When link building, many SEO practitioners face the question: Should I focus on getting thousands of backlinks, or a few quality backlinks? The answer is you want to get as many quality backlinks as you can. Building tons of links might sound like the most effective means of improving your visibility in the search engines, but quality is and always has been more important.
Think about it like this:
Backlinks are like human citation on the web. The way we link out to sites expresses how we feel about them: better sites get more links from more authoritative sites. Just as an expert’s opinion on the news is held in higher regards than your average Joe, a link from an expert site is respected the same way. If you were looking to lose weight, whom would you trust more: an experienced dietician or some random guy you met at the supermarket? Just like we trust those with more credibility and experience in our day-to-day lives, Google trusts sites that display experience and authority more as well. This principle applies directly to link building and how we practice it.
Let’s say you’re the guy from the supermarket earlier, and oddly enough, you actually know your stuff. No one is going to necessarily believe what you have to say without further proof or evidence. But what if there was a health expert nearby that verified your opinions? With the support of an expert, your opinion would now be held in higher regards by others. Similarly, you have a small niche site on health; Google isn’t going to see you as much of an authority. But if you got a link from an authoritative health site…I think you get the idea.
If you are getting a ton of backlinks from non-expert, non-authoritative sources it is going to take a lot of links to achieve anywhere near the results you want. You can improve your rankings somewhat effectively with these types of links, but it takes a ton of them. To compare backlinks with real life again; how many people would it take to convince you of a stranger’s opinion if none of these people seemed qualified to make judgments about said stranger’s opinions? 5, 10, 200, 1,000? In other words, you would probably demand the support of many people if none of them were experts in order to trust this stranger. In the same fashion, Google is not quick to trust and increase the rank of sites with just profile links and other non-authoritative links. However, each one does count a little bit, and I mean a little bit.
We always want to aim for quality over quantity. Vast quantities of low quality backlinks can help, but the core of your link building strategy should revolve around acquiring high quality backlinks. These quality links also often send traffic to your site which is a huge added benefit. You’re not going to get any additional traffic from profile backlinks which is going to leave you entirely reliant upon Google and the other search engines. Most people find a balance in their link building efforts between the two. Find what works for you, and stick to with it until you hit the top.
Guest Author: Ben Jackson is an SEO expert/enthusiast and founder of www.seodiscovery.org.