Every year, there seem to be new contenders clambering to the top of the SEO ranks.

In 2019, the focus is on features such as voice search, on-page optimisation and mobile page speed. So, what effect do these newcomers have on established ranking factors like backlinks? Are backlinks still relevant to your company’s SEO?

The importance of backlinks

Backlinks are still incredibly important and should not be undermined by modern SEO practices.

For off-page SEO, where you are trying to increase the visibility of your website, backlinks remain an essential part of your strategy. Link building is the process of getting other sites to link back to yours (backlinks). When you link to relevant content on authoritative websites, the visibility of your website increases on search engines. Your ranking position can also improve.

Examples of backlinks to include in your SEO strategy

Aim to link to high-profile or authoritative sites. People are far more likely to trust content from these kinds of websites, and Google also takes into account the quality of the linking site. Here are some white-hat backlink techniques that are usually acceptable to Google.

Post useful resource articles or expert roundups

Include articles such as ‘The 50 best restaurants in Cardiff in 2019’ or ‘The expert guide to home improvements’, which are useful to your website visitors. Many of these articles recycle the same information, so try to focus on valuable insights from high-end sources.

Link to Case studies

Work with your clients to produce case studies which promote their business and explain how your company helped them achieve their goals.

Try blogger outreach

Blogging is big business these days, and if you’re in the B2C space, it’s worth finding suitable bloggers to work with. By providing them with relevant content, you can help them grow their audience while you secure a link. Including blogging in your B2B marketing is more difficult, as you’re likely to come across your competitors blogging about relevant content.

Use influencer marketing

An influencer is someone who is an authority within a particular sphere (for example, fashion, beauty or fitness) and influences their followers’ purchasing decisions. Getting a mention on social media from a well-known influencer or a link from their blog can increase traffic to your website.


Put together an infographic

An infographic is a visually attractive way to display information. Infographics usually contain a mixture of images and charts and a small amount of text. They’re popular because they’re easy and quick to understand. People will share infographics on social media, and other website and blogs may use them and link back to you.


How not to link build

There are some link building techniques that you should avoid, as using them may incur Google penalties.

Don’t buy links

Google will penalise you if you buy links as they consider it unethical.

Don’t include too many reciprocal links

While reciprocal links can be useful, you shouldn’t have too many of them. Google will pick up on them and assume they are link schemes set up exclusively for link building.

Don’t over optimise anchor texts in guest posts

Make sure the link appears natural rather than obviously in the content for link-building purposes. And don’t put too many keywords in your blog either; the general rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t do it on your site, don’t do it elsewhere.

Don’t guest blog on sites that aren’t related to yours

There needs to be a link between your site and the guest blog site. For example, if you’re a corporate training provider, linking to a website selling flowers makes little sense. Make sure the site you link to benefits your visitors rather than a tool to get you up the search engine rankings.

Don’t include low-quality backlinks

One quality link from an authority in your industry or a well-known website will impact your ranking a lot more than ten low-quality links.


Other ranking factors to consider

Even though SEO ranking factors keep evolving, an optimised site provides a far better customer experience and more traffic, which will help you generate leads. Along with backlinks, there are several ranking factors you should focus on which will benefit your business.

High-quality content

High quality, optimised content is extremely valuable for SEO. The ‘it must be relevant and of value to your visitors’ rule applies, or else users will soon leave your page. You’ll also need to do some keyword research to make sure you include the right search terms in your content. Google uses keywords to determine if content is relevant to a search query, as well as how the page ranks for that term.

Responsive website

With more people using mobile to access the internet than desktops, Google now draws search results from mobile-optimised sites before desktops. Therefore, your website should automatically re-size to fit whatever device someone is using to view it. If you’ve got ads on your site, make sure they’re not more prominent than your content. Make your menus easy to access and use large fonts which are easy to read on smaller screens.

Accessible and secure website

Your website URL should be easy for Google to access. It should also include a sitemap with a list of all the site’s pages and a robots.txt file which tells bots where they can and can’t go on your website. Your site should also be secure and show an SSL certificate, as it will help it get a higher ranking.

Page speed

Page speed has been a primary ranking factor for Google for years, and in 2018, they updated their algorithm to include mobile page speed. The update means you may miss out on traffic if your website doesn’t load quickly on mobile devices. Google provides a mobile-friendly testing tool so you can check how fast your site loads on mobile.

User experience

It makes sense that user experience (UX) has a significant impact on SEO. If your site is hard to navigate or slow to load, you will lose visitors fast. Over 50% of mobile users will abandon your site if it doesn’t load within three seconds. Bounce rate affects your site’s search engine rankings, along with how long people stay on your website and its clickthrough rate.

Keeping on top of SEO updates and improving your search engine rankings can be time-consuming. Simply Media provide a range of digital marketing services, and our SEO experts can help to optimise your website and improve your search engine rankings. Let’s work together to help your business grow.