Organic Backlinks – Search Engine Gold

With search engine algorithms ever changing, it is difficult to know what will be considered valuable by search engines in the future. In saying that, we touch upon a very common discussion regarding link building; is it better to build a large quantity of back links or spend more time to get better quality back links?

If you are involved in any kind of search engine optimisation you should constantly be considering how to spend your time to get the best results and, if you are as busy as most people, you may not be able to use both methods of link building. Now many online marketers may still be advising you that the number of links is what search engines value the most, and they will proceed to build as many links as possible, as quickly as possible, and by any means necessary. But, with the release of Google’s updated Historical Data Patent in March this year, it is clear that this is not the case.

In this document it is stated, among many other things, that the dates on which the back links first appeared for the search engine are taken into account when valuing a website. This means that if too many links are detected at times very near to each other, the algorithm may consider these links are the result of SPAM.

In addition, when building a large number of back links without considering where these links are coming from, there is always the possible issue that these links can be dropped at any time, for any reason. In the patent document, this is suggested as a means of devaluing a website. If back links disappear to quickly, the search engine may consider your website to have become “stale”, or non-valuable to its readers.

Aside from the rate of back link build-up, search engines also consider the content of the site from which a link is received. The more valuable the content on the link source website, the more valuable the link to your site. And the more related the content is to your site, the better.

Similarly, when considering the source of a back link you must take into account the number of outgoing links on that page. A website that has more than 100 outgoing links will almost always be selling links. If you were a search engine, you would ignore links on pages like this, or perhaps even penalize the target sites for being linked to from such a page. Google takes this into account, and so should we.

Search engines are continuously finding ways to find and filter out “invaluable” links. And with the constant updates to search engine algorithms you don’t know what kind of back link will be devalued in the future. Even if the number of links was more valuable previously it certainly is not the case anymore. So how can we overcome this?

I’m glad you asked.

There is one kind of link that will always be considered valuable by search engines – natural quality links. As much as we may try, we cannot imitate natural back links from quality websites, so any links that is given freely from a highly valued site are search engine GOLD.

The best way to build these links is to have quality content on your website. If you are an expert on a topic (which should be the case if you are creating the website) the quality content will simply be your knowledge on that topic. Once you have this content on your site, people will automatically link to it because it will be considered an authority on the topic. And if you are an expert on a topic and have some content to use that is nowhere else on the net or has very little competition, then the traffic to your site will increase massively.

This can take time, however, because it takes time to create great quality content and time for this content to spread. But once you have these links, they will become the most valuable part of your online marketing campaign.

The great thing about these, apart from their value, is that you won’t need to worry about getting too many links too quickly because if they are organic (meaning you haven’t created them using a marketing method), they will automatically be created at a natural pace.

We can definitely help this process by posting your content to quality websites suited specifically for this purpose, such as article websites or journals. However, when doing this you must be careful not to get carried away with the links inside the content. Some article sites already limit the number of self-serving links you can have in an article on their site but for those that don’t you should impose those limitations yourself. Why? Because if the back link is meant to be natural then there wouldn’t be that many self-serving back links on a single page.

Another benefit from a natural back link is that they usually come from websites that have both quality content and content related to your website, which, as I mentioned earlier, are taken into account by search engines valuing your website.

Now, while it is virtually impossible to know what search engines will value in the future, it is fairly safe to assume that a natural back link received from a quality website with content related to your website will always be the most valuable link available on the internet.

What do you think?

George Cleanthous

George Cleanthous

SEO Strategist at Web Profits

Formerly of EY and Alcatel, George has extensive experience in many facets of online marketing and has developed an expert analytics skill set. Specialising in Search, George helps drive innovation and the application of our search engine optimisation strategy.


  1. Patrick says:

    Nice post!

    but not sure about this..

    “This means that if too many links are detected at times very near to each other, the algorithm may consider these links are the result of SPAM”

    If Google detected the SPAMs ? site will get penalized ?

    if thats the case, I will build lots of links to my competitor..


    September 30th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

  2. Michael Jenkins says:

    I totally agree. We have noticed on our site that people have started linking to us as we have added tools and enhanced our content.
    One question Alex. Can you build contextual links to quickly ie articles to diectories or links from industry relevelnt blogs and forums?

    November 12th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

  3. sonu says:

    yes natural links are the genuine one and makes perfect pagerank

    December 20th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

  4. The printing people says:

    Natural is best

    May 20th, 2009 at 8:59 am

  5. backlinks says:

    sharing such helpful information is great it can help me at my backlinks tnx!!!!

    June 26th, 2009 at 8:55 am

  6. Backlinks Search says:

    Is there a way to search for and find these natural backlinks?

    August 26th, 2009 at 8:05 am

  7. Daniel says:

    Great article, so more organic backlinks equals a lot more unnatural backlinks…

    July 15th, 2010 at 4:16 am