Matt Cutts on the Role of Back Links

Considering the problems arising from link building recently, many people would like to see links gone altogether from the ranking algorithm. However a recent video from Google head of web spam Matt Cutts suggested that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

matt cutts

Cutts was responding to a question about how Google went about evaluating sites with few or no links. His reply was interesting for us striving for practices.

He started off by stating that evaluating sites without links would be difficult. It would be like back in the days before search engines used links as a measure of site quality.

In such cases, Google would use the words on the page as its main guide to quality, adding that beyond a certain point keyword density could cause problems. “It doesn’t help you to keep repeating that keyword over and over again”, he pointed out. Another factor was the reputation of the domain.

Cutts’ tone and demeanour suggested that this way of doing things wasn’t very satisfactory and that links remain the key measure of site relevance and authority.

Properly done, links offer a set of benefits impossible to find elsewhere.

They allow discovery of related content assets across the Internet, they are a sign of trust, they convey authority, and much more. The World Wide Web was built on hyperlinks and it was Google’s genius to tap into that and use it as a measure of site value.

Link Building for Today’s Google

So with links remaining a key ranking factor for the foreseeable future, what’s the best way to get them? The days when the volume of links was the key metric are long gone.

Start by bearing in mind that if a link is easy to get, it’s probably not worth much. Nowadays good links are earned. They’re of high value because they provide searchers with a valid experience.

Having a thousand forum profile links pointing to your site doesn’t help anyone. But one link from a reputable site that connects with valuable content on your site enhances the user experience and makes the Internet a better place. And Google will reward it as such.

Characteristics of a Good Link

A good link is one that appears on a valid and relevant page. It should also feature relevant anchor text and should be from a page without too many other external links.

Nowadays, basing a link building strategy on quantity rather than quality is a short route to oblivion. But slowly and steadily acquiring quality natural links is the best path to rankings that will last and the traffic that brings customers and profits.

If you need help with getting the quality links that rank your website and bring in traffic, leads and customers, contact Smart SEO today.

About Nathanael Vanderkolk

Nathanael Vanderkolk is the Director of the Smart SEO Company, a SEO Agency in Sydney, Australia. Smart SEO Sydney has a keen awareness of the latest approaches to online marketing. Follow him on , Facebook and Twitter.
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