Google recently announced that they tested a version of their algorithm that didn’t include links. However, they were unhappy with the results so conceded that links do still matter. What has happened though, is that a debate has been sparked in the SEO industry about whether links are increasing or decreasing in importance in the Google algorithm.
The Argument that Links are Increasing in SEO Value
Some believe that as Google filters out low quality links, those higher quality links actually grow in value.
Also, because of this filtering by Google, it’s made it harder for everyone to acquire links as the use of NoFollow, social sharing and a fear linking out will give a site a penalty, grows. As such, some people think this might boost the value of links in Google’s algorithm because they’re more difficult to attain.
The Argument Links Are Lessening in SEO Value
On the other side of the argument are those who feel that as Google includes a more diverse range of signals in their algorithm (such as citations and social signals), naturally less weighting will be given to links.
How SEOs Should Respond
1. Ideally, invest in tactics and channels that may provide value in links, but also in other ways such as PR and exposure.
2. Also good, however, not ideal, is focussing a select few links that will bring the most value (probably editorial links).
3. Don’t keep chasing every link. Remember to aim for quality over quantity.
4. Don’t ignore the value of citations around the web that may not provide a link.