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Content Marketing Gains Importance While Backlinks Decline

     -     Jan 26th, 2017   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

A recently published Google ranking factors study (by SearchMetrics) it has reported that backlinks are on the decline when it comes to websites and search engine03-07-2013-page-rank-formula ranking. As many firm marketers know, backlinks have had a huge impact on search engine rankings and SEO over the years. In fact, backlink building has one essential element in a successful SEO strategy. However, the game has changed. While backlinks are still important (nothing changes that quickly), it’s important to recognize that we have entered a new SEO area of self-learning algorithms. They can do magical things not done in the past including evaluating relationships between content and use intent. This change reinforces the idea that well written content – especially when it provides valuable information for prospects and customers – is a top component of SEO. To help our clients and others understand, FlashPoint Marketing has provided a summary on this subject and the studies additional findings below.

Backlinks Are Down, But Not Out

It’s clear the SEO formula has and will continue to change. No longer can an accounting marketer rely solely on back links alone to gain better Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rankings. The nature of back links is they can be unreliable and even damaging to the firm’s website. (In fact, we suggest doing a backlink review quarterly to ensure your firm’s website is not being linked to by unwanted or inappropriate sites). In the event where an undesirable site links to your site, the firm’s ranking can be penalized.

The study concludes that while backlinks are not as essential as they once were it doesn’t mean we should ignore them entirely. In fact, good backlinks are still necessary, just not as necessary as great content. Backlinks will probably always be an important ranking factor for Google. What’s important is to ensure that your backlinks come from trusted sites that are highly credible and visible. Otherwise, Google will quickly root out bad links and penalize you in the search rankings.

The most important takeaway here is that backlinks, even the best backlinks, won’t boost your SERP placement unless you pair it with effective content marketing strategies.

Additional Study Findings

Additional takeaways from the published study are quite interesting and include the following:

  • The URLs with the highest content relevance are those on positions 3 to 6.
  • Desktop content is around a third longer than mobile content.
  • In 2016, just 53 percent of the top 20 URLs included the keyword in their title.
  • The Time on Site for the top 10 URLs is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
  • The average Bounce Rate for URLs on the first page of search results is 46 percent.
  • The pages occupying positions 1 through 3 have an average Click-Through Rate of 36 percent.
  • Almost half of webpages in the top 10 now use of HTTPS encryption.
  • Eighty-six percent of the top 10 domains now use the .com TLD.
  • Pages ranking for mobile are around a third smaller in terms of file size than their desktop equivalents.
  • Mobile pages load around a second more quickly than desktop.
  • The top 100 most visible domains all have mobile-friendly solutions for smartphone users. Outside the top 100, the rate is around 78 percent.
  • 2016 saw a marked increase in the use of structured elements like lists and bullet points that create an improved user experience.
  • The correlation between social signals and Google ranking has remained similar compared with previous years.

Closing Thoughts

As much as great content can help boost your site’s position in search engine rankings, ineffective content and undesirable backlinks can an adverse effect. Now, more than ever, a formal content marketing strategy is necessary to outperform your competition. Because SEO and content marketing have become inextricably tied, it’s not a bad idea to engage the services of a professional SEO and content marketing provider. This is an area that FlashPoint Marketing is versed in and can help. For more information, contact us today.

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