SEO Written by 0

There are many elements of good SEO, but this doesn’t stop a lot of us from obsessing over the importance of link building. What’s important to recognize is that Google actually use over 200 indicators to decide on where a site should rank. These include a vast range of on site and off site factors from location, to the time visitors spend on pages, to the age of the domain to the quality of the code and the content.

In-bound links then is just one of these many different factors, and they certainly aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to your search ranking. Of course it’s true that all of these 200 factors are not equally weighted, and sure something like the number of inbound links is going to be more important than some of those other factors, but it certainly isn’t as important as a lot of people think.

Matt Cutts on the Skewed View of Inbound Links

In fact, Matt Cutts of Google practically said as much when he was recently answering questions about the demise of Yahoo Site Explorer. People were asking whether Google would provide more link data to compensate for that loss, and in his response he basically pointed out that people were obsessing too much over that link data in the first place.

Yahoo Site Explorer – they were giving out a lot of links, but they weren’t giving links that Google knew about. And certainly they don’t know which links Google really trusts and so I think a lot of people sometimes focus on the low-quality links that a competitor has and don’t realize that the vast majority of times those links aren’t counting.

For example, The New York Times sent us a sample of literally thousands of links that they were wondering how many of these count because they’d gotten it from some third party or other source of links, and the answer was that basically none of those links had counted.

As such the new service that will be taking the place of Yahoo Site Explorer will be the ability to search for inbound links to a site directly through Google by using a ‘link colon’ command. This will then give a more select number of links that are chosen more for quality – in theory making it a more useful research tool for webmasters and SEO services.

The Lesson

In short then the take home message from this little speech is that links aren’t worth all that much for links’ sake, and that the quality of links is far more important than the quantity. As a result those of us who are spending our every waking moment trying to get our links into every comments section and on every forum would probably do well to just stop.

At the same time it’s important to focus on the other indicators that Google is starting to pay more and more attention to versus links – such as social networking cues and other more organic indicators of a site’s success.

One last point though is that of course Google isn’t the only reason we build links. Links are also a good way to direct traffic naturally to our pages when visitors find those links on sites that they know and trust. In that regard links will remain important and can also help us to improve some of those other indicators to our site (and be a little less reliant on Google in the first place). The real take home lesson here? Use your common sense…

This guest post was written by Jitendra Agrawal of GetLinksPro, a service that specializes in building quality backlinks for web sites and blogs.

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