Are backlinks still important in 2023?
Yes, they are. And as Google refines its algorithms many times a year, the quality of links to your website has never been more important. But, assuming you’ve created some amazing content, and sites have began linking to your site; often we still aren’t seeing our backlinks in Google Search Console.
Is Google aware of these backlinks? If not, is there more we can be doing to get them found and indexed?
In this article, we take a look at getting backlinks indexed in 2023.
What are Backlinks?
Before we dive into getting backlinks indexed, let’s quickly cover the basics.
Backlinks are links to your website from other websites, in simple terms. They essentially demonstrate to search engines that your content is worthy of being linked to. It acts as a kind of business referral.
Years ago, when the internet was in its infancy, backlinks added in vast quantities would do the trick. Typically, any backlink would count as a vote, and have a positive impact on presence in organic search results.
Backlinks were often bought, and can still be bought today. Many online services offer bulk backlink packages which commonly consist of automatically generated spun content articles, with links to your website peppered in with the text.
Are all Backlinks Equal?
Backlinks found and indexed by Google 20 years ago, could be considered to be of an equal value, as far as search engines go. Since then, search algorithms have been developed considerably with various substantial core updates. Each improving the way search engines qualify links, making bulk or bought backlinks less and less effective.
In 2023 and beyond, backlinks types are far from equal, and there are many factors that are considered within ranking algorithms. Search engines, especially Google, are now able to assess backlinks to determine whether they are genuine referrals, or simply created for the purpose of manipulating the system to gain ranking increases in organic search.
Backlinks to Avoid
As mentioned above, backlinks that are automatically generated, or use spun or plagiarised content are now a waste of time. Google’s algorithms are clever. Whereas these links may have had some positive effect on ranking, they now will undoubtedly harm the progress of your website in organic search. It’s plausible that they may even be ignored completely.
Another tactic that had reasonable success previously, was submitting websites to business directories in bulk. Where it’s common for businesses to appear in directories, and sometimes essential; adding links to your website from low quality directories will have little or no effect when it comes to ranking your website.
Backlinks that Work in 2023
We’ve covered what not to do, when it comes to link building for website SEO. There’s a straightforward way to determine whether links will be effective and help your website rank higher.
- Put yourself in the position of a user reading an article or searching the web
- Does your link from its source act as a useful addition or reference to what’s being read?
For example, if I’m reading an article on digital marketing, and I’m able to achieve a link placement in the text content when referencing a digital marketing agency, this is a genuine link and referral that makes sense in the context of the article.
On the other hand, if Google crawls a spun article about shoes, which has a link to my website randomly inserted within the text, do you think this will be considered to be genuine and useful by the algorithms? No.
While there is a lot more to be considered; including the context within the referring website in general, age of the referring article or website, number of outgoing links vs incoming links on the referring site, and much more; the above is a basic consideration when attaining backlinks and getting backlinks indexed.
Easier said than done!
Absolutely! And that’s the point. If anyone could buy links to their site and boost their way up the organic search results with ease, the system isn’t very fair. And that’s what Google and other search engines work on with each and every core update.
Getting backlinks indexed begins with creating a great website with great content, that is worthy of being linked to naturally.
Can Backlinks still be bought?
Yes backlinks can still be bought and it’s reasonably common practice. However, as we’ve covered, bulk bought backlinks will have little or no effect to ranking.
There are some genuine backlink services, that gain editorial placements in real articles, by real bloggers. This may be worthy of consideration if you have little knowledge of SEO and have a reasonably large marketing budget.
However, it’s usually best practice to gain your own link placements via a well planned blogger outreach strategy.
Getting Backlinks Indexed in 2023
Now we’ve covered backlinks and the best types to aim for, we need to know that they are being found, indexed and used to positively effect our website ranking in search.
What do we mean by indexing? Backlinks that are found by Google, recorded and used in ranking of your website.
Are my Backlinks Indexed?
If you are spending time on a blogger outreach strategy and gaining links to your quality content, you need to know whether they are being indexed by Google.
The best way to check this is to take a look at the links section of Google Search Console.
While Google state that the links displayed here are a selection and not a comprehensive list, through our own research and SEO work, we have found that it is a pretty reliable source of what links Google considers when ranking your website.
Usually Google updates its links section mid-week, every week. This can however vary somewhat. It’s fairly safe to say, if many weeks have passed since your backlink was created; Google has either not found the link, or dismissed it for the purpose of ranking your website.
How long does it take for Backlinks to get Indexed?
It varies, and again depends on many factors. Google will re-crawl popular and frequently updated websites on a regular basis. For example, Google may crawl Facebook many times a day, while a blog that is updated monthly, may only be crawled weekly or even monthly.
If you have achieved a link placement on a high authority news website, such as Forbes or BBC, you can be confident that Google will be aware of the link within days, if not hours. Whereas links with less authoritative websites can take weeks, or even months to be found.
If you link hasn’t been indexed after a couple of months, there’s usually a good reason why.
Why are my Backlinks not being Indexed?
There are generally only 2 reasons why Google hasn’t indexed you backlink.
- Google hasn’t yet found your link. Which becomes less and less likely, the more time passes.
- Google has found your link and its algorithm ignored it for the purpose of website ranking.
If the latter applies, it’s good to take a look into why the link hasn’t been found to be worthy of indexing.
The obvious place to start when looking at getting backlinks indexed, is to take a look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google include information on link schemes and what they will penalise for, or simply ignore.
Tips on Getting Backlinks Indexed
Assuming you have gained some good quality link placements, sometimes Google just needs a little nudge to speed up the indexing process.
Firstly, make sure the link is placed naturally within good quality editorial content.
Use an Indexing Service
Indexing services are by no means a guarantee of indexing, but through various different techniques, most indexing services can help to speed up getting backlinks indexed with search engines.
Consider 2nd tier Backlinks
2nd Tier backlinks are a way of helping to boost the authority of the page which links to your website. Perhaps you have a good editorial placement on an established blog, but the article is new and has no backlinks. It can sometimes help to link to that article to boost its authority.
The same process applies to creating your original links. Create links that are relevant and placed within editorial content.
Check with a Quality SEO Tool
If you want a good idea whether Google will index your link, keep an eye on what a 3rd party SEO tool indexes for your site\’s backlinks. Ahrefs is a very good tool, and is the largest web crawler after Google. If Ahrefs has found and indexed you backlink, you can be reasonably certain that Google is aware of it.
Getting Backlinks Indexed – Conclusion
In conclusion, it\’s safe to say that Google will more often than not, be aware of any links to your site, usually very soon after they are created.
If in getting backlinks indexed, you find that they aren’t appearing in Search Console, it’s time to dig into why. There’s usually an explanation, although theorising what this is can be can be frustrating.
To stand the best chances of getting backlinks indexed with Google, make sure your links are within high quality, authoritative and relevant content. This is the most effective way to ensure your backlinks will be indexed.