Do Back Links Work Anymore For Rankings?

On July 31, 2013, in SEO, by Rowan
© Rowan Casey

Do Back Links Work Anymore?When I first started writing online five years ago, I was told that back links were the most important factor after title choice and the keywords on the page for rankings.

Over the years, Google has phased out the importance it places on the number of back links, and has gone even further in the latest algorithm updates, punishing sites for building low quality links from “link farms”.

I used to write on different article writing sites that paid people a small amount like Associated Content, (before it became Yahoo Contributor Network), Bukisa, (before it changed to payment through Google Adsense), Factoidz, (before it became Knoji), and a couple of other ones here and there.

You might notice that none of those sites really allow people to make a good living anymore, or you might still get paid something from Yahoo Voices if you live in the US.

These article writing sites have been punished, almost across the board as content farms, and Google has decided to go in favor of people who blog and write on their own domains, or large authority sites like Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, You Tube and Facebook.

In terms of back links, what was once valuable is now in almost all cases not valuable, and can even be used in reverse to damage your rankings.

Reverse SEO: Things That Will Damage Your Rankings

Reverse SEO is a pretty terrible thing to do to someone, completely unethical, but considering how many people out there are doing worse things, it’s already become a part of the way people try to rank their own site, by destroying the rankings of their competitors.

Don’t do that, it’s not fair at all, and they can just do the same thing back to you and everyone else which becomes the most ridiculous war of spam.

Some things which used to work that now don’t, or in most cases don’t work:

  • Social bookmarking
  • Blog comments
  • Directory Submission
  • Spun Articles
  • Syndicated Articles
  • Auto-approve article sites
  • links from blogs in paid blog networks
  • paid links from .edu or .gov sites (scam)
  • links from a home page set up to build links in exchange for your link
  • links from a site’s resource or partners page
  • links from forum comments
  • profile links
  • links from a site that has had a Google slap


There are very few ways to make quality links these days, Google has said that they are paying a lot more attention to social signals, such as Facebook shares and tweets, but these are still no follow.

Matt Cutts from Google suggests that people stop focusing on building back links, and concentrate instead on building high quality content on their site that engages the audience and deserves natural sharing and linking.

Making a page on your site that is link bait basically means giving the people what they’ve been looking for. Quality information such as a list, a sourced news story about a celebrity or event.

There are ways that you can pay to get views to your page, ways you can pay to get shares and tweets, in fact you’re in the right place now.

I do all of that social media stuff, in fact I say that I can do almost anything you want, as long as you’ve got the budget for it. Send me a message at [email protected] to talk about how I can help you with what you’re doing.


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