Reality check: are links not as important as you think?

Everyone’s crazy about links. Some people want to get as many backlinks as possible, others fear that their website will be penalized if it has the wrong backlinks. Are backlinks really that important? A search engine has the answer.

More than backlinks

Broaden your thinking

Last month, Bing published an article in their official blog in which they explained the importance of backlinks:

“For a long time, the prevailing thinking was links were the golden egg.  They were what you needed to turn the tide and boost your rankings.  And that was true. Today, though, it might pay to broaden your thinking.”

Although the article is from Bing and not from Google, it contains many interesting points that also apply if you want to get high rankings on Google:

1.  Don’t place all of your eggs in one basket

It’s easy to concentrate on a single tactic. However, it’s also risky. Backlinks are only one signal to the search engines. Although it is a very important signal, there are many more signals that determine the position of a website in the search results.

According to Bing, you should check your web pages if they use more than one H1 tag, you should check the IMG ALT attributes, the meta descriptions, etc.

The mentions of your web pages on Twitter, Facebook and other social sites can also influence the rankings of your website. While it is very difficult to check these elements manually, it is very easy if you use the Top 10 Optimizer in SEOprofiler.

The Top 10 Optimizer in SEOprofiler checks the backlinks that point to your pages (including the anchor texts), it checks the contents of your page,  it checks the social mentions of your website ,etc.

You will get a detailed and easy-to-read report with detailed instructions on how to improve your pages and links. The Top 10 Optimizer report covers all important ranking signals that are necessary to get first page rankings on Google.

2. Don’t try to find shortcuts, they just cost time and money

Many webmasters try to find shortcuts: quickly get hundreds of backlinks, quickly increase the number of Twitter followers, quickly get free content for your website.

All of these shortcuts have in common that they are considered spam by most search engines and some of them can get your website banned from search engines in the long run.

If you invest the time that you spend seeking shortcuts in optimizing your real web page content, you will get much better results.

Keep the big picture in view. High rankings are made of more than backlinks. Work on all signals that influence the position of your web pages in Google’s search results and you will get the best possible results.

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".

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