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As Algorithms Evolve, Do Backlinks Still Matter?

If you’ve been following the trends in social media and search engine ranking, you may be asking yourself whether backlinks on your website are still important. While there is a shift to social signaling playing an increasing role in determining rank, the short answer to this increasingly complex question is “yes.” Although it is wise to keep your finger on the ever changing pulse of how Google’s algorithm treats links and ranks articles, much of the previously shared advice on how to increase a page’s ranking is still valid with a few revisions.

In the local internet marketing world, the proper protocol for appearing high in search results follows several key rules. A business should strive to have a mixture of backlinks. However, the preponderance of them should be from sites relevant to your website topic. Further, take into account the number of backlinks with keywords and those which are “no follow” or contain stopwords.

Using these foundational principles, an organization can build its backlinks in a number of tried and true ways:

  • Write guest posts for influential blogs which share information that is complementary to yours. Include a link to content on your site which may be of particular interest to the target audience of the blog.
  • Participate in forums or Twitter chats related to your area of focus. Often there is an appropriate time to share information about your mission and of course, your website. In order to avoid offending regular members, remember it’s wise to take a step back when you begin participating and find out what is the most appropriate way to provide an introduction to your organization.
  • In the “game” of getting backlinks, it can be crucial not to lose sight of the fact it is important to draw interested parties to your website whether they come to you via a search engine or another website. Therefore, consider posting well thought out and engaging comments on blogs that compliment your business focus. Yes, this approach may get you no follow backlinks, but if your quality backlinks outweigh the no follow links and this common approach does draw new visitors to your website, it is well worth the effort.

Competition in the ranking arena is fierce, however, and an organization cannot ignore the impact social media, and in particular, Google+ Authorship can have on a website’s ranking. Therefore, a key action step for every organization to take is to have a presence on Google+ and ensure Authorship is used to link together articles and content.

This local internet marketing strategy is the marrying of the two worlds of search engine ranking. The transition to ranking websites based on social signaling is a progression gaining momentum, but exactly how these signaling factors will impact ranking algorithms seems to be influx. Therefore, utilizing traditional SEO methods, such as utilizing of backlinks, and cultivating a robust conversation on your social media sites is crucial.

Author Chris Marentis is the founder and CEO of local internet marketing company, Surefire Social.
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