10. Types of Backlinks to Target
The types of backlinks you choose to invest in will determine your link-building success or failure.
Some strategies will guarantee you better and faster backlinks than others. As an indispensable truth about backlinks, the ones you target matter.
Examples of backlinks you should target are:
- Guest posts ( Click here to learn how to find guest posting sites in no time)
- HARO ( Help-a-reporter-out ) is a platform where journalists ask to find solutions or quotes for their content.
- Round-up posts ( Creating content from responses you’ve gathered for your content. You’ll need to reach out to some people for responses and use them in your content ).
Which backlinks should you avoid?
Generally, avoid backlinks from websites that are not related to yours. Also, avoid links from websites specialized in selling links. Always check the following;
- Relevancy to your website
- Domain Authority of the website
- Monthly organic traffic of the website
Do backlinks matter anymore?
Amongst the several ranking factors search engines consider before ranking a piece of content, backlinks are arguably the most important.
Backlinks are a must to rank higher for competitive keywords. However, you could rank high on SERPs for less competitive keywords with less backlinks.
What makes a backlink toxic?
A backlink is toxic when it is acquired in the wrong way or from the wrong website. You should also check for broken links on your website; these are links from websites that are no longer active.
Nevertheless, Google’s John Mueller, in a recent Q&A, stated that search engines identify good links and will ignore useless links.
Does Google care about backlinks?
Yes, Google and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing care about backlinks. Backlinks help search engines know which content is worth ranking at the top of SERPs.
The goal of search engines is to provide the best user experience for searchers and to do this backlinks are indispensable.
How many backlinks are too many?
Getting so many backlinks within a short time frame will hint search engines at potential malpractices. Your website may be flagged, and you could be penalized.
We usually find the right number of required backlinks using Ahrefs’s tool and competitors backlink audits.
Conclusion: the truth about backlinks
A backlink serves as a vote of confidence from one website to another. Search engines track the relevancy and authority of these voted contents to ensure they suggest good results for searchers on the web.
The truth about backlinks shared above will help you know your way around link-building. I want to ensure that you reap the benefits of backlinks in 2023.
If you are looking for high-quality backlinks for your website, check out traffickite’s backlink services.
Are there any truths about backlinks I missed? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
I work as a blogger and SEO consultant. I’ve been working in search engine optimization and digital marketing since 2015. My goal is to provide useful SEO (on-page, off-page & technical) tips to help others increase the traffic to their websites.
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