The Ins and Outs of Worthwhile Backlinking

The Ins and Outs of Worthwhile BacklinkingThere is a lot of misunderstanding, confusion and hyperbole about backlinks for search engine placement and website rankings.  Basically, backlinks are incoming links to your website. And yes, “quality” backlinks from authority sites with a high PR can be very beneficial for SEO.

Google sees these types of backlinks as an indication of popularity, will consider “your” site an authority site and give you kudos in website rankings and search engine placement.  However, there are also “no follow” backlinks that offer no SEO value, but generate a tremendous amount of quality traffic to your site that are worth going after.

Not all Backlinks are Created Equal

Without a doubt, the best backlinks that garner the most SEO, topic authority and website rankings are natural, organic backlinks from other blogs, forums or authority websites that dig your content and link back to it directly from their own relevant or “related content” – all the more reason to write informative content that speaks to people rather than keyword focused, generic fluff written for search engines.

If you think about it, it’s not search engines that give you the juice for juicy backlinks. Rather, it’s PEOPLE who own websites or blogs that find your content useful for their readership and link to it as a resource. I know I preach this over and over again, but I will say it again, write for people not search engines, because in the long run, authoritative backlinks are better for website rankings, readership and most importantly, “traffic conversion.”

Comparing Apples to Oranges

Don't confuse backlinks for quality, directed traffic and backlinks for SEO. Don’t confuse backlinks for quality, directed traffic and backlinks for SEO. This is like comparing apple to oranges. The bottom line is that the majority of directory sites and free press release sites have no “no follow” tags which tell the search engines “not to follow” that link or give it any credit.

They pass on no link juice nor do they give you any SEO value. That being said, these types of backlinks CAN greatly benefit your your site with targeted traffic because people who are actually interested in your content “will follow” that link to find out what more YOU have to say. Hence the reason interlinking related posts throughout your post or at the bottom of your post is a good idea.

ActiveRain (AR) happens to be a perfect example of a site that is great for backlinks though it passes no link juice or authority to your own website or blog.  However, what you do get from AR is top search engine placement for your AR blog and quality, targeted traffic directed to your website or blog.  Prolific blogging and syndication on the right sites for backlinks does pay off.

According to Google Analytics, approximately 30% of Get Found Now’s traffic comes directly from AR alone. For real estate and related topics, AR is by far the most powerful blogging platform for directed, quality backlinks, hands down.  You can also syndicate your posts on Associated Content, Ezine, Facebook, Twitter and a host of others.

Backlinks from Forums are Powerful for SEO “If Someone Else is doing the Linking”

Before there were blogs, forums dominated the Internet as the best source of user-generated content.  In a forum, users are able to ask questions and receive a multitude of answers on a multitude of subjects. When users post questions and other users post answers and cite YOU as a resource for the answer, you become an authority resource on that topic within the forum thread.

Forums are one of the best sources for quality backlinks, but don’t think for one minute that any forum moderator is going to let some idiot litter his forum with spam to get a backlink. You basically have to be an authority to be considered as one within a worthy forum.  All of Get Found Now’s backlinks from forums were posted by information seekers within a forum thread, who’s moderator found our content to be the authority for the topic at hand.

One particular post written by Victoria Stankard of Get Found Now, entitled How to Use Tags for WordPress SEO, has been linked to multiple forums in multiple languages worldwide.  She never set out to be the “authority” on WordPress SEO post tags, but that is what happened.  Hence the reason why long tail keywordsare more important than you could ever imagine. Keep in mind that if you plan on marketing to forums, don’t think that Google is going to pay attention to a link in your signature line. They filtered that out years ago.

The History of Backlinks and Google

As early as 2007, Google made changes to its algorithm to eliminate paid links, keyword stuffing and content spamming. There were many so-called SEO companies that claimed they could guarantee solid inbound linking that would pass on link juice. If you don’t know what link juice is, here is a quick description: “Link Juice,” in a very basic definition, is when one website with certain authority for a topic as well as Page Rank, passes that authority and Page Rank to another “worthy” site speaking about the same topic. Link Juice is good. Spamming, keyword stuffing, content silos, multiple doorway web pages, stolen content or unrelated backlinks will hurt you.

Do not listen to fools that say “the only thing that matters in getting top search engine placement is backlinks.” That statement comes from inexperience and ignorance about how Google says works. In 2007 Google slapped the wrist of several major companies that sold links such as Text Link Ads, Text Link Brokers and many others. Google devalued sites that sold links to other websites and those sites got devalued big time!!!!  We know because one of our clients had over 15 websites that sold link space. It was a big mistake that took us a nearly a year to rectify. The bottom line is Google hates SPAM.

Google's Mayday-Update

In 2010 Google released an update that was more than just a “slap on the wrist,” they sawed the wrist and hand right off!  To SEO professionals this was called the “Mayday” update. It wasn’t released in May – they were referring to their “SEO ships sinking,” calling “SOS” and “MAYDAY.”  This wasn’t a shot across the bow as 2007 was, this was all out war. Still SEO’s sought after paid and unrelated links. If your site is about real estate in a specific area and it is being linked to by another site that also has links to Viagra, online schools, cosmetics or God forbid porn, your site has been “devalued.”

The present Google state of mind is that they are tired of hearing that “;Bing has more relevant results!”; This time in February of 2011, they dropped the “Panda” update bomb. There is no denying that their results have improved ( has gained over 1357 spots!); however many sites were nailed to the cross as collateral damage.

Why? – because they never cared about who they linked to or who was linking to them! If some unrelated site is linking to you and you are not linking back to them, there is nothing to worry about, but if you entered into a willing link partnership witha site, and THEY have other links on their site that go to “nefarious sites” that have nothing to do with you or them, Google WILL punish you. Bottom line – watch who you link out to and who you allow to link back!

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About Victoria Stankard

Victoria Stankard has been an online SEO content writer for a variety of markets across the nation since 2006. Specializing in optimized content marketing strategies and owner of a successful organic search engine optimization company, Victoria writes for real people with "The Optimized Edge" - putting you on the map and more!


  1. Very good post on linking with all the changes that have gone on over the last 3-4 months with Google. I loved your comment that it’s people who link back to you….not some random website for no good reason. Providing valuable content and hoping they reference your content is key. Now we have to find people in the same field who aren’t in our own region to agree to link back to certain blog posts.

    Question for you – if one website links back to my site 4-5 times on various blog posts, does that count as just one link in Google’s eyes? Or is there value in having more than one backlink from the same site?

  2. Brad,

    It isn’t so much the domain as it is the content. If the site linking to you is talking about multiple topics and using your posts as a source of reference, then you are golden. I always warn people to look at the other links on the page. If they are all relevant, then you are getting a huge benefit!

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