Is Google really ditching backlinks? Is it not going to count for something now just because everyone’s buying or courting backlinks from major publications?
I have about 2 hours to write tonight. It’s Sunday.
But I’ve promised to write something (anything!) every week (I am not always successful with this, unfortunately – life happens) so, this is going to be about something that totally struck me as odd and quite befuddling.
Something I scraped off the news and it’s got to do with SEO and backlinks.
According to Jonathan Maxim, who is an app founder, growth marketer, and a yogi nerd, he wrote that in 2020, search engines, particularly Google, will no longer be focusing on backlinks. It’s a headliner because he was writing for Forbes.
Backlinks have always been a touchy issue with SEO workers all around the world, regardless of your industry. Everyone draws a line they don’t want to cross in order not to get into search engine’s bad books but our lines are not always the same.
And the rules keep changing.
It’s like playing basketball and one day, the International Basketball Federation announces that everybody’s now allowed to go into the ‘D’. A few weeks later, they tell you they’re redrawing the basketball court.
What a ball.
I don’t totally get why Google would put quality backlinks in the back burner now because it is not easy to get backlinks from huge websites in the first place. For one, you’ve got to pay big money for them. Secondly, it may only be temporary.
What’s true, however, is that Google started realizing how everyone in the SEO biz is starting to court links from major websites.
Keeping Search Engine Manipulators At Bay
On one hand, I see what Google is trying to do…to keep things authentic and from being manipulated by SEO people. It gives out manual penalties strictly but not liberally.
Once striking out, it’s hard to clamor your way back up to the top especially if the search engine believes, without a smidgen of doubt, that you’ve tried to rank artificially.
As it turns out, getting a backlink from sites like CNN or TheAtlantic will not automatically put you in the good graces of the merciless Almighty Google. It now ranks sites by categories and uses human reviewers to go through the credibility and rankability of websites that wanders into its radar.
Again…Content is King
What it focuses on now, (I can’t believe I am saying this again…and again and again), it boils down to content, REAL content. They’ve called it many different names before this – dynamic content, rich content, conversational content, informational content…the likes.
But according to the writer of the above article, he believes that the worth, depth, and differentiation of your content matters more than the number of backlinks you’re getting from top-ranking sites.
Part of the reason I am writing about SEO and SERP ranking is that it is a common challenge for SEO people to convince business owners about the importance of keeping the SEO work going.
To be on top of things, changing, and moving.
Google The Ad Monster
Unlike paid advertising where you see results and analytics at the end of each campaign, you don’t see the result of SEO until a couple of months later. Maybe even a few years, who knows? But it is not going away.
We can argue that Google has become an ad platform, raking in a planet worth of dollars every single day like MIDAS, but at the end of the day, it’s still a search engine. It has to serve people who are using it to search for relevant results. Search is its backbone and it’s not going away no matter how many ad dollars they’re being paid.
But people get impatient with SEO because it’s freaking tedious, tiring, frustrating, and it’s hard to explain SEO to people who are not in the business.
Even if they know, they’re not 100% behind the process. I tell people all the time, Google rewards consistency, relevance, persistence, and longevity.
At the end of the day, comparing ad click-throughs and clicks through SERPs, the latter still wins. Generally, consumers like you and I still avoid ads like The Plague.
I can’t honestly remember the last time I consciously clicked on an ad.
Ascend With the Right Content
So, how do people like me try to help businesses and website owners rank higher and better than their competitors? We work our asses off? Yeah, that sums it up.
It’s something Backlinko calls ‘The Skyscraper Technique’ but the gist of it is that you find something that is already receiving a lot of backlinks and making a lot of noise out there. You then recreate something similar but ONLY BETTER! Find the loopholes they’ve not covered, if they’re outdated, update yours, make your content clearer, be more concise, and easy to understand.
And then get those on your mailing list or people who are already linking to the original content to link back to YOUR article.
But if it is true that Google is no longer going to weigh backlinks with their algorithm, I don’t really think it holds much water or it could be temporary.
Starting Your SEO Journey
If you’re new to SEO, you can start your journey at Google Developers, SEJ, Backlinko, or NeilPatel. These are just a few of my favorite SEO websites. There’s tons of stuff in those sites to browse through and learn from. SEJ’s been around as long as I have been in the SEO business. We’re the same age. #lol
But if you want to know more about penalties and how not to piss Google (and other search engines off), have a quick read of this. It’ll start you off on the right foot.
OK. I am done for now. As short as this article was, I hope there were some takeaways for you.
Happy SEOing. 💪
I am a yogi nerd who is into digital marketing, SEO, content strategy and production, social media marketing, and everything Internet. But on off days, I prefer a really good book and get drunk at the smell of a library. I try to keep up with the youngs of the modern day on social media so, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. Nope, so far, still not gonna hop onto the TikTok train. I also publish some stuff on Medium so, there’s quite a bit to digest there as well.
Anyway, you can let me know what you think of the context of this article or the world in general over here on this form. I try to read everything but….caveat…sometimes I fail. 🤷😂