Does Google really care about your links?
The answer to this question is yes and no and might be more ‘no’ in the future. As you can probably see however, the answer isn’t entirely clear, even with some recent soundings released by Google. Read on to find out exactly what is going on and what to make of this latest press release.
In their latest news bulletin, Google have stated that in the future, they can see a world where links become less and less important to your domain’s authority. There was also an indication that the importance of links are not weighted as greatly as they once were, within traditional ranking algorithms. However, the bulletin also stated that links will always retain some importance because pages need to be found. Does this appear contradictive or a bit confusing to you? If you are a regular reader to our blogs and our reports of some of Google’s previous announcements, you will probably find that this level of haziness is just about what to expect!
What should I make of this?
Perhaps it would be better to take a step back and take an objective look at it. There have been many independent reports which look at the impact of links and they have all generally concluded that links are still most definitely important for rankings, and so much so that they are, and remain within, the top three criteria for ranking factors. However, the reports note that they are not number 1 position, so they are not the most important.
If not links then what?
The drive seems to be about your content rather than links. As we have previously written in many of our blogs past, Google is taking an increasing effort to focus on making sure content is relevant and accurate for its audience, and if you are a webmaster, this would definitely be a place for you to focus your own efforts. The ironic thing is that if you produce excellent content (especially if it gets recognised in some way like featured snippets,) this will by its nature generate sound and authoritative links without having to make any requests for a link, or embark on what some people regard as tedious link building campaigns.
The presence of links will always be a feature – even if you read between the lines of the evasiveness of the Google press release, you can tell that. The thing to remember here however is the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence and its consequences. As AI develops and gets better, there will be a trend towards it understanding content more and rewarding webmasters based on this. This has already begun to happen, and as it does, the value of links will go down but probably never cease completely. However, we are not fully there yet, or perhaps anywhere near some might argue. Until then, the trick is (as with anything in life,) to have the best of both worlds. By ensuring you have a sound link profile and good quality content, you place yourself in the best position possible. Achieving that can be a tough task and take a lot of time, but it will certainly bring the biggest rewards.
Interested in the value of links and other technical SEO parameters to your website’s performance? You might find our SEO management service useful.Back to Blog