It’s no secret that backlinks play a vital role in boosting your search engine rankings.

In theory, backlinks improve your rankings because search engines view the quality and quantity of the links as authoritative, therefore showcasing value from other websites. This means, the more backlinks you gain, the higher your website can rank for in terms of search.

It’s also important to note, that the more you gain, the more you increase your domain authority; Google doesn’t take domain authority into account when looking at rankings though.

However, with recent Google updates that have resulted in fluctuating rankings, many search engine optimisers have begun to ask if backlinks are still relevant in 2023.

What Are Backlinks?

The first thing we need to understand is what exactly is a backlink?

Backlinks are links from one website to another, often known as inbound links or incoming links.

The main types of backlinks to understand are the following:

  • Dofollow: dofollow links allow Google and other search engine/site crawlers to point back to your blog. When you insert a dofollow link on your website or content, it will point back to you. Therefore, when you’re being linked to from other sites with a dofollow link, it’s showing search engines that that business is referencing you – the more you have, the more authority you have in the industry and the more search engines will trust you.
  • Nofollow: as the name states, a nofollow link is a link that does not count as a point in the pages favour. It doesn’t boost page ranks as when search engine crawlers are reading a site, the nofollow is telling the search engines not to follow, or not to go to your site. Essentially, a nofollow link is telling search engines to ignore that link.

The Evolution of Backlinks in SEO: Why Are They Important in SEO?

Backlinks have always been an important component of SEO, and their value has only grown as search engine algorithms have gotten more complex.  This is because a website that connects to another website is essentially declaring that the linked information is worthwhile, trustworthy, and useful.

Before, the number of backlinks was one of the most important elements in search engine results. This meant that search engine optimisers would prioritise quantity over quality and would use low-quality strategies, such as link farms and spamming guest blogging in order to obtain as many backlinks as possible. Search engines, on the other hand, learned to recognise these methods and began penalising websites that engaged in them.

Search engine algorithms have gotten more intricate in recent years, with criteria such as content relevancy, user experience, mobile friendliness, and accessibility becoming increasingly significant (core web vitals).

Are Backlinks Still Relevant in 2023 With Constant Algorithm Updates?

As is always the way in SEO, there is no right or wrong answer here. Whilst link building is still relevant, the significance has decreased. Search engines are already adapting their algorithms and, with that, links are often no longer being deemed as important as they once were. They are still crucial for SEO, but their role has somewhat evolved. It’s no longer about the number but the quality of them.

How Link Building Should Be Done in 2023 & Beyond

Google’s December 2022 link spam update has had a significant impact on the way link building should be done in 2023. Whilst high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites can significantly boost a website’s search engine ranking and increase its visibility in search engine results pages; low-quality or spammy backlinks can have the opposite effect and harm a website’s ranking.

Google’s SpamBrain is a spam-detection algorithm that has been designed to find those low-quality, spammy links and remove the websites from the search results. SpamBrain detected 5 times more spam sites compared to 2021 and 200 times compared to when it first launched.

With a crackdown on duplicate content and content that looks like spam (even if it’s not), it’s become important that the content you upload to your website is just as vital as those linking back to it.

How to Get Quality Backlinks

The quality of backlinks depends on several factors, including the relevance of the linking website, the anchor text used, and the domain authority of the linking site. There is now greater emphasis on content relevance and user experience. This means that backlinks from websites with related content or a similar audience are more valuable than links from irrelevant or low-quality sites.

The ultimate goal should be for your content to generate links organically, providing insightful information that others will want to reference and use as a source. With all links not being equal, this can prove to be difficult and high risk, but the results can be very rewarding.

If you need help gaining backlinks or creating content which will do so organically, get in touch with Logic Design who will be happy to help.