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Are backlinks still important?

Links are Still the Backbone of the Web

Links are what make up the web. They drive traffic to sites. They add value to articles. While some content providers may prefer not to have a lot of links to their content, most strive to get as many as possible.

There are plenty of reasons to want your content to be linked to: search engine algorithms, visibility, credit, the sharing of valuable information, traffic to monetise you site, etc. Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable discusses how link building was popular even before Google came out and spawned the link-building craze as we still know it today. He writes:

Eric Ward ( was one of the first, if not the first, person in the link building business pre-Google. Eric has told his story at many SEM conferences. The most remember part of his history is that he did link building as a way to promote Amazon, in the early days. He said that Amazon offered him shares in the company, but he turned it down - that is his legacy. ;-) Seriously, he was using links to market companies online before Google and he still uses links in the same fashion. He believes that those types of links are the links that mean the most to Google because they worked pre-Google for pre-Google reasons.

Ward recently offered his wisdom about obtaining links with Twitter, which just happens to be the latest of many Internet crazes. There is plenty of link potential there despite the nofollow/shortened URL obstacles. Twitter is just one of many paths that can lead to inbound links for your site. WebProWorld member Zonked started an insightful thread saying:

Too often nowadays I see guys spending way too much time focusing on on-page factors. By this I mean, worry about you title tags, meta-tags, keyword density, anchor text and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, on-page factors are important. But even more important nowadays are the sites that link to you. Call it your circle of friends. The less sites that link to you, the harder it will be to rank on search engines.

And don't just get any site to link to you. Google will look at your "circle of friends" and if they consist of spammy sites like article directories, FFA link sites, and so on, then it aint gonna do you a whole lot of good.

Melanie Nathan at Search Engine Journal has a helpful article up providing (and elaborating upon) the following tips for getting more out of your backlinks:

1. Control what you can
2. Optimise your existing backlinks
3. Lend a helping hand
4. Strengthen your site's inner linking structure
5. Be link worthy