Links are the elements that bind the world wide web together.
That may seem like a dramatic statement, but when you consider the role that links play in websites and search algorithms, it’s pretty hard to dispute.
When you create a website, you begin with a single page. When you add a new page, you link to it from the first page in order to allow visitors to access it. Whenever you add new pages to the site, you must link to them from existing pages in order to allow the content to be found.
Without these links, the pages wouldn’t be seen and therefore, they may as well not be there at all. They make all online content navigable and discoverable. They are the medium which connects all of the information on the internet together.
This process goes for real site visitors as well as search bots that crawl and index a web pages into their directory in order to deliver them in SERPs (search engine results pages). Search bots are only able to successfully crawl and index new pages that are linked to from existing pages. If you didn’t link your content properly, the bots would never find or index any new pages.
However, links are not just important for navigation and indexing, but are imperative for ranking too, since search engines use links to assess your content’s value.
If another site with an authoritative reputation were to link to you, it’s a signal to Google that your site is also authoritative and you will subsequently rank higher as a result. And whether you like it or not, social signals can’t replace the impact that links make in the SERPs.
The Importance of Relevant Links
This is especially true when the links are on relevant sites. An effective SEO strategy needs to focus on obtaining relevant links. Relevant links drive high quality traffic – traffic that is significantly more likely to convert or become leads, rather than traffic from irrelevant links.
That is why search engines love relevant links; they improve the user experience, which is exactly what Google and other search engines are all about.
If other websites are willing to send their users to your website, then Google is as well. When looking for a link opportunity, don’t get caught up on metrics and numbers, but instead, focus on relevance.
In fact, according to Andre Weyher (an ex-member of Google’s spam team) “it’s more the relevance of the site’s theme in regards to yours, relevance is the new PR.”
Relevance is paramount to anything else because these are the links that are truly in there natural habitat. They are links that were built with the pure intent of connecting and bridging pages of the internet in order to create a better user experience and make the Web easily navigable.
So, will backlinks always remain relevant? The short answer is yes, backlinks are part and parcel of the very fiber of the internet.