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Are inbound links Still Important For SEO?

For a long time now external websites linking to your own have been a considered a major ranking factor. The types of links that the search engines consider valuable have changed quite considerably over the last couple of years meaning that it has caused concern with clients looking for SEO and also has begged the question from some of our clients – Do links even matter anymore?

Google have recently talked about how they have tested their search algorithm not taking in to account inbound links and they did not like how the results appeared. This goes to show that inbound links still have and will do for a long time have an effect and a significant one on a websites ranking performance.

So if links still count why are websites being penalised?

To put it in to simple terms you have to look at the association of your website and the link in question. In the extremist terms if your UK based website is linked to say a Japanese website that offers the web world very little and has 1000’s of blog comments to external websites then it is likely going to be considered by the search engines a poor quality link. Now if your website had 1000’s of these types of links then it may considered a manipulation of the search algorithm resulting in a penalty until you deal with the issue.

The search engines’ goal is to eradicate webspam links i.e websites that offer little to the internet and if your website is linking with these types of websites then you are likely going to be reprimanded for it.

So who should I be linking with?

Again to put it in to simplest terms, websites that you do and should want to be associated with such as websites that have been around a long time, that have developed a high trust with the search engines as well as on topic websites, social signals such as users of the social networks posting your content and webpages. Also developing authoritative social platforms which are updated regularly and interacting with your clients through them will show that you are both proactive and up to date.

Now the above has been put in to the simplest terms possible. A lot of work goes in to sourcing suitable linking partners. To rank a website not only do you need good quality links but the website needs to be of a high standard as well and offer the user a quality and interactive experience. A website won’t rank on links alone nor will it rank on content and good structure alone.

Seems like a minefield, how do I determine who to employ for my SEO?

These days there is a lot that goes in to an SEO strategy to get the ‘whole’ process right. Unfortunately there are a lot of SEO dinosaurs out there that are well behind Google and can do more harm than good. They will say the right things and offer a cheap price to gain the custom but not deliver results. This has left a lot of scepticism around SEO.
On the flip side there are still a lot of good SEO firms who take their time to research, develop and implement an SEO strategy achieving long term, consistent rankings. Any changes to search algorithms a pre-empted and strategy changed according to how current SEO should be done. These companies are often more expensive but offer a much higher return on investment over the course of the campaign.

For more information about Soap Agency’s SEO services please do get in touch.