Linkbuilding and the future



4 minute read

First, let's refresh our minds. What does linkbuilding actually mean? Linkbuilding means referring to your website from other websites through a link. This reference is also referred to as a backlink. Nowadays, linkbuilding is still considered an effective method to retrieve high rankings with your website in Google's search engine results. However, search-engine optimisation is a continuously changing field, requiring you to adjust accordingly. How will the linkbuilding strategy look like in five years? Below, we will explain everything related to the future of linkbuilding.

How it all started

With the inception of search-engine optimisation the focus was primarily on keywords. This all started in the nineties. By placing as many keywords as possible, you were able to rank high in the organic search results. Forward several years, in 1996, a new search engine was introduced: BackRub. This search engine introduced the concept of the inbound link. Having inbound links from high-quality websites meant that your website also has value, thus making your site rank higher. Today, BackRub is known as Google. With the emergence of Google, algorithms were developed to retrieve these links. This development took place with a short and temporary collaboration between Yahoo! and Google.

Backlinks remain important

When it comes to a long-term strategy, backlinks remain important to be successful. When executing, it is important to take into account both the quality and relevance of the links. In the past, looking at the number of backlinks was sufficient. Just like your website, the algorithm is continuously evolving. Adjusting your website and backlink strategy should be evolving per the needs of the algorithm as well. This also means an emphasis is needed on your goals, not merely looking at the links.

Seed sites

Google can be described as an intelligent search engine, being able to detect manipulative linkbuilding methods. Naturally, Google aims to rank trustworthy websites in an objective way. The foundation of this approach lies with seed sites: websites with authority, combined with up-to-date and related content. In general, seed sites only link to other reliable websites. Leveraging these principles allows Google to identify seeds sites, such as, NOS, and the Algemeen Dagblad. However, this is not the only element to take into account. Authority on the Internet is not only created by gathering more links. Citations, comments, and links can all be relevant determinants for a website's authority.

Quality over quantity

In the future, we will see an increasing overlap between linkbuilding and public relations. When you have links from reliable resources, search engines will see your linkbuilding profile as reliable as well. The emphasis on quality over quantity is becoming of utmost importance. How does Google determine if a website is qualitative? Not only based on its linkbuilding profile, but also by looking at its page speed, navigation, content quality, and responsiveness (i.e., adjustment to screen sizes).

Why links remain the centrepiece

Links remain the centrepiece of the Google search engine algorithm, making linkbuilding an effective method to pursue. Links connect pages, websites, and people. Not only do links create value, they simply help users to navigate websites both internally and externally. Having reliable links from and to a website also make a website trustworthy and relevant. In the end, the reliability comes down to the content that it refers to. Quality content will be shared by users, as it is relevant to them and their connections. This is why good content follows the snowball effect: it will be shared exponentially when relevant. Google recognises this effect and uses it to determine the quality of the content. Creating the right story with valuable insights, therefore "buys" you a link or reference from users and websites. Having a compelling and unique story helps you to create quality that will be shared: this is known as link attraction.

Linking to the future

This is an indisputable fact: linkbuilding remains relevant to invest in. As a cornerstone of search-engine optimisation, it is beneficial to invest in both your visitors as well as the search engine algorithms. However, there are other elements to take into account. For example, links normally follow suit when you have a quality website with relevant content. Getting the most out of your linkbuilding strategy, therefore, focuses as much on your own website, services, and content as it does on your links. This makes creativity the key to online authority.