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SEO experts agree: Backlinks remain the most important ranking factor

Backlinks are the key to search engine rankings

In the last few years there has been much debate about the importance of backlinks. Some SEO experts have stated that backlinks are becoming less important. At Automatic Backlinks we know that backlinks are just as important as ever, but we thought you should hear it from other SEO experts too.

Here are some of the most interesting and convincing studies about the continuing importance of Backlinks from the experts.


Moz’s study examined the top 50 Google search results for approximately 15,000 keywords. This allowed them to examine what factors correlate with higher search rankings, and also how frequently those characteristics are seen.

The relationship between external links and rankings

One of the first things the study found was a strong relationship between the top search results in Google and the number of external links:

“Even more telling is the number of websites found in the top results that had external backlinks, or rather, the lack thereof.

Out of the top results, a full 99.2% of all websites had at least one external link. (The remaining .8% is well within the margin of error expected between Mozscape and Google’s own link index.) The study found almost no websites ranking for competitive search phrases that didn’t have at least a single external link pointing at them, and most had significantly more links.”

2016-04-15 10_38_23-Can You Rank in Google Without Links_ New Data Says Slim Chance - Moz

Image courtesy of Moz


What exactly is a quality Backlink?

Here is a good definition of a “quality backlink” from Webopedia:


So we can see right off some indicators of quality:

  • Using your keywords
  • From a relevant source

A good start, but there is more. Ask any SEO expert and they would also add that backlinks must:

  • Be from a trusted source
  • Be from an authoritative/influential source
  • Have relevant anchor link text
  • Be in text or in content links

These are the basic requirements most SEO professionals would agree are necessary in order for a backlink to be of quality. So the big question is:

Does Automatic Backlinks provide Quality Backlinks?

Let’s go through the points one at a time.


Get The Most Out Of Your Backlink Campaigns


Automatic Backlinks is a great tool, but you still need to work a little in order to get the most out of it. Before you start a new campaign, take a little time to make sure it gets off to the best possible start by following the tips below.

Make your anchor text relevant

When you place a backlink on someones website, you are essentially telling search engines that the site is voting for you. The link variation (anchor) text you choose must be relevant to the page on your website the backlink is linking to. Lets look at an example. If you have a website that sells camping equipment, then relevant anchor text could be: “Camping equipment”, “Equipment for camping trips”, “Tents and other camping equipment”, “Cheap camping gear”, “Camping gear” and so on. The point is that the text is relevant.

Vary your anchor text

Build backlinks with relevant, but varying anchor text and you’ll rank better in the long run. Why? Because targeting the same keywords over and over again looks unnatural. So mix them up, and add some anchor text that does not contain your keywords at all. With Automatic Backlinks there is no limit to how many link text variations you can use in a campaign, we even created a link variation tool to help you out. Also check out our previous blogpost The Benefits Of Long Tail Keywords for more ideas.

Target different pages

Don’t forget to deep link, meaning assigning links to all your important pages, not just your home page. If a website has all links pointed to just one page, search engines may assume the website is low quality as no one finds worthy content past the first page. On the other hand, If a website has relevant links to internal pages, those links will pass on authority to the home page. If you have many pages in your site, use them!

Importance of choosing relevant topics

If one website votes for another by linking to it, search engines like to know that it is actually qualified to place that vote. Search engines compare a website’s content (especially the page you cast the vote from) to the anchor text chosen. For example if the Anchor text is ‘Quality Real Estate Company’ and the website placing the link is a dating agency where is the connection? Why should their vote count? The answer is it may not. This is the reason you are limited to choosing five topics in your campaigns. To make your campaigns successful, and get the best value for your link credit, choose your topics carefully.

Follow these simple tips to get the most out of your backlink campaigns and really put your link credit to work. Not signed up yet? What are you waiting for! Get started with your own backlink campaign

The Benefits Of Long Tail Keywords


Easier/Cheaper Rankings

Long tail Keywords (usually three or four words) tend to be a lot easier to rank for than more specific single or double keyword phrases. If you were to try and rank for the keyword Adventure for example, you would find that the first page on Google is taken up by big companies like Wikipedia and National Geographic. It would be almost impossible for any small businesses to appear on the first page of Google’s results for this keyword. If however you tried to rank for Quad Biking Holidays Scotland there is a very good chance that a small company would be able to reach the top of Google’s search results for that term.

Long tail keywords are also more affordable in a Google AdWords campaign. The term Adventure would likely be prohibitively expensive for a small company, whereas Quad biking Holidays Scotland would be affordable. There are other benefits to using long tail keywords too.

Higher Sales Conversions

Long tail keywords are phrases which are very specific to what you are selling. When a potential customer uses the phrase Quad biking Holidays Scotland there is a good chance that they are planning on spending money on precisely that. Someone searching only for Adventure is much less likely to be a potential customer. Specific searches are far more likely to convert to sales than general generic searches

More Content

Roughly seventy percent of page views are the direct result of long-tailed keywords, so instead of focusing on just two or three highly competitive single or double keywords, it makes sense to target dozens or even hundreds of easy-to-rank-for long tail keywords. Creating pages in your website that target these long tail keywords also makes sense. This means you’ll likely be creating more pages and Google likes sites that have lots of content. It makes your site look more substantial, more natural, and more helpful.

Tools /How To Find The Best Long Tail Keywords

The Google Adwords keyword tool is a good place to start your keyword research. It not only suggests keywords and provides estimated search volume, but also predicts the cost of running paid campaigns for these terms.

The long tail keywords you choose should be relevant to your website’s content. Try to think what potential customers are likely to type into google’s search engine. Write down as many phrases as you can think of, then search for them yourself. Check out the competition, look at other adword campaigns. When you think you have the right combination of words you could buy a sample campaign from Google AdWords and look at the results of the campaign to get an idea of how effective your long tail keyword was.


2015. Backlinks Remain A Crucial Ranking Factor

When it comes to backlinks little has changed over the years. Websites with more backlinks simply rank better. Expect no difference in 2015.

The picture below shows the results of Search Metric’s 2014 SEO ranking factors report. As you can see, the quantity and quality of backlinks remains crucial.

seo ranking factors 2014 - 2015If you still need more proof that Backlinks remain a key ranking factor you need look no further than the Moz survey. Every two years, Moz gathers the opinions of dozens of the world’s search marketers and runs correlation studies to better understand the workings of search engine algorithms. The results? Page authority, Google +1’s and Backlinks are the most important ranking factors.

seo ranking correlation

And finally the last word from Google itself. Matt Cutts recently confirmed the continuing value of backlinks in the videos below.

“backlinks are a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results … backlink relevance still really, really helps in making sure we return the best, most relevant, most topical set of search results.”

“Backlinks still have many, many years left in them. over time backlinks will become a little less important … we will continue to use links in order to assess the basic reputation of pages and websites.”

A life of its own

Developing the system that runs Automatic Backlinks has been a huge challenge but a very interesting one.

From concept to final system, a lot has been learned and a lot of mistakes have been made. One thing I never considered before I started coding was that eventually Automatic Backlinks would take on a life of its own.

After we all go home at night, Automatic Backlinks keeps on working away, being awesome at exchanging links. Here are just some of the tasks that it performs continually – even as you sleep.

  • Attempts to find links for people with excessive Link Credit
  • Runs error correction facilities to make sure it all adds up
  • Downloads up to date exchange rates for invoicing
  • Verifies that all links that are placed are still displayed
  • Saves statistics on number of members, links, pages, sites, etc. for historical analysis
  • Alerts people who have not set up their campaigns correctly
  • Removes old accounts that are no longer in use
  • Updates PageRank and Alexa rank for all pages in the system
  • Sends out the daily logs to members

Whenever we come into the office in the morning we always study logs and our historical data to see what Automatic Backlinks has been up to. It is naturally quite exiting to see how many links we have placed and how many new pages are added to the system.

Most days we spend on user support, continued development, bug hunting and improvement of features. We don’t actually do all the stuff listed above. That is done by the 5th member of our team, the never tiring “Automatic Backlinks”.