The way Google shows search results has evolved countless times over the years. Today, more than ever, Google prioritizes the importance of the relevancy of a site. To help in determining how relevant a site is, one of the ways they do that is through backlinks. In theory, the more other sites are linking to a post, the more relevant the post is. And the more recognizable and popular sites are linking to a post, the more important that post is.
In the old days, back when Google was new, webmasters then mastered the art of stuffing keywords. Since then, Google has kept on modifying its search index algorithm. For every action that Google has taken, there is a corresponding action taken by others. This is an ongoing battle between the search engine and content creators.
Is Having More External Links to Your Site Good?
Let’s begin with external links to your site. A few years ago, having more external links was something content creators strived to have more of. Link directories sprouted for companies and bloggers to go submit their posts. The idea did work for a period of time.
But Google recognized that the search results started showing poor quality sites. This resulted in poorer user experience and Google would have none of that. It’s an assault on Google’s most important asset, the people using its search engine. So, they changed their algorithm to penalize sites using link farming to increase its search rankings.
Does Google Understand Your Content?
External links to posts and sites are still important, but rather than scoring on the merit of numbers, Google considers the quality. To do that, Google gauges the quality of external links to its sources. A post becomes more relevant if the external links come from popular and reputable sites. But if the links come from non-relevant poor quality sites, then Google may penalize the post.
Think about this.
When you use Google to find information, would you like to see non-relevant sites showing up? The more of these poor qualities and sometimes spammy posts, the more time you use. As a result, your experience using Google suffers.
Google thinks people who use their search engine are important. So, the way they show results now includes understanding the context of web pages. It’s not only one webpage but also any inbound or outbound links it contains.
Evolving from Spammy PR Posts to Simpler Outbound Links
Companies and blogs who want to become more relevant have done it in several ways.
To increase awareness of their brand, they pay other sites to write about them. For companies, these are often product or service reviews. Bloggers may collaborate with others by doing guest postings or exchanging links.
One could argue that when it comes to exchanging links, it works to a certain degree and they would be correct. Exchanging links with related high domain authority blogs can result in a win-win. But that is rarely the case.
More companies and blogs are understanding that paying for product reviews is limiting, but having outbound links from others could be valuable. It used to be about having traffic generated from other sites, but there is something else now. And that is to use those incoming links to catapult their own posts to the top of search results.
Outbound Links from High Domain Authority Sites
On freelancing platforms, I saw ads looking for writers of high domain authority sites. There are clients willing to pay more than $1,000 just to have one text link from popular sites. They know that a text link from those popular sites could boost the relevancy of their own posts.
But is it worth it?
If you are thinking of doing that, should you?
Here are some things to consider.
Google changes its algorithm all the time. What works today may not work tomorrow, especially anything that is not organic. When there are more people circumventing Google’s algorithm, they adapt. Like link farming, it used to work but is now counterproductive to those who did it.
There are high domain authority sites that are starting to crack down on their writers. They are not supposed to do that anyway. While many high domain authority sites do allow outbound links, they should be relevant.
Paying over $1,000 for one post is risky. For instance, what if the high domain authority site decides to delete the post with the outbound link?
Is there a Better Way to Get Quality Inbound Links?
Like everything else, moderation is the key. If you are seeking quality inbound links, then find sites that are relevant. Not only that, but they should have quality content and show great promise to further grow. Contact the site owner and explore ways on how you could help each other.
On paying others to place outbound links, this is a grey area that one needs to thread with utmost care. It could backfire, but kept to a minimum and within reason, it may help.