Backlinks Aren’t a Top SEO Priority – Here’s Why

In this article, you'll learn why backlinks aren't a top SEO priority as a Google ranking factor and for search engine optimization strategy

Updated on November 14, 2023
Backlinks Aren’t a Top SEO Priority – Here’s Why

Since the beginning of the internet, backlinks have been a vital component in every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. In addition to keywords, the first version of Google ranked web pages based on how many backlinks it had, hence why it was originally called “Backrub.” In this article, you’ll learn why backlinks aren’t a top SEO priority as a Google ranking factor.

It soon became clear that keywords and backlinks alone can’t determine the value of content, so search engines created additional ranking factors like site speed, domain authority (DA), LSI keywords, and mobile-friendliness. So a good reason why backlinks aren’t a top SEO priority.

Although marketers place a heavy focus on backlinks, claims backlinks aren’t the most important search engine ranking factor, and it’s true. If you’re on a mission to generate backlinks en masse because you’ve heard that’s the best way to rank your site, you only have half of the story. 

Backlinks are important, but they aren’t everything, and here’s why. Keep reading to learn why backlinks aren’t a top SEO priority as a Google ranking factor.

Why backlinks aren’t a top SEO priority? Authority trumps low-quality backlinks

You could generate 50,000 low-quality backlinks and still not rank in your niche. Backlinks are only valuable when they’re relevant and high-quality. Understanding how to get these types of backlinks requires a simple shift in focus.

Rather than thinking of link building as “gathering more links than your competitors,” think of link building as a strategy to build authority by creating phenomenal content that people love. 

Authority is the key ingredient in the formula for high search engine rankings.

Can you rank a site without backlinks?

It is possible to rank a site without backlinks, but the need for backlinks will increase as your competition increases. In a small niche, it’s entirely possible to outperform your competition without many backlinks, especially if they aren’t actively engaging in SEO. 

However, with just a small amount of competition, you’ll need a link building campaign to get search engine visibility.

How authoritative is your website?

Are your backlinks actually helping you rank, or are they just internet décor? If you aren’t seeing much improvement through your link building campaign, here are some tips to generate a more effective backlink profile:

Create content that provides value: Google backlinks ranking factor

Instead of creating mediocre content just to get a backlink, approach every piece of content with the intention of providing value to your market.

Avoid guest posting on spammy sites

There are many high-quality websites that accept guest posts, but there are also many low-quality sites that will publish your articles, too. Before submitting a guest post, browse the site to review the content. If the content is poorly written and doesn’t offer value, skip it. It could be a link farm, and if so, it’s only a matter of time before Google wipes it out.

Become an authority in your niche

At the end of the day, the sites that get the most organic backlinks are the ones that provide expert-level information and solutions to their market. When you prove yourself to be an authority in your niche. People will think of your content first when they want to share information. Once people find out about your content, they’ll link it regularly, which equals effortless, quality backlinks for you.

Work with an SEO agency

While you can find plenty of articles online about DIY SEO, you’ll miss out on a bunch of benefits only provided by an agency. For instance, SEO agencies have long-term relationships with top-quality publishers and they have extensive experience in a variety of niches.

Choose a less competitive niche

If you haven’t started your business yet, choose a niche without much competition. Industries like real estate, for example, often have thousands of backlinks. So, you’ll need to generate a large number of high-quality links to compete. Stick with a smaller, localized niche when possible. You can rank a niche site without many backlinks.

Supplement your backlinks with outstanding content is a Top SEO priority

You don’t need to crush the competition to outrank other websites. If you don’t have as many backlinks as your competitors, you can close this gap by creating a user-friendly. Intuitive, fast-loading website full of authoritative and enticing content.

Make your site stand out as the number one resource in your industry and give people a reason to favor you when it comes time to share information across the web.

Ultimately, backlinks only support your SEO efforts when they are relevant and high-quality. Links from poor-quality websites and sites that look like link farms or personal blog networks (PBNs) won’t help you. In fact, they may hurt you.

While you build your backlink profile, prioritize building authority. Aim to provide high-quality, relevant content first. When it comes to generating backlinks for SEO, quality always trumps quantity.