8 June 2016 | Team Tamar

SEO isn’t just link-building!

Many, many years ago – well, about eight but that’s practically prehistoric when you work in an industry that’s as fast paced as digital – SEOs focused only on linkbuilding. Back in the day, links were proven to be the quickest way to improve a website’s rankings.

It’s true, links can still affect rankings – but they’re not the be-all-and-end-all of SEO. But still, time and time again we get asked about links. Why aren’t we doing enough? It’s all about links isn’t it? Surely you don’t need to write content? Why can’t these technical changes wait?

Well, things have changed. Times change. Google changes. Those old SEO tactics that worked many moons ago are no longer relevant – and some are actively penalised.

Links will move you up

Links are still proven to be one of the most significant and achievable ranking factors. Acquiring links – good, organic and natural links – is still highly prized, and effective linkbuilders are few and far between.

Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors survey found that domain-level link factors – such as quality and quantity of links – were given an 8.22 out of 10 in importance. That score made them the biggest influencing factor on rankings.

moz ranking factors

Any guesses on what was ranked the second most important factor? That’s right, more link metrics.

Page-level link features (i.e. quality of linking root domains, quality of linking sources etc) came in at second with 8.19 – so not that far behind. So surely all of this points towards links, links and nothing but links, right?

But links are not ENOUGH

No. It doesn’t. We cannot stress how much LINKS ARE NOT ENOUGH. The focus of Google’s many (many many many) algorithm updates is to fight link spamming.

Links can only get you so far. At the end of the day, if your site is not relevant, if it’s not serving the user’s intent, it’s never going to rank. 

There is more to SEO

There are three core pillars of SEO, and we’ve already discussed the first one – links.

But the second is content. Many SEO agencies will pitch content, and there’s a reason for this. It is an integral part of SEO. Without the correct content on the site, you can never hope to rank. You cannot serve user intent with no content. And if Google isn’t serving up content to users that is relevant – users will find another service that will.

Content is so important that a whole new area of digital marketing has emerged and continues to grow out of it – content marketing. There’s a reason why there has been an explosion in this area, and why brands are continuing to pump hundreds of thousands of pounds at a time into it. Because it works.

The other core pillar of SEO? Technical.

Technical SEO is often overlooked, but it is just as important as any other part. Technical changes can sometimes be costly to implement – for example, if you need a new mobile site – but there’s a reason we advise you to do these things. Mobilegeddon and the Mobile-Friendly Update are no joke. SEOs know what will make you rank and they say you won’t rank without a mobile site, they mean it.

As with anything that relies on three legs to get around – think of the aliens from War of the Worlds – if you take away one leg, the rest will fall too. It’s not enough to just rely on links, you need the content and you need technical SEO too.

So the next time your SEO recommends something other than links to you, listen to them. You pay for their experience – so you might as well make the most of it.

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Team Tamar