In the digital era, link-building remains a cornerstone of successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. However, like most aspects of the digital landscape, its tactics and best practices have evolved over time. In 2023, savvy marketers are leveraging advanced techniques and a refined understanding of Google's algorithms to build high-quality backlinks that drive significant traffic and improve site rankings.
Here we explore the latest trends in link-building, with a special focus on building high-quality backlinks, understanding Google's content updates, utilizing the skyscraper technique, and the importance of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) in your strategy.
The Evolving Landscape of Link-Building in 2023
In 2023, the world of link-building has expanded significantly, moving beyond the traditional reciprocal links and directory listings. Instead, the focus is on fostering genuine, value-based relationships with high-quality sites. SEO professionals have had to pivot from old strategies that no longer yield the desired results, to innovative tactics that align with Google’s ever-evolving algorithms.
An integral part of this evolution is the emphasis on user experience. Google now rewards websites that offer valuable content to users and those that users trust and enjoy. This trend necessitates creating and sharing content that not only provides information but also solves problems, educates, and entertains.
The growing importance of social media in SEO is another significant trend in 2023. Social signals, such as likes, shares, and comments, can increase a site's visibility, helping it gain more backlinks. Moreover, sharing content through these platforms enhances reach, driving more traffic and potential link opportunities.
Another shift is the increasing emphasis on relevance. Google's algorithms now prioritize links from sites that have content relevant to yours. This evolution aims to enhance the user experience by connecting users with the information they need. As such, building links with high-quality, relevant sites has become more crucial than ever.
In 2023, the landscape is also seeing a rise in the significance of local SEO. For businesses targeting specific geographic locations, local backlinks can dramatically improve their visibility in local search results. This trend reflects the increased usage of 'near me' searches and the growing importance of location-based marketing.
The power of unlinked brand mentions has come to the fore. Google's algorithms can now recognize and value mentions of a brand, even without a direct link. This development underscores the importance of building a strong online reputation and brand awareness.
According to Seek SEO, one of the link-building strategists available to work with businesses nationwide, “In 2022, Google implemented a major update to combat link spam, which caused many websites to lose their rankings overnight. But our linkbuilding service knows what it takes to build high-quality backlinks that still work post-update.”
What it Means to Build High-Quality Backlinks: Quality Over Quantity
The focus in the contemporary link-building era has shifted from accumulating a high number of links to securing high-quality backlinks. But what exactly constitutes a high-quality backlink?
A high-quality backlink originates from a reputable, authoritative website. Search engines perceive these websites as trustworthy sources, boosting the linked site's ranking. The measure of a website's authority often stems from the quality and relevance of its content, its social signals, and the number of its own high-quality backlinks.
The relevance of the linking site’s content to yours plays a crucial role in determining link quality. Backlinks from websites within your industry or niche are deemed more valuable as they enhance the relevance and context of your site to users and search engines.
The position of your backlink on the page also matters. Links embedded within the content are generally more valuable than those found in footers or sidebars. These links are more likely to be clicked on by users, hence indicating a higher level of engagement and relevance.
Diversity in link type and source is another defining feature of high-quality backlink profiles. This involves a mix of follow and no-follow links, links from different domains, and a variety of link types such as text links, image links, and form links. This diversity suggests a natural and organically grown link profile, which is preferred by search engines.
The anchor text used in the backlink plays a role in its quality. Ideally, the anchor text should be relevant to the linked content and not overly optimized with exact-match keywords. This can lead to a better user experience and helps search engines understand the context of the link.
A high-quality backlink leads to a relevant and valuable page on your site. Instead of generic homepage links, deep links to specific content or product pages are more valuable. This practice enhances the user experience by directing users to the specific information they're looking for.
Here are some helpful things to consider when looking for quality websites to build links with:
● Check the website's domain authority: Higher DA sites generally contribute more to SEO.
● Examine the relevance of the website's content to yours: This ensures the link is contextually fitting.
● Look at the website's link profile: A healthy profile indicates a trustworthy site.
● Analyze the site's traffic: More traffic could mean more visibility for your link.
● Assess the site's social media presence: Active engagement on social media can signal higher authority.
Staying Current With the Latest Google Content Updates
As Google's goal is to offer the best possible results for users, its algorithm undergoes regular updates. Understanding these changes is key to maintaining a successful link-building strategy.
In recent years, Google has increasingly prioritized user experience. Its Page Experience Update, for example, considers factors like loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability in ranking sites. This means websites need to be optimized for speed, mobile use, and user-friendly design to earn quality backlinks.
The BERT update, another significant change, improved Google's understanding of natural language. This means that content should be more conversational and contextually relevant, increasing its chances of gaining high-quality backlinks. It’s essential to keep up with such advancements to ensure your content matches the evolved search context.
Google's Core Web Vitals have also been an essential update to pay attention to. This update focuses on user experience metrics such as loading time, interactivity, and visual stability. Ensuring your website excels in these areas can increase the chance of earning and maintaining quality backlinks.
In 2023, Google's Product Review update also continues to influence SEO. This update rewards in-depth, well-researched product reviews over superficial ones. For e-commerce businesses, creating insightful reviews can be a potent tactic for gaining quality backlinks.
The continued development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Google's algorithm, such as with RankBrain, influences how search results are ranked and thus the strategies for link-building. AI has improved the understanding of context and user intent, making it essential for content to be valuable, relevant, and engaging to earn high-quality backlinks.
It is crucial to monitor the changes Google introduces and adapt your link-building strategy accordingly. Regularly audit your website to identify areas of improvement, and adjust your content creation and link-building tactics to meet the updated standards.
Skyscraper Technique: Creating Content that Dominates the Competition
In the competitive digital landscape, the Skyscraper Technique remains a powerful strategy for securing high-quality backlinks. This method involves finding popular, well-linked content in your niche, creating something even better, and then reaching out to the right people.
Firstly, you need to identify high-performing content within your niche. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can be used to analyze keywords and identify pieces with a large number of backlinks. It’s crucial to choose a topic that is evergreen and relevant to your audience.
Once you've identified the content, the next step is to create something superior. This could mean making your content more comprehensive, updating it with the latest information, improving the design, or even just making it more engaging. The goal is to provide more value than the original piece.
Having created your exceptional piece of content, the next step is outreach. This involves contacting the websites that linked to the original content and introducing them to your improved version. The key is to pitch your content in a way that highlights its added value and relevance to their audience.
Despite being a labor-intensive strategy, the Skyscraper Technique can yield significant results. By focusing on creating outstanding content that adds genuine value, you can attract high-quality backlinks that improve your SEO performance.
This technique doesn’t just aid in link-building. It also helps position your brand as an authority in your field, increases your social media shares, and drives more traffic to your site. Ultimately, the Skyscraper Technique is about creating the kind of content that users and search engines love.
The Impact of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) on Link-Building
E-A-T, standing for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, has become a cornerstone concept in SEO and link-building. Essentially, Google seeks to provide users with the most reliable and useful information, and E-A-T is a framework for assessing that reliability and usefulness.
Expertise refers to the depth of knowledge displayed in your content. For link-building, this means that highly knowledgeable content is more likely to attract backlinks from other authoritative sources. This encourages content creators to deeply understand their topic, utilize expert insights, and offer unique viewpoints.
Authoritativeness is about the credibility of the website and the author. It is assessed based on the quality and quantity of backlinks, brand reputation, and author credentials. Building authoritative backlinks requires establishing a strong online presence, creating high-quality content, and fostering trust among your audience and peers.
Trustworthiness pertains to the reliability and security of a website. It’s assessed based on factors like site security (HTTPS), transparency of information about the business and its privacy policies, and user reviews. To gain trustworthy backlinks, it's crucial to ensure your website is secure, transparent, and user-friendly.
E-A-T is also critical for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages, which are pages that could potentially impact a person’s health, financial stability, safety, or happiness. Google has particularly high E-A-T requirements for these pages, making it crucial for businesses in these areas to focus on E-A-T in their link-building strategies.
Importantly, E-A-T isn’t just a ranking factor; it’s a guiding principle for creating valuable content and building a reputable online presence. By focusing on E-A-T in your link-building strategy, you not only improve your SEO performance but also enhance user experience and brand trust.
Link-building in 2023 is an increasingly complex and nuanced field. With the continuous evolution of Google's algorithm and the increasing importance of E-A-T, SEO professionals need to focus more on creating valuable, user-oriented content and building genuine relationships with high-quality, relevant sites. Although strategies like the Skyscraper Technique demand significant time and effort, they can yield substantial results in terms of backlinks, brand authority, and SEO rankings. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and adaptable will be key to link-building success.