Not all backlinks are created equally. Some are great, others do more bad than good. 

This outlook has put “quality backlinks” in the dead-center of conversations.

Not that people don’t look for and get poor quality backlinks anymore. They STILL do. However, quality has become quite a focal point in this SEO department as of late.

In this context, two very big things will happen this year and beyond:

  1. More people will do away from poor quality backlinks. Since it’s becoming more evident that bad link associations hurt PR in a big way.

  2. External backlinks will become less relevant to a point that they won't even matter.

backlinks-are-dead, seo-techniques, link-building

Now, I might receive some flak for the second point, but let me explain…

External Link Building is Less Relevant Now

Yes, backlink is one of the two most important SEO factors (content being the other one).

However, it’s not uncommon to find websites ranking higher on SERP even with fewer backlinks compared to other results in the lower end.

For example, I Googled “best recipe for vegan”. The following two results popped in first and third result pages.

backlinks-are-dead, seo-techniques, link-building

A quick backlink analysis of these 2 URLs came up with this…

backlinks-are-dead, seo-techniques, link-building


The result on the first page has a fewer number of backlinks (and less Domain Rating) and yet it ranked higher vs. the other one.

Indeed, this isn’t concretely conclusive to anything. Yet, in many ways, it shows backlinks are less important today.

UXO is the New SEO

Also, a backlink isn’t a direct UX-centric factor. And with Rankbrain becoming more prevalent – and Google chasing factors like CTR, Time on Site, Dwell Time, and Bounce Rate more than others – it’s not hard to assume that the search engine may be mellowing down with traditional ranking factors such as external backlinks.

In addition, let’s not forget that a large part of link building techniques is black-hat, unethical or not legit. And with search engines more vigilant against such poor practices, it only makes sense that they start prioritizing backlinks less and less.

This isn’t to say, naively, that backlinks are “really” dead or doesn’t matter anymore. BUT, link building is definitely isn’t something that it once used to be.

And as search engines become more humane in their ranking in the coming months and years, backlinks would become very less relevant.

While this has been a hushed talk for a couple of years now, 2019 might just be the year that it actually starts to pan out in reality.

Also Read: A Complete List of Off-Page SEO Techniques

P.S. Sorry for the clickbait title. But I am sure the arguments here made sense. :)

P.S.S. Don’t stop guest blogging though. Might not for backlinks, BUT it’s extremely helpful for branding.

*****

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Asif Ali

Asif is a certified content marketer and professional blogger with 4+ years experience in his pockets. Stratightedge, blogger and a full-time cloud-lover, find him on Twitter and Medium.


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