Backlinks as ranking factor will become less critical over time.
During a recent live session of the Search Off the Record Podcast at Brighton SEO, Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller, accompanied by Lizzi Sassman and guest Myriam Jessier, discussed the future of backlinks. During this session, John Mueller made a significant prediction, suggesting that the influence of backlinks as a ranking factor would gradually diminish over time. This statement resonated strongly within the SEO community, as it came in response to a question posed by an audience member regarding Google’s criteria for penalizing backlinks that operate in a gray area.
Google’s stance on this matter has been consistently clear from the outset: any form of unnatural link-building is strongly discouraged, and engaging in such practices can lead to penalties for your website. While Google typically avoids delving into specifics regarding ranking factors and penalty criteria, the prevailing consensus remains steadfast: unnatural link-building is a practice that should be unequivocally avoided.
But can backlinks can reveal a larger picture about the website.
“And to some extent, links will always be something that we care about because we have to find pages somehow. It’s like how do you find a page on the web without some reference to it? But my guess is over time, it won’t be such a big factor as sometimes it is today. I think already, that’s something that’s been changing quite a bit.”
It’s a valid observation, yet one aspect that Google needs to emphasize sufficiently in the conversation is the broader narrative that a website’s backlink profile conveys. The caliber of backlinks indicates the extent of trustworthiness attributed to the website by other online entities and the level of authority it holds. Unless Google’s algorithm can discern these factors solely from on-page content, we, personally speaking, see no compelling reason for backlinks to diminish in significance in the future.
Nonetheless, we’re on the cusp of an exciting period in the SEO world. For those interested, join the discussion starting at the 13:17 minute mark and stay engaged for other valuable insights.
Source: Search Engine Journal