how successful can you be without focusing on backlinking as a blogger?
You cannot ignore backlinking completely, but you shouldn't put too much emphasis on it. I have been running websites since 2004 and I know for a fact that backlinking serves a more important function than merely improve your Google Page Rank. That function is to bring traffic.
But the key is quality over quantity.
Don't buy backlinks.
Instead identify the most influential websites in your topic of relevance. Secure backlinks from them.
Also the websites that have high Google Page Rank are the websites from whom you should secure your backlinks.
Don't worry about back linking. Concern yourself with the very best blog for your niche and involve yourself in the communities that support that niche. Back linking will occur automatically and organically.
Good answers so far... the key really is quality.
You can have a thousand backlinks made for you (and most sites do... and now most of those sites are dropping in page ranks and google catches on), but if they don't mean anything, they'll do you no favours.
High quality content is the most important thing for your blog... referals from your readers will help. People talk about good blogs. SEO is really important to, but just make sure your content is relevant to your niche... a cheeky keyword inclusion here and there never hurts :-)
Don't worry about backlinks... of course if you can contant a .gov agency and get a link from there, you're golden :-D
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