Are Backlinks Still Relevant for SEO?

The term SEO is in the internet from so long. From the time it came into existence both search and content marketers believed that Search Engines use different kind of backlinks differently for ranking their websites.

As the years has passed, Google has released many algorithm changes which has affected the rankings of websites differently.

But, now in the 2017, are Link Building still relevant for SEO? In this article, I am going to explain things in detailed manner.

So what kind of backlinks are important now?

According to search metrics annual study, Quality content is more important for ranking high in Google.

But what about backlinks?

If the content is really good, then a lot of websites will automatically link to your quality content.

Equally, Link Building and backlinks also plays an important role in ranking a website. For this reason, a lot of content marketers and SEO professionals crave to get more backlinks to their website.

Google has recently clamped down websites which build unnatural links to their website just to increase their rankings in Search Engines, as earlier, to rank high in Google, you need lot of backlinks, so webmasters would get backlinks from different sources, no matter whether they are from different niche or not.
backlinks number of backlinks

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According to search metrics study, the correlation between backlinks and Google high ranking websites is slowly declining after Google has clamped down the websites which build unnatural links.

So, this is not about number of backlinks your website has, but they must be relevant to your website.

Here are top 5 findings of that study which affects the Google SEO rankings.

1) Number of Backlinks

As you can see in the above picture, the correlation between the number of backlinks a website has and Google position is 0.28. This number is declining every year. But still, it is considered as the #1 factor for ranking a website top in Google.

As you can in the following picture, if you search for the keyword “How to do SEO”

You will get the following results in Google. Competitor Analysis for SEO

Number of backlinks

If you check their number of Link Building and backlinks using MajesticSEO tool, then here is what they say for with 19.7 Million backlinks.

wikihow aherfs


For with 5.94 Million backlinks

Moz aherfs

For with 4.31 Million backlinks

medium aherfs

As you can see from the above, is having more backlinks than the other 2 websites.

2) Referring Domains

The amount of referring domains your website has also plays a major role in determining your website’s position in Google. As you can see in the above screenshots, the more referring domains you have for your website, the better it will rank in Google.

Even this referring domains concept is very true, because big brands often take top positions in Google. This is because, they have good percentage of referring domains.

For example, a website with more links from different domains is more popular than a website who has more links, but very few referring domains.

If you get a site wide link which is placed in the footer which will show on all pages, Google still just count this as a single link and is not so important than a link which is relevant to the content.

Shopping sites always wanted to establish a brand for themselves, so they crave for publicity and hence tries to get more referring websites to establish a brand.

3) Backlinks with Keyword in Anchor Text

The trend of using keyword in Anchor text is declining since the Google’s last algorithm update. According to SearchMetrics study, the percentage of people who are using keyword in anchor text was 29% in earlier years and now it has been declined to 26%.

Google suggests to get natural links to your website, than building some by using keywords in their anchor text.

But not all niches, can get a lot of backlinks, if all websites rely on getting natural links, there would be very few links to every website. Whatever you do, you just have to make the anchor text appear to be natural.

4) Domain Name in Anchor Text

Now a days link builders and content marketing experts are using domain name in their anchor text more and more. Earlier there is around 7% of links contained domain name in anchor text. But now, the percentage has been increased to 10% after the Google latest algorithm update.

Google has realized that, whenever a persons is linking to a website in his content or article, they will probably link that website with a domain name. And it would look like a natural backlink than looking like an artificial link. So, more and more link builders are using domain name in their anchor text.

5) Backlinks from New Sites

Having good number of backlinks from new sites is very important for your website rankings in Google. The more new backlinks you have for your website, the better it ranks in search engines.

For example, in Google, for the top 20 results, if a website A has increased its backlinks from 530 to 700 in few months, then it shows Google that the website is reliable with quality content and hence, it is getting new links each month. This ranks the website top than the website having fewer new links.

So, try to get new links for every article you write, the more new links you get, the better it ranks.

If you see the big PR websites like Huffington Post, once an article is published in their website, it will be syndicated to many other small news websites which generates numerous backlinks for all of their new articles.

Don’t Forget to Read: How to Find Competitor Backlinks Analysis for SEO?

This shows Google that, it is getting new links every day and shows the activeness of this website. So, try to get linked by new websites every day or often to rank better.


On overall, Backlinks are still considered as one of the important factor for ranking in Google. But this has been declining recently with Google recent algorithm updates. Earlier, people used to rank websites high in Google, by getting too many irrelevant backlinks.

Now, this has been broken down into, that in order for website to get ranked high in Google, it must have quality backlinks. Not only quality backlinks but also relevant backlinks.

If you are in health niche, then your backlinks should come from health related websites. If you own an insurance website and you get a backlink from Astro Physics, it doesn’t make any sense at all. So try to get relevant Link Building backlinks.

Read: Free Backlink Generator Tools Website You Should Know About

Read: New SEO Optimization Techniques to Promote Your website

And finally, what Google wants to tell is that if you build quality and engaging content, then your content will be automatically linked by other publishers in your niche, which will bring natural backlinks automatically.