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Improving SEO: Stop Linking to Authoritative Sites: This Backlinking Strategy Isn't Helping

Business owners, marketers, and content creators are constantly seeking strategies to boost their website rankings. For years, the practice of linking to authoritative sites has been considered a standard technique to improve SEO. However, recent information from Google's John Mueller reveals that this approach is not effective (read the entire article here).

A Shift in SEO Focus

Google's primary goal is to deliver the most relevant and valuable content to users, ensuring their search queries are answered accurately. Focusing on producing useful, high-quality content that aligns with the needs and interests of your target audience is paramount for successful SEO.

Rather than blindly linking to authoritative sources, marketers and writers should concentrate on crafting content that genuinely addresses user intent and provides valuable insights or solutions.

Link Sense: Quality Over Quantity

Links should serve a clear purpose for users, adding value to their reading experience. Randomly linking to authoritative sites without context or relevance can lead to a disjointed user journey and detract from the overall credibility of your content.

Instead, consider incorporating outbound links that supplement your content and provide additional context or sources to back up your claims. By doing so, you enhance the credibility of your content and foster trust with your audience.

Topic Cluster and Pillar Page Strategy

While the traditional approach of linking to authoritative sites may be diminishing in significance, implementing a topic cluster and pillar page strategy remains a powerful tool for SEO success.

Topic Cluster: A topic cluster involves grouping together interrelated content centered around a central pillar topic. This strategy helps Google recognize the depth and expertise of your website on a particular subject, improving your chances of ranking higher in relevant search results.

Pillar Page: The pillar page is the comprehensive piece of content that covers the overarching topic. It serves as the main hub, providing a thorough overview of the subject and linking out to more specific subtopics, also known as cluster content.

Advantages of Topic Cluster and Pillar Page Strategy

  1. Enhanced Relevance: This strategy ensures that all your content is interconnected and focused on specific themes, reinforcing the relevance and authority of your site for relevant keywords and topics.

  2. Improved User Experience: By organizing content into coherent clusters, users can easily navigate through related topics, finding valuable information in a structured manner.

  3. Search Engine Visibility: The topic cluster approach aligns with Google's emphasis on content relevance, making your website more likely to appear in search results for specific queries.


The traditional practice of linking to authoritative sites as a primary strategy should give way to a more user-focused approach. Instead of solely relying on external links, prioritize the creation of high-quality, valuable content that meets the needs of your target audience.

Implementing a topic cluster and pillar page strategy further strengthens your SEO efforts by showcasing your expertise in specific topics and improving overall content relevance. By focusing on user intent and delivering valuable insights, your website is more likely to secure higher rankings and earn the trust of your audience. Embrace this paradigm shift in SEO, and you'll be well-positioned to excel in the competitive digital landscape. Looking for best-in-class writers that understand both your business and the ever-changing landscape of SEO? Contact On Belay today and take advantage of our copywriting solutions.

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