There’s been a lot of talk in the SEO crowd about backlinks and Google’s perception of them this year. In a statement, Google implied that it was unethical to even ask for links to your website, and that companies that do so will face ranking penalties. However, they came out and clarified their statement, saying that you cannot “buy, sell, or ask for links that may violate our linking webmaster guidelines.” So in other words, it’s ok to ask online partners to share quality, original content that you’ve created, but you need to have a legitimate reason to do so. Attempting to manipulate search results by what Google calls a “Link Scheme” is considered a black hat practice and will ultimately hurt your rankings.
But how did we get here? In the early SEO days, search engines needed a way to rank websites without solely focusing on a website’s content or keywords. Frankly, the technology wasn’t quite there yet, so backlinks became the answer to this challenge.
Fast forward to today, where backlinks are still an essential part of Google’s 200+ ranking algorithms, but Google now has the ability to analyze web content, keyword use, and user experience. With this advancement also comes greater stipulations for how backlinks can be used, encouraging websites to take care in their link building practices and really take the time to understand where their links are coming from. This is all part of Google’s effort to improve their search engine results and provide the highest quality information to its users.
Learn how backlinks have progressed as an SEO tool and how to effectively and appropriately use them in a Prezi developed by the Assistant Manager of Mainstreethost’s SEO Department, Bob Royal, and Partner Program Coordinator, Dan Weber.