Would You Be Ready If Google Removed Links as A Ranking Factor?

I Heart Links

What the heck would you do tomorrow if links where irrelevant in the eyes of the search engine? Cry? Weep? Or shift the gears in your web strategy just a bit? If you have been approaching your SEM efforts correctly links are not the only tool in your arsenal. Search engine marketing is like going to a party and having a bag of different shoes to wear, your inbound marketing needs to be diverse. Putting all your eggs in one basket is only setting yourself up for disaster because everything has a shelf life, even links.

If you are sitting there shaking your head side to side think about when Google removed purchasing links from the algorithm years ago, or when the Panda update came around last year and almost put companies out of business overnight that spent way too much time writing articles day in and day out. I recently read a great article by Stephen Logan over at koozai goes into this idea about links eventually disappearing. Think about all those investors prior to 2008 that thought real estate was never going to slip up, they even laughed on television at those who thought such a crazy thing. Could links be the SEO’s world real estate collapse?

“The reason why links were used as a ranking factor in the first instance was simply to indicate which sites had the most authority. After all, if you see a product that you like, read a blog post that you enjoyed or want to share a business that you’ve used with friends or followers, traditionally this would have been done through a link on a site. As such, those links would effectively count as a vote for the target domain.

This logic was soon tested though when the Internet became infested with low quality directories, link exchanges and endless spammy techniques. Whilst quality sites would always naturally attract links, often from other strong domains, others could do the same just by making a few choice investments. Whilst paid links are against Google’s rules, they have struggled to effectively police this behaviour, as shown in recent high-profile cases.”

Ranking signals that are becoming more important everyday:

Here are some ways to be less dependent on links:

Content Marketing

Content is the driving force behind everything these days. Good content marketing can go a long way when it comes to search engine traffic and visibility. I’m not talking about writing an article and spinning it 35 times I mean writing good solid content that has passion in the context and message.

Social Media

The companies that thrive online today are the companies that show a little personality (or a lot). A great way to show personality online is by having your voice heard through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and even Pinterest. Show the community there is a soul behind the business and people will look at you.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Sure PPC advertising is not a direct signal in the search engines but it is another important prong in delivering targeted web traffic to your site. PPC can be expensive and it is not for everyone but if you approach it strategically you can convert some quality leads.

There is a very good possibility in the not so distant future links will become less important in the grand scheme of things? Will you be ready?


2 responses to “Would You Be Ready If Google Removed Links as A Ranking Factor?”

  1. Jonathan says:

    It’s an interesting idea, but will still leave the same problem for smaller local companies. They do not have the social media reach of a large brand and often do not have the funds to create a site with hundreds of high quality pages.

    These sites also struggle with links to some extent, but they can mitigate this with reciprocal links, directories and other sources. Given the low social reach, under this form of ranking, it would be hard for these companies to be found, even when they were the ideal match for a users query – they are just too many other sites on these with a lot on information, but may not actually offer a good service.

    • Brandignity says:

      Very true! It is a slippery slope and I think overtime we will see the weight from certain efforts completely removed. Efforts like directories have already become useless over the years which are a sign things are moving in that direction.

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