Backlinks Still Matter
Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere over the last eighteen months, you’ve no doubt seen the backlash against backlinks that’s occurred in the general internet marketing community. I’ve read more obituaries for backlinks since February 2012 than I’ve had warm meals and for those of you who know me, I like my warm meals!
Why is February 2012 so important? That’s when Google more or less declared war on people who were overtly gaming their ranking algorithm with automated backlinks and by using public blog networks. In late February, Google manually deindexed a few well known “home page backlink” networks. These were sites that sold high PageRank value links on the home pages of blogs under the control of the owners.
In my opinion, this was just a trial run for what was to come.
About ten days later, Google manually deindexed major public blog networks like Build My Rank and SEO Nitro. All of the sites that heavily relied on these networks saw dramatic falls in their search engine rankings and consequently their traffic. This was the backlinking armageddon.
Then Penguin dropped in April and large parts of the online marketing community lost their collective minds.
That’s when the backlink death knell was sounded by the community… Well, the community who suddenly had something else to sell you – Facebook, Pinterest, Press Releases, etc…
It was a ridiculously successful strategy by Google.
Subsequently, Google has continued to tweak their ranking indicators and Penguin has become more effective at devaluing rubbish links, but the simple fact of the matter is, backlinks are still the primary driver to higher rankings.
Matt Cutts, Google’s Webspam Czar released a really interesting video this past week talking about PageRank. The question asked referred to the fact that Google haven’t updated their PageRank Toolbar statistics in nearly ten months. Cutts tried to explain why, but then he proceeded to veer off into an explanation of PageRank itself and more importantly, he opened up about backlinks.[leadplayer_vid id=”525797B2AEE12″]
The takeaway from this is pretty simple… Google is still calculating PageRank for your pages on an ongoing basis, they just haven’t updated the Toolbar in awhile. PageRank is calculated based on the value of the PageRank of the pages that are linking to your page. The better the pages linking to you, the better your sites will do in the rankings.
With that said, not all backlinks are created equally, but that’s the topic of my next post.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on backlinking below in the comments and remember to optin below to make sure you get an email notification about future posts.