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Don’t Mess with Google.

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Backlinks Are Not the Answer to SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complicated beast. We work to fully understand and advise our clients every day about the best techniques for being found in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Although it really takes an expert to handle this thoroughly and on an ongoing basis, there are some basics everyone can understand and implement.

A Lesson in Backlinks

  • Backlinks are not all good.
  • Too many backlinks can be troublesome and “spammy” backlinks can be harmful.
  • Site Quality and rich, useful content is most important.

What is a Backlink?

One area of SEO that we work to help our clients understand is backlinks. A backlink is simply clickable text on a website that links back to your website. Google has used backlinks for nearly 20 years as a ranking signal for keyword searches. Backlinks were seen by the search giant as signs that a particular website was important or credible. The thought was, if lots of other sites link to it, then it must be worthwhile and of value. This simple metric helped Google decide who should come up first in online search queries. But all of that has changed.

Backlinks are Not All Good

Backlinks are not all good. Far too many internet marketing firms still regard all backlinks as good and it is hurting their clients. There was a time (before the Penguin Update in 2013) when having lots of links was beneficial, it is no longer true. On the contrary, the smart geeks at Google have found a way to catch spammy link builders and is punishing sites using them!

Too Many Backlinks Can Be Troublesome and Spammy Backlinks Can Be Harmful.

Google has matured and it’s metrics and algorithms get smarter every day. The search giant wants to see quality over quantity when it comes to link structure. So if there are lots of backlinks to a website from just a small number of sources as in our example below, Google will catch you and penalize your site.


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This month we began to work with a new client. This enthusiastic, hard-working entrepreneur deserves to do well. Although we have warned him to steer clear of any kind of “scammy” online practices, he is convinced he can supercharge his online rankings and get to the top of Google Search by working with a company that will buy him backlinks. Within a week he suddenly had 5001 backlinks from just 4 sources. Red flag waving to Google! Yikes !

Site Quality and Rich, Useful Content Wins in Search

In its “detailed tips for creating a Google-friendly site,” Google explains additional features of quality content:

Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.

Obviously this is not an overnight proposition. It is the story of the tortoise and the hare. Do your homework and in the long run it will pay off in better results in search.