Anyone involved in online marketing is aware that search rankings, visibility and other factors are critical for a business to succeed. Link building is a major part of Google’s algorithm, as it can be the deciding factor that pushes a website to the top of the search results. Links create an online roadmap that connects one source with another, making it easier for the reader to find information and increasing search engine rankings.
The more quality backlinks you can acquire, the more importance or popularity your site gains in the search engines. Google has rolled out several updates in the last few years, targeting websites with low quality and spammy backlinks. With the evolution of Googleâ€™s search algorithms, backlink networks, sites promoting paid links and sites with an excessive number of unnatural links have been eliminated from Google’s search results.
The Future of Links in SEO Campaigns
Cutts about Links
Matt Cutts, Google’s Distinguished Engineer, in his latest webmaster video said that backlinks "still have many, many years left in them", and that they will continue to use links to assess the basic reputation of websites. But what Google is trying to do is to figure out how an expert user would say this particular page matched their information needs. And sometimes backlinks matter for that.
He says that backlinks help determine the site’s reputation, but people care mostly about its content. And so these links will become less important overtime, but will remain. They may be replaced by the writer’s reputation and Google’s ability to understand natural language. The video also mentioned that Google will be focusing on conversational search – the sort of search where you can talk to a machine and it will understand you, so you’re not just using keywords.
However, because of the fact that search engine algorithms still rely on links to help determine the authority or reputation of web pages, they are still a contributing factor in web searches.
What Are the Benefits of Back Links beyond SEO?
Quality links can not only bring your website to the top of SERP, but also provide benefits such as:
- Brand name exposure and recognition
- Build relationships
- Build brand authority
- Drive steady referral traffic
Cutts also emphasizes the importance of authorship. While credible back links are important, authorship and other methods for boosting authority and credibility are also crucial. Google Authorship allows content creators and writers to link content to Google profiles, creating a byline for search results and increasing rankings while establishing credibility. This free tool provided by Google helps reduce piracy by verifying who created what content on the web, and gives recognition to writers for their content.
What Happens to Content without Many Inbound Links?
Google’s head of search spam has an answer for this question too. Cutts in his recent Webmaster help video explains that in such cases content would be judged based on the text on the page. Another consideration Google would have when judging the quality of a page without better quantity of inbound links is whether or not that page is in a reputable domain.
Back links matter and will continue to do so for quite some time in the future.