Why you need backlinks in 2022 too
Links are the biggest up-and-down ranking element. Many will agree with the second paragraph. Why are links so vital for SEO? Why does nothing operate without backlinks in 2021?
Even years later, early Penguin improvements still unsettle many companies and organizations. This is because they changed the rating profiles of several important and well-known websites. When I interact with these companies’ CEOs, Google Penguin is a prevalent word. Many CEOs only hear about SEO once a year (at the budget meeting), but they know it may be problematic.
Google performed well. The highly paid programmers failed for years to make webmasters and SEOs fear phony links, but Google’s marketing team succeeded.
Despite attempts, Google’s algorithms still use backlinks. How did links become necessary? Please pardon my simple explanation of the Penguin update and Google’s algorithm. Both are difficult, but I’ll explain the basics.
Let’s trace the history of search engines. To understand what backlinks mean for Google ranking today, look back.
Two cornerstones of early search engines
My generation remembers search engines before Google. Altavista, Alltheweb.com, Lycos, and Fireball resembled grandpa’s synthetic cotton 1970s pants today.
Search engines were innovative even in their early years. In online catalogs, actual people “manually” classified webpages so visitors may traverse them. Using Lycos and Co., an algorithm identified linked sites.
Content and technical SEO were early search engines’ pillars.
A simple algorithm selected which website should rank for the keyword. It followed the website’s appearance and content. Basic spammy SEO methods were successful. White text deserts on white backgrounds diluted the target word.
The search engine optimizer’s normal work hampered search results at the time. So a replacement was needed. In 1999, this one had a revolutionary idea.
Three search engine foundations
This was Google, the iconic search engine. Backlinks for ranking turned everything upside down.
Google has always regarded a page-linked suggestion. Google’s algorithms outperformed the competition by considering these ideas as reality. Backlinks contributed to Google’s success.
The dominating search engine has always provided the best results possible. The way backlinks are considered has improved over time. Initially, obtaining as many proposals from anyplace was adequate, but the sources’ relevance has risen. Google seeks links from respected websites. Class vs. mass.
The penguin revolution
Each iterative process needs its own book, so let’s go back to 2012. Google says SEO was booming in 13 A.D. The first Penguin caused unimaginable losses.
The April 24, 2012 update affected 3-5 percent of all websites (this may not seem like much, but consider how many pages make up the index). With the release, Google declared war on webspam. Why?
SEOs wanted to reveal Google’s website categorisation mechanism. Spammy links have replaced spammy content to gain rankings. After 2000, backlink development yielded outrageous financial increases.
Gold rush excitement was unparalleled. A 15-year-old technician built an affiliate website in his nursery that swiftly made 6-figure monthly income. “Generating backlinks” quickly became a business.
Google detected a threat to SERP quality. Search results frequently included pages that weren’t “the best for the user.” The Penguin was Google’s big stick. Suddenly, some websites grew visibly.
As with every algorithm change, the shock passed swiftly. SEOs rapidly dissected Penguin’s changes. Google’s algorithm has filters. These sorted real from bogus backlinks.
One filter was improved. Anyone who received a lot of links from websites with a money keyword in their link text—the term for which the target URL should rank, preferably in the shorthead area—got hit.
Google’s large data pools allowed them to examine the distribution of anchor texts on common websites (without artificial backlink building). “ing diba,” “ingdiba,” “ing-diba.de,” etc.) are brand names, not financial words (“Girokonto kostenlos”).
First Penguin improvements may enhance filters. Each tightening of such filters may damage “innocent” people who have never made a relationship. Sharper filters enhance collateral damage. So Google used them sparingly.
No matter how sophisticated a Penguin update was, SEOs could quickly tell which filters were tightened. They might adjust their link-building strategies.
Link building continued, and Google’s cat-and-mouse game with SEOs, who changed their link-building method, continued.
Penguin’s deterrent effect wasn’t as strong as Google hoped. We needed a new strategy. August 2014 brings more intrigue.
Google employees have made similar statements in France and the US. Google staged a “show trial” for marketing objectives. Google deindexed Rankseller and Teliad’s websites. Bloggers who actively advertised backlinks on their websites were also deindexed.
Google’s message was clear: We’ll punish artificial link building.
This affected the backlink market providers. Clients terminated contracts quickly. Information spread, and publications and companies feared becoming the next victim and facing prosecution.
Marketing triumphs where coding fails
Now let’s get back to what I said at the beginning: despite being among the best in the business, Google’s programmers are unable to control backlinks.
In the end, Google’s efforts in August 2014 reveal the critical fault in the Google algorithm. Google is still reliant on backlinks and unable to solve the problem of fake link building algorithmically. Google still has difficulty distinguishing between unnatural and natural link growth. If the link builder does not leave any digital footprints that can be read and evaluated by a machine, Google’s options are severely limited.
However, the “propaganda operations” produced the intended outcome. Many companies completely stopped building backlinks because they were worried that manual techniques would also be exploited. The official spokespersons for the search engine giant fared far better in the battle against link spam than their counterparts from the programming department.
The four pillars of the current search engine still need links
However, the truth is that Google still employs backlinks to distinguish between good and bad content. Of course, due to multiple Google updates, the algorithm is different now than it was a few years ago. User signals are currently being examined. Through the use of RankBrain and similar adjustments, Google seeks to confirm that the algorithm has elevated the right result to the top.
From the time it sends traffic to a target URL via its search results, Google tries to determine whether the visitor is satisfied with the result using a variety of parameters. But before sending visitors to the page, Google is unaware of these user signals. They are thus only used in the future to change the algorithms.
According to data for the majority of searches in Google Search Console, the user practically only clicks on a result on the first Google search results page. The top search results frequently receive an equal distribution of visitors. Only these pages will obtain user signals that Google can assess (of course, they must subsequently be favorable, which is why SEO should always work hand in hand with conversion optimization!). For each important sentence, there are likely more than 10 relevant responses. And before you can access the group of pages that Google examines more carefully, you must pass them.
The bottom line: You need links if you want to outperform the other 13,299,999 links.
Then, how does Google decide which of those 13 million websites to prioritize for display? It basically goes like this:
The technical parts provide the basis. They make sure, among other things, that the website can be crawled, that the material can be gathered, and that the loading speed is appropriate. The relevance of a document for a given keyword is determined using semantic factors (content).
then backlinks become important: The amount of links or recommendations a document receives determines whether it will even appear in the TOP 10. You are the salt that helps the soup to rise to the top. And if you don’t have one, you’ll merely do poorly enough to pass in the majority of difficult subject areas. There are then no positive user signals.
Each website owner should thus think about how to respect this ranking factor of Google.
The supremacy of links won’t (can’t) cease today or tomorrow, that much is certain.