Link Building & Backlinks: Are they still worth it?

All About Link Building & Backlinking Websites In Australia

The ever-changing landscape of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) keeps businesses and marketers on their toes. Internet users are growing by around five per cent every year (over 222 million between 2020-2021, and that’s not including social media), and most people now realise strong SEO is non-negotiable. With 75 per cent of searchers never going beyond the first page, achieving a top rank has never been more desirable for standing out and growing a site’s audience.

As an original SEO factor, backlinks were once the foundation of Google’s PageRank algorithm, and alongside a solid site structure would be all a website needed to swiftly climb up the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Today, Google’s algorithms are considerably more complex, and backlinking is just one of the hundreds of factors used to determine page rank – but they remain a key ranking signal.

In the now-saturated Wild West of digital marketing, the efficacy of link building is often disputed, however, many studies have proven it is a powerful way to improve website authority and should therefore be a top consideration for anyone serious about SEO.

If that’s you, read on.

What is a backlink?

Also known as inbound links, backlinks are a connection between two web pages, be it through a text, image or logo hyperlink. Think of a backlink like a referral, or a vote of confidence – a way of saying your page vouches for the content of another page. For example, this link to the extremely useful backlink checker tool from Semrush provides them with a backlink from us.

The more backlinks you have, the more credible your website appears to the search engines, and the more favourably it will be ranked. If multiple sources are linking to the same page, that page will be assumed to have authentic, high-quality content, raising its visibility and thus increasing the likelihood of even further backlinks.

You can see how this effect can snowball. On average, the number one Google result has 3.8 times as many backlinks as positions 2-10. The key is ensuring the backlinks are quality. Not all backlinks are created equal, and we’ll soon cover how you can tell the difference.

Link building is otherwise known as back linking, which is actively requesting links from business peers

It is important to note backlinks must link to other websites, or they are considered internal links, which are a different tool (but when used strategically, can also have a positive effect on SEO). Only the recipient of the backlink gains the boost to authority, so unfortunately peppering hundreds of links to credible websites will not be enough to improve your own page ranking – they have to link to you.

There are a few different types of backlinks including dofollow, nofollow, sponsored and ugc.

Dofollow backlinks pass authority from the source page to the linked one, while nofollow pages do not. The latter is used when you are not seeking to endorse the content on the page you are linking to, and tells Google that you are not vouching for it.

Nofollow can also include the ugc and sponsored attributes. Ugc is useful for user-generated content – consider someone plugging their own website in the comments section of your blog post. As you are not necessarily an advocate for their content, you can simply change their link to ugc without needing to remove the comment entirely.

Finally, the extremely useful sponsored attribute offers the opportunity for site-owners to advertise with affiliate links on other credible pages, identifying them as sponsored partners.

Since the early days of Google, link exchanges have been a popular method for obtaining reciprocal backlinks and involve reaching out to relevant websites with an offer for a link to their page in exchange for a backlink to yours.

Certainly, there is a community-driven appeal to this “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” arrangement, but as you can imagine, it is not the most efficient of methods. Despite this, according to ahrefs almost half of all the highest organic ranking pages on Google have reciprocal links in place, so it is still a trusted and viable avenue.

So onto our most common link building question!

A customers laptop showing Google Analytics ranking and traffic

Can you pay for backlinks?

Building links takes a long time, so many people seek to expedite the process. One of the reasons backlinking has fallen out of favourability for some is the previous blackhat techniques in which they were sourced.

When website owners first realised they could spam backlinks to increase their ranking, that’s exactly what they did - cramming them in wherever they could to every corner of the internet, with no regard for relevance or quality.

It was not long before Google caught on, which is why today, websites are assessed by a series of criteria that contribute to a credibility score, referred to by many SEO as Domain Authority (coined by the team at Moz). DA is a rank of a domain in comparison with its competitors. Broadly, the higher a website’s score, the more impact a backlink from that website will improve SEO.

Here is where it gets a little confusing. Google claims that DA is not a factor in its ranking algorithms, instead having a similar metric for each individual page (as opposed to the entire domain). However, a high DA does correlate with more linking power, whether directly or indirectly. Regardless of the arbitrary score number, the easiest way to look at it is backlinks from reputable sites with high traffic are going to be the most valuable and beneficial for your page rank.

Rarely are these backlinks the ones available for bulk purchase. As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the backlink, the less it is worth, and those dirt-cheap backlinks from questionable sources are not only going to be largely ineffectual at increasing your page ranking, they might even be a detriment to it.

Buying backlinks was once against Google’s T&C, but as it is difficult to differentiate between a paid and organic link, these days backlinks simply have a high or a low score, and too many low scoring backlinks will position your page as less than credible.

Nowadays, purchasing backlinks has been streamlined with the use of sponsored placements, and is an effective way for businesses to increase their traffic and visibility through partnerships with relevant pages that have good authority.

So, yes, you can buy backlinks, but it is vital to ensure they are high quality. Does it come from a reputable page? Is the content relevant to your site or your audience? Will it improve the value of your content? These considerations will ensure purchased backlinks will work for you rather than against you.

What is content writing and why is it important?

Backlinking is but one tool in an SEO’s kit. Countless on-page optimisation techniques contribute to ranking in varying degrees, but the other primary consideration for improving SEO is through website content.

Web content is a broad term that defines the topic of your pages. It includes copy, images, videos, even the layout of the site itself. For the purposes of this article, we will use it to refer to content writing, or the text component of a website. This includes headlines, blogs, product descriptions, service information, about sections, contact pages – you get the idea.

Why is content writing important for SEO? Google is, in essence, an immense text library. Every (crawlable) page on the internet is included in this library, and the Google robots search through the text to determine the contents of a page.

Content really matters when building a website, high word count and good information can help your website get ranks and traffic

This is an (extremely) simplified explanation for how search works, and how Google knows what to show you on the SERPs in relation to your entered keywords. It’s how, when you type in, “40 under 40 perth", Google knows to rank Business News first.

Google has and likely always will prioritise pages with good content because it is near-impossible to “game the system” – there are no shortcuts to high-quality writing.

So, the better, more relevant, and higher quality your content is, the more chance you have of appearing when people search for you. The adage still rings true: content is king. It determines your site structure, provides value to your audience, and ultimately, is going to be what influences conversions. Many website owners ask whether backlinking or content is better for SEO. Usually, the correct answer is: pursue both.

Great content is how you earn great backlinks. Without it, there is no incentive for other pages to link to yours. And, if you have informative, relevant and engaging content, there is no reason you should not be using it to leverage link building where possible. Look at similar websites in your space, identify any pages that currently link to you or have in the past, and nosy around your competitors for inspiration. Your success will likely hinge on the strength of your content.

Google has and likely always will prioritise pages with good content because it is near-impossible to “game the system” – there are no shortcuts to high-quality writing.

Content writing can boost your websites google ranking performance and oraganic traffic

Can you buy content writing?

Content marketing is an increasingly popular tool for business owners, with Hubspot finding 83 per cent of marketers actively incorporating it into their strategies. When done correctly, content can market your products or services for you, generating awareness and building trust with your audience. It provides an opportunity for you to become a voice in your field and an authority within your industry.

However, not everyone has the skills, time or passion to be a writer. Strategising blog topics based on keywords and then putting them together is a time-consuming process, and ideally, you want your content to be posted regularly to stay relevant and fresh in the eyes of your target market.

This is where professional content writers come in. A reputable writer will conduct exhaustive keyword and competitor research to know exactly which content is going to resonate most with your audience. Content will be written in an engaging, interesting and informative way, adhering to best-practice SEO principles to ensure the highest possible search engine ranking.

SEO is a complicated field. Google prefers a particular content structure to easily identify the value and relevance of a page. Titles, paragraphs, even images need specific consideration and execution. Experienced SEO writers will produce and optimise your content for the search engines, so you can get back to the actual running of your business.

 

When enlisting a professional, it is worth looking at their existing body of work and ensuring they have a history of producing results. Many writers are capable of putting together good content, but without a sound knowledge of SEO, will there be any traffic to read it?

How much does backlinking and content affect rank?

Google’s algorithms are notoriously under well-guarded lock and key, and with such a combination of factors contributing to SEO, it is impossible to say for certain how much any one strategy impacts rank compared to another.

What Google has revealed is that quality content and backlinks are the two most important signals used by the search engine to determine rank.

The largest SEO agency in the United States, First Page Sage, has studied the algorithms extensively over the years and found backlinks can currently contribute up to 15 per cent of a website’s rank factor – one of the highest individual analytics.

Laptop showing customer analyzing website ranking to determine if they need backlinking or content writing

Combining these two metrics, a robust backlinking and SEO content creation strategy can improve ranking by some 41 per cent. For website owners looking to improve their position, this is an unmissable opportunity – and Business News is here to help.

Sitting at the very top is the consistent publication of engaging content, comprising a massive ranking factor of 26 per cent on average. In fact, the study found Google often rewards high-quality content with a first-page position mere days after publishing, making it by far the quickest way to increase traffic.

How can Business News help?

As an industry leader, we’re in the unique position of being able to assist with content marketing from some of Western’s Australia’s best award-winning journalists. Each has a distinct style and area of expertise, so no matter your niche, there is a perfectly matched writer to suit.

Our journalists are available to collaborate with you on sponsored content, published on our website and showcasing your business to an audience of over 200,000 organic visitors per month. Our readers, over 1.8 million to date, typically hold senior management positions and command more than $100 billion in business turnover.

Business News is a high ranking platform with considerable domain authority. We also offer sponsored backlinks to eligible pages, linking to company or director profiles and passing on our credibility to your site.

With longstanding relationships across the sector, we have the network and the resources to approach countless businesses for backlinking opportunities.

For growing businesses, we provide invaluable information and expert opinions on topics spanning digital marketing, legal advice, commercial enterprises and more.

 

 

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