Google no longer penalises backlinks (but you are wasting your money!)

There was another SMX conference last week and one of the most important takeaways I got from there was from Gary Illyes from Google. According to him, Google doesn’t have any backlinks penalties anymore! It’s important to understand the context of that statement though. Google used to say that it wasn’t penalising as much as it once did, and people would get angry about that. What it’s saying now is that the Googlebot simply tends to ignore backlinks when it finds them. It knows what backlinks are good and which ones are bad, and simply ignores the bad ones.

However, Gary went on to say: “If you are buying links, you are literally throwing money away”. Bad word usage aside, that’s a pretty important statement. Google is saying that you’re not doing yourself any good by buying backlinks; you’re just throwing your money away. I was asked about backlinks recently and I told a potential client that I don’t do any backlinking. I don’t consider that true SEO.

Real SEO is about making your site great, about building your brand and your audience. Do backlinks come from this? Sure. But that’s not the point. Google’s metric is popularity, not backlinks, and that’s the point. The more popular your site is the higher ranking it will signal to Google.

Focus on building your audience without worrying about this or that way to collect backlinks. Concentrate on tweaking your site to make it speedy and user friendly, and keep great content at the top of your to-do list. Cater to your readers and don’t worry about the number of backlinks you have, and the results will be higher Google rankings. And that’s advice straight from Google itself.

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