Backlink Relevance: How to Build Effective Backlinks

organically gaining backlinks

Backlinks are a crucial part of every website’s search engine optimization, as they tell Google that your content is valuable and trustworthy, acting just like citations in academic research. Content with more backlinks shows higher in relevant search results, which translates into more clicks of that content, as you can see in the graphic below. However, backlink relevance is also important in determining the value of backlinks and their effect on optimization as relevant links show a higher level of value and trust.

backlink relevance
Image courtesy of Moz

Recognizing the impact of backlink relevance, web admins changed the way they build links over the last few years. Initially, quantity trumped quality, and sites did everything within their power to build links anywhere. Today, we know a bit more about how Google’s algorithm works, and the search engine adapted its specifications to improve search results based on backlink relevance.

Backlink relevance

We now know that Google prides itself on offering its readers the best possible search results since the value of a search engine lies in its ability to produce the results a user wants within the first page of search results. Using backlinks as an arbitrator of value places the responsibility for determining the best search results to an objective party.

However, it’s not always clear just what backlink relevance is, and why it’s so vital when you’re building backlinks to your site. After all, surely a few irrelevant backlinks won’t hurt, right? You’re wrong: even a few irrelevant backlinks could damage your site’s link portfolio. The only way to fix this issue is with costly and time-consuming changes, such as manually checking all of your site’s backlinks and disavowing irrelevant ones. It’s much easier to avoid creating irrelevant links in the first place.

Google focuses on backlink relevance

The main reason for building backlinks is to improve your page’s SEO and reach the top of SERPs (search engine results pages) for your desired keywords. That means that you need to do what Google, the world’s biggest search engine, wants in order to perform favorably in its ranking algorithm. Other search engines follow Google’s lead, so by using Google’s definition of backlink relevance, you stand the best possible chance of raising your site’s ranking on a range of search engines.

organically gaining backlinks
Image courtesy of Host Papa

One of the main focuses of Google’s algorithm, along with other key elements such as bounce rate, social media engagement, and relevance to a user’s search intent,  is to find relevant mentions of your website content and backlinks in relevant, quality content on websites in the appropriate niche. The search engine’s algorithm is highly sophisticated, so it can tell the difference between a backlink on a site that’s not in the same niche, but which has some relevance to a related topic VS a completely irrelevant backlink. So, when you’re building backlinks for your business, you need to focus on what Google wants from your site.

The algorithm constantly changes

Google added to and enhanced its algorithm over the years in an effort to defeat blackhat SEO and produce superior results for users as their needs changed. The algorithm is still evolving, and Google releases multiple updates throughout each year; some very minor and some earth-shattering. As such, the search engine’s definition of relevance changes over time, as it improves its understanding of natural language processing to anticipate user intent posed by the query. Some terms and phrases change meaning or connotation over time, so Google adapts accordingly, and your website must do so too.

That means that you need to work to adapt to all of these changes to the Google algorithm and continue to build quality, relevant backlinks for your site if you want to stay ahead of your competitors. All of this work might take a lot of time, so consider outsourcing some, or all, of your website’s backlinking strategy to a trusted agency. Using UK Linkology’s backlinks, for instance, you ensure your backlinks are always placed on relevant sites, and by using their in-house content team, you can also get quality, relevant, and insightful content for your links.

Backlinks aren’t just for algorithms- readers use them too

Quality content is vital for any backlink strategy, as it’s not just Google’s algorithms that you need to impress. While your main aim is to build backlinks and boost your off-page technical SEO, you also need to remember that visitors to the site hosting your links see them as well.

When individuals follow your backlink, you reach new readers who might become customers. However, they’ll only stay on your website and engage with it if the link is relevant and the anchor text is enticing and natural. If the anchor text looks too promotional and the piece is irrelevant to the site, then you don’t reach your target market, so they aren’t a good prospect for your brand.

It’s easier to write relevant content

One way of gaining relevant backlinks is through guest posting on related websites. Gaining new customers through this strategy involves writing high-quality, interesting content that appeals to your target audience. Writing quality, relevant guest posting content increases the chances that readers click on your link to learn more, improving the traffic for the page, and thus giving your link more sway with Google’s algorithm. There are multiple types of guest post content out there, so you can find the one that suits your purposes.

Final Thoughts

Overall, backlink relevance is a crucial part of SEO. The relevance of everything from content and anchor text for your link through to the sites hosting your link affect Google’s opinion of your link.

If Google thinks that your link is natural and useful for readers, then the link helps your site to appear higher in SERPs for relevant keywords. However, a link-building campaign that includes backlinks to irrelevant, unnatural, or SPAM websites could result in your site getting overlooked by Google or even lower your rank.

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