We have discussed backlinks on Writing Online before, but I wanted to bring it up again to reconsider how to backlink content and if it is necessary after the changes on Google over the last year or so. Many of you have heard of Panda and Penguin which are nicknames for the most recent ways that Google has been working to clean up their search engines. I am not going to begin to debate whether those filters have been successful or not. I would like to comment more on what we should be doing in the aftermath of the Google changes to help our content continue to be found on Google.
Google has specifically gone after spammers in the last year, which has included content farms, duplicate content, spun articles, and mechanical automatic backlinking. But that doesn’t mean that you should immediately give up all the ways you have been taught to increase your visibility on search engines including Google. Although we have seen the demise or downturn of many companies that spawned those practices, there are still valid reasons for creating content and backlinking.
Content is still important for people who search online. It is important to help people find what they are looking for. Often the end source does not do a good job of this, and if you create a curated list of items to help a searcher narrow down what they are searching for, this is very useful information. Your content can provide a useful service to a reader whether it is educational, informational, or sales content.
Backlinks are also still very valuable, but they should not be manufactured backlinks to your content attached to shallow meaningless content. This is exactly what Google is trying to eliminate. Instead, create valuable related content which can be linked together to drive traffic to all of your related content.
Here is an example:
I have recently been creating content on famous rivers. I have placed this content on several different sites, and linked them together because they are related to each other. With some searching, you can probably find articles that I have about the Nile River, Amazon River, Yangtze River, and Mississippi River. It is plausible that a person who searches for one of those topics might be interested in another one. This is linking together quality content that will drive traffic. Search engines can see that this content is related. Each article can stand alone on its own, but together they are more powerful and will provide information for students, travelers, or people who just like to learn about rivers.
This is the type of backlinks that I recommend that you create with the opportunity we have to write articles on several sites including your own websites. Manufactured backlinks are out, but relevant backlinks are in.