Are Backlinks Becoming Less Valuable?


For any business, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing today. How you optimize your website has a major impact on where it ranks on search engines.

The most popular tactics for SEO are: backlinks, on-page optimization (keyword rich content), and metadata. But let’s not forget that there are other ways to ensure your website is in top shape for search engines.

Google wants to ensure it provides users with the most optimal search experience, which has prompted the search engine to constantly change its ranking metrics. It now includes metrics that take into account whether the website is optimized for mobile, the site’s speed, security, and so on. All to ensure that users get what they are looking for along with the site experience.

Which makes you wonder whether or not popular tactics like backlinks are less valuable than they were before.

What is a backlink?

Backlinks occur when one website uses a link to connect to another site within its content. The technique has been a part of SEO for decades now as it provides a “vote of confidence” to search engines that the linked website has reliable and valuable information. The tactic has become a staple in ranking just about any type of content.

Are backlinks still effective?

In order to understand the value of backlinks, it is important to determine how effective they are in 2019. Backlinko released a list that highlights ranking factors on Google, which gave much importance to backlinks. Stating that search engines still value the number of referring domains for a business when it comes to ranking. It even references a graph that shows a direct correlation between higher business rankings on Google with the number of backlinks a site has.

SEMRush has also published a study that values backlinks; stating that it is the fifth most important factor when it comes to ranking on search engines. This shows that the technique is still valuable if you want to beat your competition and achieve higher rankings.

But there are different factors that determine the effectiveness of your backlinks because not all backlinks are equal. The factors that matter are:

  • Quality of referring domain: the more authoritative the referring domain is, the more effective the backlink. If most of your backlinks are from average to low-quality websites, the impact of such backlinks on rankings will be marginal.
  • The number of backlinks: this is obvious; more links coming to your website increases the chances of better rankings. Remember to keep the quality of referring domains in mind.
  • Anchor tag of the link: when the targeted keyword is used with the backlink, it slightly helps boost the chances of ranking higher for the particular keyword. It isn’t a sure thing, but it does have an impact when it comes to popular keywords.

Tactics along with backlinks you should focus on

It doesn’t seem like backlinks will lose their value any time soon; in terms of SEO. Similarly, these age-old tactics still reign supreme as far as value goes.

Relevant, quality content

The more relevance and quality your content has, the higher the chances of better rankings. This is why blogging is one of the most effective ways to impact SEO since blogs are easy to establish and integrate into websites. They also enable businesses to constantly provide users with quality content that is relevant for their audience.

Content that is rich in keywords

Yes, it’s true that Google doesn’t like keyword stuffed content, which is why you need to craft content that skillfully incorporates your target keywords. In 2019, you also need to keep in mind that people aren’t just typing when they search but also using voice commands. With this in mind, remember that you should include slight variations of your keyword.

Some newer factors that your business should consider are:

  • Mobile optimization: in 2018, more than 50% of internet traffic was from a mobile device. It makes sense that Google penalizes those websites that are not optimized for mobile devices when it comes to search engine ranking.
  • Site speed: how fast your website loads plays a vital role in user experience. You need to ensure that it loads within 3 seconds otherwise it may be considered slow by Google, hurting your chances of ranking higher.

The last word

Think again before taking backlinks out of your digital marketing strategy. The tactic is still highly relevant today as it was a decade ago. Its effectiveness depends mostly on the authority of the site that links back to yours, the number of backlinks you can muster, and probably most importantly now, the relevance of the article and website linking to you. So rather than limiting your backlinking efforts, you should ramp them up. That is if you truly want to rank higher and remain a step ahead of your competition.

8 thoughts on “Are Backlinks Becoming Less Valuable?”

  1. Hi Karen,

    I still strongly believe that backlink strategy is highly relevant and effective if done in a right way. However, the first step to start is righting the quality content. People love to link your content on their blogs if it is worth it.

    I will recommend people reading this article.

  2. Hi Karen,

    I really appreciate your theoretical research on backlinks. I want to ask you a question that how can i increase the traffic of my website using No-Follow backlinks? Are they worth it?

    I am running a Video and Animation Production Company in Sydney i want to increase the traffic of my website.

  3. Hi Karen,

    I am truly agreed upon your research regarding the backlinks value now a days. I am doing a business of roller shutters and doors in Sydney, name of business is “Sunshine Garage Doors”. i’ve had worked with an internet marketing company before the backlinks they’ve provided me after 6 months of working are fully useless now. What can i do now to bring traffic to my website?

  4. Hi Karen! Good thing you brought this topic to us. And I think backlink for me is still valuable since this can still allow bloggers to communicate with another blogger and it is also another way to introduce your blog to another blogger. I think that what makes it still valuable.

  5. Good article. I was looking for benefits of backlinks and comes to your site. You have written really informative post regarding backlinks. I was not familiar about that google is now focusing on responsive and mobile friendly devices. Rich keywords tactics is one of the best key to become famous on google. Thanks keep it up.

  6. Obviously content remains the true king of the web and the more it satisfies user intent the better. On the other hand backlinks still get the lion’s share in the SEO world. This ranking factor is among Top 3 and most likely will stay there for good. So if the time and budget are limited, a webmaster should focus on creating high-quality content that satisfies user intent+building up a solid link portfolio for every single piece of that content(in other words promote it). This strategy may sound time-consuming but eventually will pay off!

  7. For me backlinks are still valuable even its not going to help you grow your ranking it is still the best option to show everyone that your blog still exist.

    Thanks for sharing karen!

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