Ever since the first search engine was launched, backlinks have been a crucial component of SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a dynamic field constantly evolving as search engines refine their algorithms and user behavior changes. One key element that has stood the test of time in SEO strategy is backlinks.
As we step into 2024, the question arises: should backlinks continue to be a crucial component of your SEO strategy? Let’s explore the significance of backlinks in the contemporary digital landscape and how they contribute to a robust SEO strategy.
The Evolution of SEO
SEO is a constantly evolving field. Many factors can affect your website’s rankings, which can change over time. As such, SEO is not a short-term solution. It requires maintenance and upkeep to stay relevant.
That’s why almost every business in the world with a digital presence is investing in SEO. According to Research and Markets, the global SEO market was estimated to be $68.1 billion in the year 2022. It is further expected to reach $ 129.6 Billion by 2030.
SEO is also not a quick fix or magic bullet for all traffic problems. You shouldn’t expect your rankings to increase overnight after implementing new strategies on your website or blog posts. Instead, SEO should be considered part of an overall strategy that includes other channels like social media marketing, content marketing, and web design.
The Significance of Backlinks
Backlinks are a traffic source. They can bring new visitors to your site and increase engagement on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This can help boost organic reach and drive more qualified leads to your website.
Backlinks are an opportunity to build relationships with other sites with similar goals and interests. This is especially important if they’re authoritative sources of information within their niche market. It also helps establish trust between brands/businesses because it shows that people who already use them recommend others do so, too.
Search engines, like Google, consider backlinks as a vote of confidence from one website to another. The more high-quality and relevant backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to be seen as authoritative and trustworthy. Thus, quality backlinks can increase search engine rankings, visibility, and organic traffic.
Pros of Backlinks
One notable advantage of backlinks is their ability to establish a network of connections between different web pages. When reputable websites link to a particular page, it signals to search engines that the content is valuable and trustworthy. This interconnected web of links facilitates the flow of authority, boosting the linked page’s chances of ranking higher in search results.
In addition to SEO benefits, backlinks can drive targeted referral traffic to a website. When users click on a link from another site to reach a specific page, it can increase visibility and potential conversions. This referral traffic is often more valuable as it comes from users who have shown interest in related content.
Backlinks also contribute to building online relationships and partnerships within a particular industry. When websites link to each other’s content, it fosters collaboration and mutual support. This enhances the credibility of the linked content and opens up opportunities for collaborative projects, guest posts, and other forms of cooperation.
However, the sad thing is that despite their benefits, many web pages don’t have any backlinks. Backlinko recently analyzed around 11.8 million Google search results from 2023. It found that as many as 95% of the web pages had zero backlinks. This is still in line with another Backlinko study conducted in 2019.
Another problem with getting quality backlinks is that many businesses and individuals try to do it themselves. Although the concept can be easy, getting quality backlinks from high-authority sites is extremely challenging. Hence, it is wise to get the task done with the help of an SEO agency.
Getting backlinks requires creating quality content, inserting the right keywords, linking the right anchor text, etc. An SEO agency can help you with all these tasks to ensure your web pages rank higher on SERPs. Moreover, the SEO agency will have developed good SEO strategies that it can implement for you over the years. This can help you rank in both local and global SEO.
Cons of Backlinks
If you’re looking to increase your site’s search engine ranking, backlinks are the way to go. But they’re not without their drawbacks. Here are some of the biggest cons of backlinks:
- Low-quality backlinks: If your website accumulates low-quality or spammy backlinks, it can negatively impact your site’s credibility and search engine ranking. Search engines may penalize sites with an unnatural or manipulative link profile.
- Penalties from search engines: Search engines, such as Google, have algorithms in place to detect and penalize websites engaged in manipulative link-building practices. If your site is found to be violating guidelines, it may face penalties, including a drop in search rankings.
- Link devaluation: Search engines continually refine their algorithms and may devalue certain types of links over time. What was once considered a valuable backlink may lose significance, and the overall impact on your site’s ranking may diminish.
- Anchor text over-optimization: Search engines can see over-optimizing anchor text with exact-match keywords as manipulative. Natural and varied anchor text is generally preferred.
- Less referral traffic: Getting backlinks is challenging, but even if you get them, not all will get your referral traffic. According to a Blogging Wizard article, backlinks do not drive high referral traffic. For instance, the Search Engine Journal has 30,000 referring domains, but only 500 send real visitors. That is lower than 2%.
Are Backlinks Still Relevant in 2024
Yes, backlinks are still relevant in 2024. Many SEO experts think that the relevancy of backlinks has degraded. In fact, an X post from Marie Haynes, an SEO expert, shows that link-building has become less effective. Over 44% of the 900+ people who participated in the poll said they were not as effective as they were a few years ago.
It is true that the relevancy of backlinks has decreased a bit. However, they are still an important part of any SEO strategy. That’s because they certainly still have a good influence on SERPs. Think of it this way: Google finds and ranks pages by crawling, which can be done through links. Google’s bots traverse through links to rank pages. Hence, the more backlinks you have, the easier your web pages will be found by Google.
Alternative Strategies in 2024
As you’ve seen, backlinks are still an important part of SEO. But you shouldn’t expect them to be your only strategy for ranking in 2024. Instead, you should try other tactics that don’t rely on links.
Social media is one of the best marketing places. It’s free and easy to use, and it gives people a chance to learn about what you do without leaving Facebook or Twitter. Content marketing can include videos, images, and even GIFs.
If someone likes what they see on social media, they’ll likely click through to learn more about your business or services. Hence, even professional marketers are placing their bets on social media. According to HubSpot, 90% of social media marketers say building an active social community is important for success in social media strategy.
Another alternative is video marketing. It has been around since Google introduced YouTube in 2005, but now it’s more important than ever because video content gets higher rankings. This means if someone searches for “water damage restoration services near me,” then videos containing those keywords will appear higher up on SERP pages.
This can be extremely useful due to the high number of near-me searches. According to the Connection Model, the near-me searches have surged. Although the trend started due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many people still continue to shop online. They usually use near me in their searches, and if your video content shows high in SERPs, they may connect with your business instead of choosing someone else.
In conclusion, we hope this article has taught you some valuable lessons about backlinks and their role in SEO. As we’ve said before, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. However, with the rise of alternative strategies like content marketing and social media marketing, it’s important to keep up with new trends.