Do backlinks still matter?
Oh boy, one of the most boring topics in the internet world. Yeah, it’s SEO. I said it deal with it!
Personally, I have spent so much of my career learning the ends and outs of SEO. But, this isn’t going to be another rehashed article that tells you to go out there and get authority backlinks pointing to your website.
I hope to clear up some questions about “do backlinks still matter in 2019”?
First and foremost there’s a lot of content online about SEO. If you think about it how many WSO’s on the warriorforum.com, forum threads on blackhatworld.com, a crappy Clickbank e-book, a video on YouTube, or just some random article you came a crossed on Google have you seen on backlinks?
Chances are whatever you’ve read on backlinks is rehashed, outdated, or just flat out false information.
It’s really quite sad if you think about it. The SEO Industry as a whole kind of gets a bad name. Then an experience bloggers, self-proclaimed gurus, etc. rehash the false information and spread it around the Internet. It’s really a cycle that’s been going around for over 10 years.
Why I Stopped Doing SEO For Businesses
To be honest with you it’s like pulling teeth.
The SEO industry is rough. Real rough!
First, I really like being independent and answering peoples questions gets really old after awhile.
I have explained the same thing over and over to dozens of people. It gets to the point where I hate hearing myself talk. But, dude I need some authority backlinks can you help me out? Why are company XYZ ranking number one on Google and I am only on the 8th page of Google?
So imagine you’re an SEO guy/girl and you’re working with a company and they just want rankings. They have their five-page website. Ok, maybe it’s 10 pages.
Their articles are 200 to 400 words (which is a bad idea). They want you to rank their website for some very competitive keywords. Also, did I mention their business website was designed on Wix. Not to mention, their budget is $200-300 a month!
Crap, where do I start with what needs to be done to actually get your businesses website to rank!
Personally, I have talked to several different companies and I told them they need to focus on lower competition keywords because their likelihood of getting ranked realistically isn’t going to happen.
This shows one of the reasons I stopped doing SEO for businesses.
But, for me building my own websites and selling them for profit is much more lucrative and I don’t have to go back and forth with businesses.
Google has hinted for a long time that it’s been cracking down on websites that are trying to “game” their algorithm. Check out this article written by KissMetrics.com. Everyone remembers The Panda and Penguin algorithms rolled out by Google. One algorithm was rolled out to penalize websites with thin content. Another algorithm was rolled out to penalize spammy me backlink profiles.
Bad Backlink Building Tactics
Having said that just look around on the Internet and you’ll still see people advocating these backlink building methods:
- Private blog networks. Google cut down on private blog networks many years ago. See this article by SearchEngineLand.com. But still to this day as your “gurus” are still trying to tell you to build a private blog network. They might work for a little while. Meaning, your traffic will increase and you’ll be on the top page of Google but after Google finds out they will take action on your website. Then you have a new problem to deal with. All your organic traffic will go away and you might never recover.
- Blog commenting. Seriously, I don’t know how many times I have seen people promoting blog commenting services. A lot of them use automated tools which are bad news in terms of SEO. They are complete crap I don’t care if they’re “dofollow” links. If anything this just hurts you by making your backlink profile look spammy. Not to mention you shouldn’t ever do blog commenting to build backlinks in the first place. Anytime I do blog commenting I am just leaving something of value and building a relationship with the website owner. I am not doing it for a backlink.
- High PR backlinks. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Google stop updating PageRank years ago. But what’s funny is people still think of the whole PageRank metric that actually helps you rank on Google. In the words of Micheal Irving, “C’mon man”.
- Social bookmarking links. Another garbage service that does nothing to help you in the search engines. Who cares about a bunch of automated programs have shared your content. Could it help for easier keywords that are of low competition? Possibly, but is that going to really help you? Chances are you’re just building a spammy backlink profile. This also relates to people use Squidoo, Hubpages, Weebly blogs, etc. because of the belief it helps pass some link juice to your website.
- Article marketing. Really, do I even need to elaborate on this tactic? They don’t really hold much value at all. Even worse when you spin your content and zap it out to hundreds of websites. Chances are you’re going to have another problem to deal with whenever Google drops the hammer on you.
Really the list could go on and on with crappy backlink building strategies I’ve seen over the years. You want a longer list of crappy backlink building tactics. Hop over to Fiverr.com and pretty much everything SEO related on there is a waste of money. But what I find really funny is people keep trying to game Google. But, if people would just smell the roses and wake up and do stuff correctly they would actually see better results with their SEO strategies.
What you should really be focusing on
Anybody that’s been in the SEO industry for any time can tell you content matters on your site. I’m sure you’ve heard the words “content is king” 1 million times already. But what does this mean? It means this. You need to have content on your site that is quality written content, entertaining to read, the longer your articles the better. Typically every article I write I want to be over 1,000 words minimum. Obviously, there are no set limits but the longer the better, as long as it’s just not constant rambling.
User engagement is so important. I consider it to be one of the biggest indicators that Google looks at. Think of it this way if people are actively commenting on your website then there’s a pretty good chance that the quality of the site is pretty decent. Therefore, over time Google will end up ranking it higher in their index.
So this simply means you create an article and get comments on it. Each and every one of your articles you should focus on getting quality comments on it. By quality comments I mean people asking questions and you answering them, starting the discussion linking to your other articles, and generally just helping people out. This approach does not work with comments. Instead, it’s not about you it’s about helping others out.
Over the years, I have found that consistent user engagement is what really helps tremendously with your SEO. If you can publish an article once a week and get 5,10 20,30 comments on it; you will notice gains on Google over time.
Videos are so powerful for SEO, but more importantly for the user engagement. I don’t know about you but when I go to a website and I see 4000 words I get a little overwhelmed at all the content I’m going to have to read. Therefore if I can just watch a video I will do it every time. People are impatient when they read online. Therefore, make a short 3-minute video at the top of your page that discusses most of what you have written about in your article. If people want to dig further they will read your article.
I believe that Google really favors articles that have YouTube videos on them. Google bought YouTube several years ago. So I wouldn’t use any other video service because I believe they favor their own network. This is just speculation, but have you ever done a Google search for something and clicked on videos? What shows up there? YouTube videos, not Vimeo ones? So, clearly use YouTube!
Social Media Engagement
Let’s face it SEO is boring as hell. So focus less on your SEO and use social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. You should never focus on how many followers or likes you have. Instead, make sure you focus on quality engagement. Are people asking questions? Are you replying to them? Most importantly, are you helping people out?
Further Reading On Backlinks & Whether They Matter
I did a lot of research when writing this article. It seems that a lot of established SEO’s believe backlinks matter. However, I disagree and don’t pay much attention to backlinks. Here are some links you can check out which talk about backlinks:
- Feldmancreative.com – Do Backlinks Still Matter
- Digitaldoughnut.com – Back To Backlinks: Why They Still Matter To SEO
- Ducttapemarketing.com – Why Backlinks Still Matter
So Do Backlinks Really Matter In 2019
To be 100% honest with you I don’t even build backlinks anymore for websites I develop. I haven’t built one backlink in over 3 years now. People get so caught up in the rankings in Google and what can I do to get ranked number one. But if they would just focus more on creating sites that have a lot of engagement they wouldn’t ever have to worry about the rankings on Google.
I will say it again because it’s important that you know this. Stop building low-value websites with poor content, purchasing backlinks, and then wondering why it doesn’t rank in Google.
You have to create high-quality websites if you want them to rank on Google. You might end up “gaming” Google for a little while. But, once they find out you’re doing something dodgy you will probably try to recover your rankings for a while. Or who knows maybe you will be forced to start all over again. It’s a cycle I have seen over and over again in all the years I have been in the SEO field.
Backlinks don’t matter really all that much so don’t worry about them.
Do you agree or disagree with this article? Do you believe backlinks matter anymore? Leave your comments down below.