Serendipity Online Marketing

Why Links DO Matter for SEO

There has been no end of talk about the death of SEO and of how it is now impossible to do anything that will make any difference to the rankings a site gets for any given term. Those who espouse this opinion go to great lengths to tell that trying to ‘influence Google’ into giving a site better rankings and hence exposure, is just a waste of time and money…

Now, if they were to say that ‘trying to trick Google was a waste of time‘ then I would agree, well at least for the most part, as today Google has far more sophisticated tools to ‘decide’ whether a page is any good or not, that is to say that the page:-

  • Answers the viewers question
  • Provides useful information on the topic (relating to the search term)
  • Assists by providing details of where help may be found
  • Looks at the problem / issue a different way (one that could be said to be interesting)
  • Sells the person the goods / services they want
  • Is funny or educational
  • Is in someway a useful resource for the viewer.

How it does all of the above is a well kept secret, but while we do not know 100% what does work, we know a lot about the things that do not work. This include building links the in the wrong manner (basically too many ‘money keywords’, or building them too quickly) or by having copied or ‘thin’ content.


But, returning to matters that we do know help rankings, let us look again at links. I have been told many times that links do not matter, and however I much that I protest that this is not true, those that hold this view will not be moved. I think that in some cases the persons concerned have been dealt a bad blow by another SEO company that took their money and then built either the wrong links or simply not enough to make any diffference, but whatever they will not move from their stance, and that after all is their right.

For my part all I can do is to prove to them that links, when built in the right way, and when part of an orchestrated plan (which includes having good quality, original content on the site) DO ASSIST in getting better rankings.

The best way of showing how links have improved matters is by looking at an example, and what better example to show than one relating to Serendipity’s own site..


The term ‘seo west midands’ was in part chosen as an agency that I used to work with had a first page ranking for the term, and I wanted, for purely personal reasons, to get a better one than them. For one I thought that our site was far more relevant to the subject (they are a design agency with an SEO bolt on, while we at Serendipity do nothing else than SEO / Marketing), but also that our site contains huge amounts of info on SEO whilst their blog, for example, has only 3 posts in the last 5 months…

The question that first has to be asked is why was Google giving us such a poor rank for this term in the first place? All the information available to them should have made our site a better choice, but no, we were left on the second or third page of results. That is until we started creating links…

the effect of building links

Here we can see how the addition of links to the SEO ‘recipe’ for the SOM site made all the difference, suddenly the site was catapulted over the top of my rival, staying there consistently since.

Now, here is a bit of a rub, in that any ranking reporting system you use is only gives one ‘view’ of reality, and the fact is that Google will display it’s results in many different ways, for all sorts of different reasons. So it was  not much of a surprise when another system that I use showed us just below my rival.

This system, which we use to check out the competition for any given term when running our free SEO Health Checks, provides a lot of useful data:-

seo west midlands data


As can be seen, here the SOM site is still on the first page, but lower than reported on the other system, but what is more interesting is that the data shows quite a few patterns.

The first is that overall, the sites with the higher TRUST FLOW are ranked higher than the others (there is always an exception to every rule, sometimes the sites in question quickly disappearing as Google ‘gets it’s act together), whilst also showing that pages which have links to them are liked better by Google. On the latter point it must be said that if a domain is very strong, that each of it’s pages have a better chance of getting a rank, even when the page has no links pointing directly to it, the rank for being a good example.

What does all this prove? Simply that LINKS DO MATTER and that if they are created to a page on a site that contains relevant useful information, that a better rank on Google is 9 out of 10 times achieved.

I will be adding more on this subject later in 2016 as we have another test in process at the moment. The aim here is to get better rankings for some other local SEO terms. Before we started the process our ranks for these terms were to all intense and purposes nil, so we have added a new page to the site, especially for these terms and are in the process of building links to the site and page to support the drive. The first results (really a benchmark BEFORE the links have any effect) is shown below:-

keyword rankings 140216

Please look out for more posts on the subject of Linking and SEO

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