The Great SEO Backlink Hoax

By Tim Priebe on August 27, 2012

By Tim Priebe on August 27, 2012

If you’ve done any research on Search Engine Optimization (and if you haven’t, that’s okay), you may have come across the term “backlinks.” Simply put, a backlink is a link from another person’s website back to your website. And many search engine companies build all their SEO strategies for clients around a backlink strategy.

Those SEO companies write blog entries for search engines, then go out and put links back to those blog entries on various sites. They charge thousands a month for all that time, most of which is spent on building up the backlinks. And they claim that’s the best method for building up SEO.

They’re wrong.

In fact, backlinks are a good idea, but not the fake backlinks those companies use. Let’s look at a four reasons a backlink-focused strategy is a bad idea, then look at what a good strategy with real backlinks looks like.

Long-term Results

A fake backlink strategy gets quicker results. This is absolutely true. But like fad diets, the results are not long-lasting. It’s not a sustainable long-term strategy. The results are volatile, meaning your ranking in Google can fluctuate greatly from one month to the next. And that’s even with spending tons of time and money creating those backlinks.

You Can’t Take a Break

In order for a backlink strategy to work well, you have to continually spend time and money creating hundreds or thousands of backlinks. And because the results can be so volatile, you can’t take any time off. Rankings based on a backlink strategy are constantly dropping if you’re not constantly adding backlinks.

You’re Actually Cheating

In Google’s eyes, each backlink is interpreted almost as a vote for your website. They see another website linked to yours, they take that to mean that someone else thought you had good content. If you (or a company you pay) is out there building up backlinks for you, those aren’t really votes for your website. Creating your own backlinks is like fixing an election.

Google and all the search engines want their vote count to be as accurate as possible. So they’re constantly tweaking their algorithm and their website database to get more accurate votes. And by more accurate, I mean that they exclude the votes by fake backlinks. And that’s why a backlink strategy is more volatile.

What If It Works?

Let’s say it works. Your backlink strategy will have somewhat affected the ranking of your home page, but really you’ll have all these blog entries that show up in the search engine results. But if you’ll remember, those blog entries were written with search engines in mind, not people. That means they can be awkwardly worded and hard to read. Not to mention just plain boring. Do you really want that to be the first impression people get of your business?

A Sustainable SEO Strategy

The good news is that it’s not rocket science to do SEO right, even if you consider the importance of backlinks. In fact, it’s just a two-step process, built around content.

Step 1: Get a website that’s set up well, coded search engine friendly.

If you invest well in this initial setup, it will make your ongoing efforts have much higher payoff.

Step 2: Blog for people, not search engines.

It’s okay to include key words and key phrases, but make that your secondary goal. Your first goal should be writing blog entries people want to read that will encourage them to do business with you.

When you do step 2 correctly, real backlinks will come. And real backlinks are when people share your article on their website, Facebook, Twitter or other platforms, simply because they liked it. That’s a real vote for your website, and that’s really a sustainable SEO strategy.

You can do the blogging yourself, or you can hire an employee or company like us to blog on your behalf. Whatever the case, make sure the blogs are for people first, and search engines second.

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15 Comments

  1. Avatar Christina Cruz on August 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Great post! We have been working on our SEO and looking at what you suggest to do we have been doing. We have been doing backlinks also though. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on August 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Glad we could help! To be fair, we do live in a world where backlinks are widely used, and are shown to be effective in the short term. They do take a lot of work to keep up, but in many industries they’re a necessity because everyone else is using them.

  2. Avatar Nick Stamoulis on August 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

    When it comes to building links, the best links are the ones that will actually be seen by target audience members that can generate traffic. Instead of building links on sites with no value, focus on building content based links. Guest posting is a great strategy.

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on September 1, 2012 at 1:14 am

      Definitely true, Nick. Links (and content) should be for people first, and search engines second.

      And I agree about guest posting on reputable blogs as well. Great comment!

  3. Avatar Inspirational Blog on September 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Yeah… backlinking with keywords that point back to your website. Psh… Only an idiot would do that….

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on September 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Hey, wait a second… 😉

  4. Avatar Matt McNeil on September 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Excellent entry, Tim!

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on September 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      Thanks, Matt! Glad to provide any helpful advice I can.

  5. Avatar sagar nandwani on January 6, 2013 at 2:02 am

    this mean to get pr for website we need backlinks as much as we can create

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on January 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

      In some industries it’s a necessary evil. But your SEO strategy has to include more than just backlinks.

  6. Avatar Brian on February 4, 2013 at 1:48 am

    1.) Doe’s anyone support the deep link stratergy anymore post panda and penguin?
    2.) Question is what about cross linking internal pages, good or bad?

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on February 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

      The bigger question is if it’s a good use of your time. Spending a lot of time on deep links and cross links is probably not worth your time.

  7. Avatar Chad Rogez on April 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Like it!

  8. Avatar Creative Agency on May 1, 2013 at 6:57 am

    great tips about backlinks and web design. thanks and keep it up.

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