When you think about all the elements of an online business that you could optimize in 2023, what comes to mind first? There’s content, page titles and other technical SEO, and backlinks, of course.
If you’ve been wondering about the place of backlinks in the SEO of the modern era, know this: they are still one of the most crucial ranking factors for a website – and yet 95% of websites don’t actually have any backlinks going to them, even in 2023!
Backlinks – relevant, trustworthy ones from high-quality websites – say to Google, “Hey, this content is so useful for people that other websites want to refer their followers to it.”
So, while backlinks have remained vital for organic rankings in 2023, what have changed are the methods we use to build those links.
Let’s dive into what makes link building still so important for SEO in 2023.
Don’t forget: if you’ve been struggling to build natural backlinks to your website and need professional link building services from a team of SEO experts, get in touch with LSEO.
What Is a Hyperlink?
Before we jump into link building, it’s important for you to understand what hyperlinks are and what they mean to search engines. A hyperlink, or “link,” is used to connect one website to another for easy navigation between web pages.
A link can be words or an image that will redirect you to a new web page or a specific section of a page that is relevant to whatever text or image it is embedded in. Hyperlinks are commonly used by search engines to discover new web pages or help rank websites.
The anchor tag indicates to a search engine that a link to another page is going to follow.
The link referral location starts off with “href,” which stands for “hyperlink referral.” The URL that follows is the page location to which the hyperlink will redirect you.
The anchor text is the word or phrase that contains the hyperlink on the page. Oftentimes, this text will have some sort of visual indication that it is a clickable link.
The closure of the link tag tells the search engine that this is the end of the linked area.
Now that you have a good understanding of exactly what a hyperlink is, let’s move right into link building.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of increasing the number and quality of inbound links to a webpage.
Search engines consider backlinks as recommendations to your site. The more people recommend your site through external links on their sites, the more trustworthy search engines think your site is.
For that reason, search engines such as Google base how well your site ranks off of the number of links to your website.
Kenny Trinh, CEO of Netbooknews, has a ton of experience with link building and believes it is imperative to the success of your website. “Essentially, backlinks act as a vote of trust. The more high-quality backlinks your website has, the more likely it will earn higher rankings.”
But link building is not as straightforward as “the more links you have, the higher you rank.”
That’s why SEO specialists say that link building is the hardest skill to master. Google has access to such advanced technology that it considers so many more factors than links when crawling a website.
Some of these additional factors include the quality of the website the backlink is posted on and the topical relevance between the two sites. Simply put, the backlink needs to seem like it belongs where it is. Website owners don’t want to slap a link on any old website or in the middle of an irrelevant article.
We spoke with Swati Chalumuri, the founder of Hear Me Folks, on what she considers when building links. She told us, “You need to keep some things in mind: the link should come from a valuable website, a website in your niche, and must be included in an article covering a topic similar to your website’s.” These are her key steps to having her website rank well in 2023.
Not only do backlinks factor into how well you rank on a search engine, but they are also used to discover new web pages. Google and other search engines “crawl” websites to discover different web pages, so having your backlinks out there can help the engines come across your site more often.
Despite Google’s complex and ever-changing algorithm, one thing that never changed is the importance of backlinks. That is why link building remains one of the bigger keys to success in SEO. Boosting your website’s credibility through the number of links to your site can be the difference between having your site rank on the first page of a search engine or getting lost in the mix.
Why Is Link Building Important?
Increases Your Rank
Link building is important to the success of a website because, as we mentioned, it is one of the main ranking factors on every search engine. Most queries on the internet start out with a search engine, and most people conducting these queries click on one of the first three search results.
Since search engines place so much importance on links, it is physically impossible to rank well with search engines without acquiring backlinks in some way. If you have a quality website with great information, people may link to your website naturally without you having to put much effort into link building.
However, that only works if people already know about your website. Most websites need to put their efforts into link building before they can get to that point.
Drives Website Traffic
Link building can also help to increase traffic to your website. Nandini Sharma from ProofHub agrees, saying, “Acquiring quality backlinks is not only important to earn higher search ranking but also to help businesses drive more traffic and build a better readership base that will convert into paying customers.”
Higher, link-driven rankings on search engines usually result in more clicks to your site (especially if you make it to the first page). The more links you get from high-quality sites with healthy traffic, the more results you should see in organic traffic to your own website.
In that sense, links placed on sites that are relevant to your website should also increase your referral traffic.
You want the content to be relevant to what you have to offer because we know the reader is interested in the article you are linked in (they clicked on it, didn’t they?). If your link is relevant to the content, they are more likely to follow the link and explore your site, as well.
Increases Brand Exposure
Other than helping your site to rank higher and ultimately increase your traffic, link building can also benefit your brand awareness. The ultimate long-term goal for most websites or companies is to become a household name.
Emily Garner, a content specialist for Blue Claw, agrees, stating that, “Running link building campaigns works to increase brand awareness and make it more likely that you’ll become the go-to site for many customers looking for reliability and convenience.” The whole goal behind link building is to find external sources that will link back to you, or in LSEO’s terms “link back to our client’s site.”
Eventually, if you get enough quality sites to link back to your domain, it can not only increase your non-branded organic traffic, but also your branded traffic due to the awareness and eyes getting put on your domain. The search volume on your brand can increase ten-fold.
What Is the Future of Link Building?
Google and search engines alike have been using links to rank websites since their formation, and the importance of links in ranking is not changing anytime soon. Some SEOs believed that, with the introduction of Google’s Penguin update in 2012, backlinks would become obsolete.
However, Penguin just made it more important to get higher-quality links. Not all links are created equal anymore.
So, moving forward the quality and relevancy of your links will only become more vital. Search engines are relying on links to grade your E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) and will continue to use this as the core of their algorithm in the years to come.
The future of link building stands in the creative ways you go about generating links. Yes, you can continue writing guest posts and publishing third-party content, but you need to get your creative juices flowing.
For example, have you gotten into broken link building yet? If not, it’s one of the best ways to earn quality backlinks for your website. What about finding unlinked mentions through Ahrefs and reaching out to get those domains to add a link to you?
Since Google and its competitors are paying attention to the quality of links, SEO experts are looking for more trustworthy websites to obtain links such as news sites, magazine websites, and big niche players.
Now, you may be asking, “How do I get links on such large scale sites?”
That’s where creativity comes in.
Link builders are taking advantage of sites such as HARO to submit quotes to major publications.
HARO is a platform in which journalists can submit queries to get a plethora of quotes and inputs from experienced professionals. But it isn’t as simple as signing up and using the tool. You need to read the platform’s specific guidelines and master the art of communication since there will be a lot of back and forth.
Oksana Chyketa shared with us how the use of HARO was a game changer in her role as a marketer at Albacross. “HARO is one of the best ways to generate high-quality backlinks from authority news sites.”
HARO is not the only way to start building higher-quality links, but you get the point: be creative!
Contact LSEO to Benefit from Expert Link Building Campaigns
All in all, the future of link building is bright, despite the fact that we can never fully predict what Google will do next or how they will change.
Fortunately for SEO, the only constant so far has been the ongoing importance of link building in 2023. As long as you are staying on top of the trends, getting creative in the ways you acquire links, and obtaining relevant links, you are on the right track.
If link building is something you struggle with, LSEO can help. Get in touch with us to let us know about what you’re doing, and we’ll go over the ways we can help using our experts’ deep experience in natural link building.