Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked

Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked

Does your mental alarm go off with a loud “spam! spam!” when I mention the term “link building”? That’s because of some antiquated procedures that were, to be honest, really spammy. Although some of those techniques are being used today, link building is essentially a healthy and highly significant SEO strategy.

Many people find link building to be an SEO mystery, particularly those who have owned websites for ten years or longer. In the past, SEO specialists and companies employed a more covert method (Open Link in new window) to boost ranks, with little to no transparency on the location and methodology of link building. But, SEO companies and experts also enhanced their link-building strategies as Google expanded and refined their algorithm.

If I claimed that spammy behaviors were disappeared, I would be lying. They are still in place, though it’s questionable how much they contribute to higher ranks now that Google is so much more adept at identifying and penalizing spam.

We now know that link building is no longer considered to be “always spam,” but what does it actually entail? How do we know it matters so much even now? What kind of links are truly beneficial?

Top 5 link building myths debunked

Like SEO in general, link development is shrouded in mystery and folklore. Let’s dispel some myths around link building.

Myth 1: Backlinks don’t matter as much anymore.

Factual statement: Although unscrupulous link-building techniques have decreased, link building has not and is still very significant.

Google rankings and the quantity of backlinks to your website are positively correlated, according to research from Backlinko and Ahrefs. “Pages with lots of backlinks rank above pages that don’t have as many backlinks,” claims Backlinko(Open Link in new window). Actually, compared to positions #2–#10, the top Google result has 3.8 times more backlinks on average.

Check out this Ahrefs graph (Open Link in new window) showing the relationship between search traffic and the quantity of referring domains, or links:

Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked
Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked

The lesson is: More traffic equals more links.

A comparable graph, provided by Backlinko, compares search position (rankings) to referring domains (links):

Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked
Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked

Having more links equates to higher ranks.

Myth 2: It’s just the sheer number of links your site has that matters the most.

Fact: Although backlink quantity is crucial, the most important links come from reputable, high-quality pages and domains.

For this answer, we may go right to the source—Google. Google provides the following explanation in an article titled “Steps to a Google-friendly site” in the Search Console Help Center:

Links can increase your website’s exposure in our search results and make it easier for our crawlers to reach it. Google employs advanced text-matching algorithms to present pages that are pertinent and significant to each search when providing results. A link from page A to page B is seen by Google as a vote in favor of page B from page A. Votes from pages that consider themselves to be “important” carry greater weight and contribute to the “importantness” of other pages.

That seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? The finest links come from significant pages. However, what on earth is “important”?

Also Read: The Importance of Backlinks in SEO

Authority equals importance in this instance. A few brief facts about authority:

  • A website’s domain authority can be a fairly reliable measure of its authority. But take note: domain authority is not a particular Google ranking criterion; rather, it is a number created by Moz.
  • Expertise and trust are equally significant because authority is a component of Google’s E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) guidelines. A link pointing to your material from a highly reputable, authoritative, and knowledgeable website will carry more weight than one from, say, a random person’s blog that they started a few weeks ago.
  • Take subject authority into account as well. Simply put, subject authority refers to the fact that the author of the content is a human authority on the issue. For instance, let’s say that your SAAS business provides services and payroll software. Authority links come from websites such as Fit Small Business, NerdWallet, and Capterra. Although ClearVoice isn’t an authority in payroll software, a link from them would still be acceptable and help you rank higher than the rest.
Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked
Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked

Myth 3: Social media links don’t matter and don’t help your rankings.

Fact: Links from social media platforms are considered “mentions” that support the authority of your content and should not be disregarded.

Google has said clearly that social media is not a direct determinant of ranking. Though social network likes and links don’t directly affect results, there is a correlation between an active, engaging social media presence and search engine ranks, according to speculation and research conducted within the SEO community.

Google’s 200 ranking factors are listed by Backlinko and include:

  • Site Has Facebook Page and Likes
  • Site has Twitter Profile with Followers
  • Official Linkedin Company Page
  • Legitimacy of Social Media Accounts

Apart from that, I like this way that OptinMonster puts it:

“Although social media may not directly affect Google’s ranking, it can accentuate the factors that Google DOES take into account.”

For example, it’s already well-established that Google values links of a high caliber. Your material gets more exposure on social media because more people see it, share it, and maybe link to it from their own content.

Social media also aids in exposing your material to viewers who may not have previously seen or heard of you. They might bookmark your website or run a branded search for you later if they find your material interesting. Backlinko’s list includes both branded searches and direct visits (via the bookmark) as Google ranking variables.

Myth 4: Links should be built to your most important pages, like service pages.

Fact: A natural link profile, or one that appears to be linked to by other websites voluntarily, is what Google looks for in a link profile. Among the pages that are least likely to automatically receive links are your service pages. Put simply, don’t do that.

Would a few links pointing to your service pages be detrimental? No. However, it will appear strange to devote your time and energy to a link-building strategy that is exclusive to your service pages.

It seems sense that you would want to increase the authority of your service pages as those are the ones that are most likely to result in income.

These are some strategies for establishing links to your service pages that are more in line with Google’s natural link requirements.

  • Make amazing material that is pertinent to your industry and include a few shrewd contextual links pointing to your service pages in it. After that, this material serves as top-of-funnel marketing, drawing visitors to your service pages.
  • Increase online brand mentions and organic backlinks pointing to your homepage.
  • Promote your services and content on social media.

Visit Search Engine Journal to find out more about constructing natural links.

Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked
Top 5 Link Building Myths Debunked

Myth 5: Exact match anchor text is the way to go!

Fact: Using exact match anchor text is out of style because it doesn’t appear natural.

When link building first started off, SEOs would create links with phrases like “best locksmith in Minneapolis” for our locksmith clients or “Minneapolis MN HVAC service” for our HVAC clients. We would utilize the keyword term we wanted to rank for as the link text.

The aforementioned is essentially keyword stuffing, which is no longer acceptable. In fact, Google updated their Panda algorithm to include it because they now consider it to be spam. If there are too many exact match links on your website, it can be punished.

Rather, what Google is searching for are varied anchor texts, which naturally occur when websites link to yours. For instance, this post contains three links to Backlinko’s list of Google’s 200 ranking variables. I used the following anchor text:

  • “Backlinko”
  • “list of Google’s 200 ranking factors”
  • “Backlinko’s list”

I used the list as references in my own writing in all logical places. According to Google, this is “natural.”

To put it briefly, all you have to do (when you have control over what your link will be) is change your anchor text. Because you’ve published fantastic material that is being shared and cited all over the internet, hopefully you’ll be linked to in a ton of ways that you really have no control over!

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