Backlinks don’t work anymore. Wrong

by Blogs, Content, Online marketing, Performance reporting

We’ve been hearing that it’s now common for agencies to tell their clients that search engine optimisation (SEO) is no longer just about link building and blogs and is much more about PPC and social media.

Not true. The seven things you need to do for SEO, as attested by Search Engine Journal, a long-established website which all good agencies refer to, are:

  1. Publish high-quality content
  2. Make your site mobile-friendly
  3. Create a secure website (HTTPS)
  4. Improve your user experience
  5. Optimise your page speed
  6. Master your on-page optimisation
  7. Earn relevant and authoritative backlinks

On point seven, backlinks will continue to be one of the leading SEO components if you want to rank well in 2019, so ignore those who say you can achieve success without backlinks.

Another trusted research site for SEO is Search Engine Land. It says: “Despite the chatter around other signals, links, along with content remain the most important external signal for Google’s search rankings.”

To summarise, SEO means all seven points, but the two most influential are:

  • Relevant and authoritative backlinks
  • High quality content

On the other hand, SEO has absolutely nothing to do with PPC or social media. These are different online marketing techniques to gain traffic from other sources and channels. They should all be used, but one shouldn’t be confused with another.

During our campaigns we measure all three techniques (SEO, PPC and social media), and SEO conversions are the highest based on spend, and it’s the most consistent performer in terms of return on investment. We recommend all the seven points over time, based on what is a priority.

Since Google’s been around, rankings have always been based on content and links, and that continues to be so. It’s helpful to add other elements over time such as Schema (semantic vocabulary code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users), faster page speeds and improved user experience, but consistently high rankings still fundamentally come down to content and links. Links are the only way that Google can assign any authority to a website. Authority is the main ranking factor within its algorithm.

It’s our opinion that many online marketing agencies are not technical or experienced enough to provide SEO in competitive industries. So they stick to PPC and social because it’s easier to set up, whereas to provide SEO you need to be confident enough to predict rankings.

If you don’t continue with the backlinks, within four to five months your keyword rankings and organic traffic will drop. Dental practices should be utilising and testing all new patient channels including:

  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Social publishing / ads / YouTube etc
  • Re-targeting
  • Email re-nurturing
  • Offline activities such as newspapers etc

It would be wrong for anyone to suggest using just one method, they should all be used and the results measured correctly. I’ll explain how to earn relevant and authoritative backlinks next time.


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“SEO has absolutely nothing to do with PPC or social media”

Andrew Thomas, online marketing director – seo