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Natural vs. Built Backlinks in SEO

In the ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), backlinks remain a cornerstone of website authority and search engine ranking. However, the debate between natural backlinks and built backlinks continues to perplex SEO professionals worldwide. 

Each approach offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it essential to discern the nuances to craft an effective SEO strategy. Let’s delve into the differences between natural backlinks and built backlinks to unravel the conundrum and identify the optimal path for enhancing online visibility.   

Natural Backlinks

Natural backlinks, also known as organic backlinks, represent links acquired naturally without intentional intervention from website owners. These links originate from other websites, blogs, or online platforms that find the content valuable and relevant enough to link to it. 
A common example of a natural backlink would be when another site references your website via a URL link as a resource for information presented on their site.   

Advantages of Natural Backlinks:

1. Authenticity

Natural backlinks are genuine endorsements of a website’s credibility and authority, reflecting trust in the content.

 2. Higher Quality

Originating from reputable sources within the same industry or niche is a natural backlink boost for your websites authority and reputation, Google will view links from sites that have similar content or services to your site as a positive indicator of organic link building.

3. Longevity

These links endure over time, less susceptible to fluctuations in search engine algorithms, ensuring sustained SEO benefits. 

Disadvantages of Natural Backlinks:

1. Limited Control

Website owners have minimal control over when and where natural backlinks are acquired, challenging their influence over the link-building process.

2. Slow Growth

Acquiring natural backlinks is a gradual process, demanding patience and consistent effort to yield significant results.

3. Competitive Landscape

In highly competitive niches, attracting natural backlinks without active promotion can be arduous. 

Built Backlinks: The Strategic Approach

Built backlinks, also referred to as artificial or acquired backlinks, are links acquired through deliberate actions such as outreach campaigns, guest blogging, or directory submissions. Unlike natural backlinks, built backlinks involve proactive efforts to generate links from external sources. 

Advantages of Built Backlinks:

Control and Predictability: Website owners have greater control over the quantity and quality of links acquired, facilitating targeted link-building efforts.

1. Diversification

Built backlinks allow for the diversification of anchor text, target websites, and link-building tactics, enhancing SEO resilience.

2. Scalability

Link-building campaigns can be scaled according to website needs and goals, expediting the improvement of search engine ranking.   

Disadvantages of Built Backlinks

1. Risk of Penalisation

Engaging in black hat SEO tactics or acquiring low-quality links can result in penalties from search engines, tarnishing website reputation.

2. Resource Intensive

Building backlinks demands time, effort, and sometimes financial investment, making it a resource-intensive endeavour.

3. Dependence on Relationships

Successful link-building relies on nurturing relationships with other webmasters or influencers, which can be time-consuming. 

Crafting an Effective Backlink Strategy

While both natural and built backlinks offer unique advantages and disadvantages, the key lies in striking a balance between the two approaches. By leveraging the authenticity of natural endorsements and the strategic targeting of built backlinks, website owners can optimise their SEO efforts effectively.

1. Quality over Quantity: 

Prioritise the quality of backlinks over quantity, focusing on acquiring links from reputable sources relevant to your content.

2. Diversify Your Approach: 

Embrace a diversified backlink profile by incorporating a mix of natural and built backlinks, enhancing SEO resilience.

3. Ethical Practices: 

Avoid engaging in black hat SEO tactics and prioritise ethical link-building practices to safeguard website reputation.

4. Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation: 

Monitor your backlink profile regularly, adjusting your strategy based on performance metrics and changes in search engine algorithms.