Are Inbound Links Still Important?

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Feb 20, 2017
More Articles by Janet

When Brin and Page first developed the idea for Google and how they would rank pages, inbound links clearly played an important role in Google organic search ranking. Their original patent for Google relies heavily on the relationship between pages and how they refer to one another. Links, in essence, are like votes of popularity from one site to another.

Fast forward to today — after all of the link spam that was created over the years to rank sites higher in Google, the search engine created new penalties and algorithm updates, like Penguin, to address SEOs creating spammy inbound links. Today inbound links, through any of the accepted methods, are much harder to come by. What’s an SEO to do?

I view SEO and the ranking factors we optimize as a series of opportunities. As the webmaster, you choose which opportunities you can employ and which you may have to bypass or delay. There are many reasons why we might choose to prioritize one SEO opportunity over another: budget, resources, timeline and other reasons. Inbound linking in particular can be time-consuming and costly; and in the end, after all of your efforts, you still may not receive a link from another website. Inbound links, while we can influence them and attempt to attain new ones, are essentially links that are not in our control.

But there are inbound links we can affect — inbound links that somehow became broken links. The good news here is that you can find those broken links and create 301 redirects to reclaim those links. Inbound links you can control! Check out my full post on Search Engine Land about how and why to reclaim those broken inbound links.

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