Have you ever wondered why backlinks are so important to a search engine? Well, if you had only fewer sites for any given keyword on the worldwide web, then grading them based on their content, age, user reviews & traffic could be very easy. However, with the exponential increase in web presence and hundreds of thousands of fresh domains coming each day, deciding the top 10 sites is no more easy. There would be thousands of websites that will have almost similar level of content diversity, age, traffic and daily visits. So, the only remaining solution for a search engine is to develop a voting system to judge which site has got more relevant voting, that we know today as backlinks.
This was the initial concept of Google while indexing millions of websites. A good example to make it more clear would be let’s suppose you are new to a district and then you are searching for some really good restaurant. You entered in a food court which has many different restaurants and each restaurant is claiming that he is the best. Now you start asking randomly from the people in the street “which restaurant is the best?”. So each vote for a restaurant is similar to a backlink to your website. The more votes you get for a restaurant, you will believe it has better quality and you will want to try that. This is exactly the same Google puts a site on top or bottom based on how many votes (backlinks) that site gotten.
So far so good. Then what’s the problem and what natural link-building? Well, the natural link building is when different persons in the food street give you their opinion based on their personal experience. The unnatural linkbuilding is when the restaurant has “hired” 20 people who are promoting its reputation among the visitors. Now this is hard part of the deal as how to make sure a vote (link) is natural or not natural? Well, neither Google nor any other search engine has 100% hold on this process to separate a natural link from a promotional link. However, Google is known to be the best in detecting relationships of linking websites to your site and sniffing footprints of any relationship among all these websites based on hosting, IP, language, region, domain registrar whois, content variation etc.
Now with all those millions of websites, it seems search engines are getting back to square one in terms of their ability to get top 10 results. The reason being thousands of websites having similar level of link-building strength. So moving to the next step, now Google mainly is doing a more precise analysis of your backlinks based on tens of factors to make sure you got most of the natural-looking (if not natural) linkbuilding portfolio. That’s why when you develop your linkbuilding strategy, its normally recommended that you diversify your linking sites based on a shuffle of PRs, geographical location, frequency and relevancy. Google has gone a step ahead of other search engines by seeing your popularity in social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkdin, Youtube, Flickr etc. So in the new Google algorithm, given the same strength of backlinks, the sites which have stronger presence in social media will do better job in their SERP. This was based on Google’s recent change in its indexing system called Caffeine update that puts more emphasis on more recent and fresh content which is syndicated through social media networks.
I hope I didn’t go too far from “natural link-building” but the above explanation was needed to make my point. Sometimes I really get scared with the thought that one day search engines may actually give no more weight to backlinks. That would be the end of world for all those whose bread and butter is off-site SEO or link-building. I wonder how sites would be ranking then? But one thing is for sure that websites who had developed natural link-building in the past will be less affected and will still have strong presence in Google top 10. What I mean by natural linkbuilding is that instead of you hiring an SEO expert or a link-building team to generate links for you on different blog networks, it would be much better if you produce really top-quality content that is not only unique but has scientific value as well. Then try to syndicate this content over the net using social media, blogs and forums and approach related website to give you a backlink for this quality content as a good resource for their visitors. Remember worldwide web was not created originally as a “market place”, but rather it was started as a source of information and worldwide knowledge base library. These days, most of the website on the web are showcasing their products without giving back real value to the information related to their niche to a common user. These are the websites that have difficulty in ranking on top and my advice to them is starting a blog or something similar to start posting fresh articles that’s of scientific value for a net user. This is where you will start getting natural links without worrying to pay lot of money to an SEO company.