Backlinks Do Not Rank Your Site In Google


In 2018 I’m celebrating a decade of being in the SEO industry and have witnessed many large scale algorithm changes as Google evolves and changes the way websites are ranked.

Primarily most changes are to exclude spammy site owners wanting to rank quickly in just a few days (OK you can stop laughing now, we all know SEO is an ongoing process over months/years).

Backlinks are an integral part of ranking a website in Google, however on-site content is far more important in 2018 than finding cheap backlinks to buy online.

Proof Why Websites Need Content for Google Page 1 [Case Study by Nina Payne 2018]

Taking SEO Advice From A Friend or Neighbour

Yes this happens on a regular basis, more than you would believe.

This morning I had an email from a potential client who has been considering SEO for a couple of years, indeed we had briefly chatted 12 months previously.

The client was an absolute beginner and so began to ask his web developer for advice – devs do not generally know SEO as they design websites, much the same as I don’t build websites as I am an SEO – they are 2 different industries completely.

The client mentioned he had spoken to his neighbour who had advised a rival company website was ranking Google page 1 because they had loads of backlinks.

Somehow I doubt someone’s neighbour is an SEO specialist, as the client wouldn’t be speaking with me about monthly costings and my 30 Day SEO Booster.

Q&A Session With A SEO Freelancer Client

I apologise, I did smile at these answers provided to me by an SEO client wanting me to carry out a Google Disavow, I gently asked questions in the hope he would learn not to buy links from freelancing websites that are £10/cheap dollars from overseas:

✓ Have you had a manual penalty message in Google Search Console
✓ Have you bought bulk backlinks in the past?
✓ Did you pay a ridiculously low amount like $5-$40 and thought you were getting quality work?
✓ Have you hired an SEO which harmed your site by adding low quality backlinks by the hundreds/ thousands?
Yes I purchased Links
✓ Has your site fallen in rankings in as a result of the lastest Google updated algorithm? If so, what search phrases have dropped in rankings and did they used to be Google page 1?

Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Backlinking and Google’s Algorithmn Changes

It used to be the case that you could pay someone to buy bulk backlinks from USA/Asia business directories, or from link farms, or more recently PBN’s (Private Blog Network) and the website would shoot up in rankings. Back in the early 2000’s it was possible to rank a website to Google page 1 position 1 in 24 hours – yes you read that right!

This is where Google changed it’s algorithmn to disregard websites with a backlink profile that was dramatically increasing in a short period of time.

Google Disavow for Bad Backlinks and Drop in Rankings

IMPORTANT: There are many reasons for a drop in rankings and keyword rankings drop, a Google disavow is NOT the usual resolution for a drop in rankings UNLESS YOU HAVE HAD A MANUAL ACTION PENALTY MESSAGE IN GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE.

If you do not have a manual action penalty then there are a hundred reasons why your site has dropped from Google page 1

Some bad Reasons Why Your Website is not ranking for keywords

  • Your website domain is under 2 years of age, or brand new
  • The platform your website is on is a free builder such as Wix or GoDaddy
  • Migrating website with a new design or a domain has caused broken 404 URLs in Search Console
  • Migrating to HTTPS and Google configuration has not been set up correctly
  • You have paid an overseas SEO person a few $dollars for a bulk load of poor backlinks
  • Your website is not mobile friendly
  • A hacker has brute forced into your website and injected malicious code
  • You have had no SEO but your competitors have
  • ……… and many more

Meta Keywords in Yoast Are SEO – True Or False?

Meta keywords have been ignored by Google since 2009. They have zero bearing on Google rankings. Yoast has zero bearing on Google rankings and is a reference tool only.

Want to Fix Your Website?

I’ll need a few things to provide an accurate cost quotation:

  1. How old is the domain?
  2. How long ago was the website first launched?
  3. Have you had any previous SEO work carried out?
  4. When people use Google what search phrases would you like clients to use to find your website?
  5. Do you rank in Google already for any of these search phrases?
  6. What top 3 geographical areas are you wanting to target?


    Sales and Marketing experience since 1999, specific SEO skills since 2004. Owner of SEO Lady Ltd providing Internet Marketing to companies in UK and internationally in a broad range of industries. Small Business Specialist, onthly eCommerce digital marketing, and Search Engine Optimisation one-off projects such as domain migration or how to retain Google rankings when a complete website redesign is in the planning stage.

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