Are backlinks a major part of your SEO strategy? If so, it may be time to reconsider. Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, said in a recent video which is posted below, that backlinks will become less important over time and less of a ranking factor in the near future. Google is investing heavily into better understanding 'natural language', so it can focus more on what a user is saying rather than using keywords and tags alone. A few months ago, Cutts noted that they have experimented with an internal version of Google that does not use links as a signal, but stated that the “quality [of the search] was so much worse” than a search with backlinks. So at the moment, quality backlinks are still important for ranking and probably won’t ever entirely go away, but the methods used to rank a page or site may change in the near future.
Cutts made it clear that knowing the author of the article will be a big factor in determining authority. So, if you haven’t done so already, we strongly encourage adding authorship to your blog or website. Attributes that will be looked at when determining ranking sites and pages will be cues from citations, like unlinked mentions, along with user behavior, such as visit duration and bounce rate. Once Google is able to better understand the actual meaning of a piece of content, as well as who wrote it, there will likely be less emphasis on links.
So, the million dollar question is do you need to rethink your SEO strategy? Not right now, but be ready for changes in the coming years. As backlinks become less important, other elements of your SEO will become more important. Check out our previous blog: How to Optimize Your Website to help you stay ahead of the game and get you started in thinking about the other elements of your SEO plan!
Post By: Justin Narayan
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