Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of shoulder shrugging when I read titles like “State of Links”. I generally skip over them since I assume the article will be about the death or dying process of links and their ranking influence on Google.
Pardon me while this long-time link builder yawns. My apathetic attitude is not personal, some of those articles are written by people I adore, I’m just tired of rehashing yet again why links may or may not be helpful or devalued in today’s ranking algorithm.
Will knowing links are being devalued change the way you work?
I mean, really?
Are you going to produce subpar content or crappy website copy if you knew Google was dumbing down the importance of links in the algorithm?
Are you going to spend time getting “easy” links, which generally means they sit on low ranking web pages, and expect a boost in traffic or ranking?
Or will you stop your outreach campaigns and just pray people find your content? (aka what Google wants you to do) 😥
Probably not. Spending time trying to figure out if links are losing their usefulness is like spending time figuring out where the socks in the dryer go or how belly lint grows. It’s not worth your time. It’s never been about link building anyway; it’s always been about link marketing.
Even way back in 2003, when all you needed was a bunch of links to rank a page, that’s all you needed, didn’t matter where they sat. Fast forward and now you need a bunch of links on quality pages. What changes if they devalue links?
The link itself is just a conduit, the page the link sits on is the secret sauce even if you use the smartest anchor text in the world. Brands won’t stop being brands, quality content is still what makes a page part of the Knowledge Graph.
If you come back at me and say “we need to know so we know where to put our efforts”.
On the off chance of sounding like a broken record… I mean, really?
The Net/Web are made up of two things, links and web pages. No rocket science there, good SEO’s understand how to market both.
Did you change the way you work when Rank Brain was introduced? Come on, be honest.
From Google’s perspective that was a big deal but from the SEO community? I saw article after article after article talk about it but not one of them offered new tactical insights or strategies.
Sites hosting good content are rewarded, spammy sites are not. More rocket science.
The fact the vast majority of “Do Links Still Matter?” type articles are written as a way to generate links and do a little chest pounding means the authors understand links are still a necessity in order to rank.
You will never be able to figure Google out or control what they do, control what you can! Do less link building and more link marketing and you won’t have to worry about the state of links.
p.s. Read Russ Jones comments here and here. The man is spot on.