As we begin 2020, we are sure to read lots about emerging SEO trends as well as things that are expected to decline over the coming months.  We know that there are many different elements which are considered by Google when it ranks websites on its results pages, but for the last few years we’ve seen that one of the things Google deems most influential is high quality backlinks from other websites.  In fact, in 2019 backlinks were among the top ten Google ranking factors and it looks to be one trend that is set to continue with gusto.

Website ranking is a complex subject and how Google ranks websites and pages is determined by hundreds of inter-connected factors.  The websites that Google ranks on the first page of its search results for any given search term are ones that it considers to be the most relevant and useful using a complex algorithm (mathematical process) which takes into account 200+ factors.  We will never really know what all those factors are as the answers will remain locked in Google’s vault of secrets.  However, through a combination of research, testing and experience, SEO experts can fathom which factors are considered the most important, and quality backlinks are continuing to make the grade.

“What is a backlink” I hear you say?

It is simply a link between one website and another.  Links from other websites to your own are like endorsements of your product or service.  If someone is mentioning and linking to you in their content, they are in effect referring you – the link acts as a bridge through to your website and if traffic passes over the bridge, that’s great news for you!  The bottom line is that the more high-quality backlinks you have from well-established and authoritative websites, the better chances your website has in ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

What makes a good backlink?

It used to be that search engines such as Google would recognise any link from another site as a good endorsement, but as search engines have evolved and become smarter, they now (like most things in life worth considering) look for quality over quantity.  If you are wondering what a good backlink looks like, here are some fundamental things that those in the know have deemed important to consider when trying to understand links in today’s Google algorithm:

Backlinks provide one of three different things: Power, Relevance and Trust…

Relevance – all links give relevance, but you will hit gold when you get niche power i.e. If you sell golfing equipment and your website gets linked to from a golf article on a golf website, Google will deem you an important player when considering ranking results for golfing equipment due to the relevance of the link to your niche.

Trust – editorial links from high domain authority sites (sites that are well trusted in their field like the BBC, Forbes, New York Times, The Guardian etc) and links from sites that rank highly in search engines themselves, are great for building trust.  The trust will get passed down from the high domain authority site to your site.  These kinds of links are especially important in certain niches, like health for example where trust is king.

Power – Optimise your anchor text to link to the pages on your site that hold the most power for you.  Create links to your links to really get the link juice flowing.

Source:  Notes from 2019 training with Matt Diggity, Diggity Marketing

One thing that is clear, you should approach link building with a long-term mindset.  Try not to build links that only satisfy current Google trends as they may change.  Instead, focus on building quality, white hat, future proof links that play to Google’s genius.  Ask yourself “If Google didn’t exist, would I still benefit from a link from this website?” and, you won’t go far wrong.

If you are interested in making your business easier for people to find online, we are more than happy to chat through which elements of SEO are right for your business to help enhance your websites performance on search engine results pages (SERPs).  Simply get in touch and we’ll do the rest.