Perhaps you’ve heard backlinks don’t matter anymore or they do more harm than good. Is that true? Not really. There are still significant benefits of backlinks. While they are no longer a direct rank factor, they still have the potential to increase domain authority – or lower it. And a properly placed backlink can also generate traffic.
What’s a Backlink and Why is Google Interested?
Google is an answer machine. People type in their questions to the search bar and Google’s mission is to give them the best answer possible. They used to look at the number of other domains linking to your site to determine if you had the best answers. They call these backlinks. One website includes a link that opens an article or page on another website.
The idea used to be if other sites linked to yours, you must know what you’re talking about. You had authority. The more backlinks you had, the higher you ranked. This set off an explosion of effort, some legitimate and some not so much, to gather as many backlinks as possible.
So What’s the Problem?
Many of these backlinks were far from legitimate and in many cases bought and paid for. Companies formed with the sole purpose of placing backlinks on sites and in articles they had absolutely nothing to do with. The volume of backlinks a website has is no longer an appropriate indicator that your site provides valuable information.
Scenarios to Consider When Measuring the Benefits of Backlinks
Let’s consider a few scenarios where your backlink could be placed:
A) Site generated for the sole purpose of placing backlinks in articles. No relevance to your content at all.
B) Site about a completely unrelated topic but receives 8 million visits per month.
C) Site with content related to your topic but only has 100 visits per month.
D) Site that receives 400k visits per month about a relevant topic.
Where would you want your backlink placed?
Quality vs. Quantity When Measuring Benefits of Backlinks
Now consider the cost and what value you achieve to have backlinks to your webpage put on any of the sites just described.
- What is the potential effect on your reputation if linked to the wrong site?
- Think about the monetary exchange for the site to allow a backlink to be placed in their content. Remember this is a form of advertising based on page real estate and their reputation.
Good Traffic, Relevant Content
This site has authority. They would probably want to vet you and your business thoroughly before making a consideration. In case it’s not obvious, this is the top choice. These sites offer the most benefits of backlinks. But with high value comes a higher price paid in effort. Getting a backlink here takes a personal approach for the site owners to consider adding you.
Relevant Content, Low Traffic
While this site has content in common with yours, because they have very low traffic, they are not a great option. They probably score lower than you in traffic and ranking. It’s a waste of your effort and will gain little to nothing. A backlink here might even help them instead of you.
High Traffic, Unrelated Content
This site isn’t even your target market. Because of the traffic they receive, it would likely cost a fortune because of the volume of views. Think commercials on Super Bowl Sunday. They would likely wonder why you even want to be there.
Dedicated Backlink Sites
This is the most common method of paid backlinks. They are sites that are filled with low-quality random articles. Site owners add your backlink to poorly written or generated verbiage. This method is cheap (usually in the $500-$1200/month range) and includes brief articles. No one reads these sites, and the articles usually contain no real comments or reader engagement.
While the benefits of backlinks you pay for being on these dedicated sites include a quick spike in your reports, it only looks good on paper. But does your traffic or conversion rates really change? Not likely.
There is also a risk. Often these pages end up creating a toxic result because it associates your site with inferior content. Remember the goal of earning domain authority? This could take months to bounce back from.
The Clear Advantage
Out of the 4 scenarios considered, 1000 backlinks on sites like A, B, and C wouldn’t even come close to matching the return on a single backlink negotiated for placement on a site like scenario D.
What Should You Do?
Take Inventory of Current Backlinks
Find out where your site has backlinks from. Read the articles on these sites especially the articles where they place your link. Vet these sites and their information. You are now associated with them.
Is this connection helping or hurting?
Evaluate the Quality of the Sites You are Linked To
Check our social media accounts for the sites your link is being placed on. Gauge the volume of activity and the general quality of engagement. Are their social media accounts full of fake users, no comments or bots? Or are actual people reading good content and talking about it?
Remove backlinks that don’t benefit you. Depending on how many, this may take a bit of time. But it will be worth it.
Build New Relationships for New Backlinks
Choose sites you want to be associated with that have relevant content to your own. Analyze their popularity and spend your efforts building a relationship of mutual benefit to help each other reap the benefits of backlinks.
Need Help to Make Sure You Are On The Right Track?
Press Hero can help you reap the benefits of backlinks the correct way. We will identify what backlinks are directed to your site and evaluate if they are helping or hurting. Then we can put you on the path to securing quality backlinks that protect your reputation and build your authority on the web.