Upside-Down Thinking by Patric Fransko
by Patric Fransko
December 7th, 2016

The Real Truth about Backlinks and How They Affect Your Search Ranking

Much has been said over the years about backlinks and how they affect search ranking for your site. Because I consistently get asked about this, and there is a lot of confusion on this topic, I wanted to clear things up. chain

First, let’s begin with a bit of history on the subject. In the past, Google and other search engines used backlinks as a major determinant in search rankings. The thought was that if many sites were linking to your site, your site must be important and an authority on the subject matter. Therefore, they pushed those sites up in rankings for keyword searches related to that subject. This worked fine until some SEO people learned how to take advantage.

The technique they used was basically to get as many websites to link to a client’s website as possible. It didn’t matter if the site was relevant or related, just so the backlink existed. Businesses sprung up specifically to artificially add hundreds, if not thousands, of backlinks to a website for a fee. This technique caused those websites to spring to the top of search rankings. However, as they typically do, Google figured out what was happening and closed this loophole. They even went as far as to begin punishing websites with non-relevant backlinks. So, in the end, this technique actually hurt the websites that utilized it.

Fast forward to present day. Because many became aware of this backlink situation, rumors swirled that all backlinks were bad and that they hurt your SEO. That could not be further from the truth. What is true is that non-related and non-relevant backlinks can hurt your search ranking and having backlink farms generate hundreds of backlinks for you is not a good idea. That being said, backlinks from related, relevant and authoritative websites to yours still do have a beneficial effect on your search rankings.

These links from related and relevant sites are referred to as “Natural Links” by Google. Quoting Google, “Natural Links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors.” Did you catch that? The links that help you are from other sites finding content on your site to be helpful and then link to you. These links are still useful and used by Google when determining ranking for your site.

To summarize, creating good content and having relevant and related sites link back to your site can still be beneficial for your search ranking. Some of these links would come from industry partners and organizations like your film manufacturer, the IWFA, Window Film Pros, etc. In addition, they can come from you generating great content that people share on their site. You should be doing what you can to increase these backlinks. On the other side, avoid any activity that builds links on non-relevant / non-related sites as they can actually hurt your search rankings.

Hopefully this gives you some solid insight into backlinks, what to cultivate and what to avoid. Google has gotten way too smart with how they determine search rankings. If someone comes to you with a story of how they can magically get you to rank better seemingly overnight and it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

This blog is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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