The primary objection of Google has always been to create the best possible experience for its users in order to establish itself as the go to search engine for the world. This philosophy has obviously worked for them so far considering they own about 60% of the search volume. Marketers like you and I are constantly looking for ways to leverage that traffic through pay per click ads or search engine optimization. However, Panda and Penguin have the SEO community at odds as to whether backlinks are the way to go when it comes to increased rankings. Matt Cutts answered this question for everyone.
Ever since Penguin came out there has been a steady debate in the SEO world as to whether backlinking is now a dead method when it comes to ranking websites.
To be fair there is obviously no shortage of victims of the algorithm update to show that the old methods of backlinking are indeed dead.
However there is a significant segment of people within the search engine optimization space that have taken to preaching the whole “if you build it, they will come” model of SEO. Their sole and only argument is that if you create great content people will love your content and naturally link to it.
Which is true, and false.
I say, and I am know there are hundreds of SEO’s that agree with me, that it doesn’t matter if you write the best content on the planet if you don’t get people to see it. And I also say that building links in the correct places will drive traffic to your websites. Those links will also improve you rankings, which is why backlinking must remain a part of your current SEO strategy for 2014 and beyond.
Here is what Matt Cutts had to say on the subject:
Now that we have heard from the guy I want to point out a couple things that he said.
First was the answer to the question concerning backlinking, will they remain a factor?
Matt stated that he “thinks backlinks will still have many many years left in them”.
This statement pretty much goes right alone with another statement he once made say that they had indeed tried to develop a search engine that didn’t factor them in. He said the results were terrible.
This is a stance that I, and many other SEO’s, have maintained for quite a while despite having to argue the point over and over again with the so called marketing experts that are out there declaring linking dead.
Promotion and backlink creation with the sole goal of developing a steady stream of traffic is here to stay and if you follow those who tell you not to create links you will have problems competing in your market with those who do, plain and simple.
I know this stance will bring those people who say that I am wrong or try to say that I am telling people not to focus on content. They would be absolutely wrong.
The Panda update has taught us that the days of thin content are over and anyone who has been to my site in recent months has clearly seen that I have certainly up’d my standards when it comes to the level of content that I create. After all, it should be your goal to establish the size and quality of an audience that builds your links for you.
In the beginning however you need to have a sound plan to obtain at least some traffic from the search engines.
Authorship Is Going To Be More Important
The second major point in this video that I hope you picked up on is the increase in the factor Google authorship is going to play in the future.
Short of coming right out and saying it, Matt’s example of working towards being able to tell which author wrote which piece of content and ranking it based on their “authorship score” (no such thing YET) within a certain topic area.
Quite frankly I believe that that goal is probably a long long way off and doubt that its going to be a significant factor any time soon. It is however a goal Google is striving for so be prepared.
Google Hummingbird Will Be Expanded
The third major point is that Google is going towards the goal of creating a search engine that users could eventually talk to.
Think Siri on steroids.
This is greatly expand the direction that Hummingbird had taken the engine not to long ago.
Let me leave you with these parting thoughts.
First and foremost is that backlinking has and will continue to remain an important factor in ranking your websites high in the search engines for the foreseeable future. There is no way to get around it, if you ignore your linking your going to pay the price when it comes to search engine traffic. Unless of course your set on promoting only through their pay per click programs.
Second, I love high quality content and prefer to not write anything at all versus writing out some gibberish to only rank for a keyword. So keep doing that, and if you can, do more of it.
Third, get Google authorship set up already. I use the WordPress SEO plugin to do it.
Finally, Google will eventually take Hummingbird to the next level and really start to figure out what searchers are looking for based on their search patterns. Quite frankly I think its an exciting time and would love to be around to see them do it.
Leave your comments below and tell me, have you given up on backlinking?