Until the mid-1990s, before the arrival of Google, search engines worked in a completely different way. To determine how high a website was included in the ranking, it was simply counted how often a keyword appeared on a page.
This simple way of determining the ranking of websites was very sensitive to abuse (search engine spam). For example, websites simply put the word ‘mp3’ on their pages hundreds of times because it was searched for a lot. You couldn’t buy or download MP3s on these websites, but it did bring them visitors.
You can imagine that the search engine users got quite frustrated with coming up on a website that didn’t offer what you were looking for at all. And that at a time when you still had to dial in with an analog modem and pay per minute for your internet access. You can buy backlinks and have the best results in SEO.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin had come up with a different way in 1996 to determine how high a website should be included in the search engine. They believed that important websites should be at the top of the search results and they figured out a way to determine that.
The number of backlinks and their quality
To determine whether a website is important, Page and Brin looked at the number of backlinks a website has. The (logical) assumption was that important websites would have more backlinks than less important websites.
They also looked at how important the website is from which you had the backlink. For example, a backlink from a university website is worth more than a backlink from the website of your pastry shop around the corner. To give websites value, they came up with a technique which they called PageRank.
The ranking based on backlinks worked much better than the techniques used by the other search engines and it didn’t take long for Google to become the most used search engine simply because Google could provide better search results than the other search engines.
Other ranking factors
The system of (weighted) counting of backlinks also turned out to be sensitive to manipulation and Google evolved and started to determine the ranking of websites on the basis of more and more factors.
It is estimated that Google currently determines the ranking of websites on the basis of 200 factors. Despite this, backlinks are still the most important factor in determining the ranking of websites.
If you look at the top 50 results in Google for keywords with a lot of competition, you will only find websites that have one or more backlinks. It’s almost impossible to rank well without backlinks, even if you have the most amazing content on your website.
Backlinks are therefore extremely important for your ranking. The big question is therefore; how do you get backlinks? In this article, we will give you tips on how to get backlinks and keep them from the pitfalls of link building. Before we start with the link building tips, we first consider a number of fundamentals of a good backlink profile.
A natural backlink profile
Google is constantly fighting against websites that want to manipulate their ranking in the search engine (search engine spam).