Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Webspam team, and their chief webspam fighter. This means that when it comes to SEO, his word is law because he holds the search engine ranking of every website in his hand. His job is to ensure that the spammy and black-hat techniques employed by some do not influence Google’s search results list. In other words, when Matt Cutts speaks, we all listen. This is what he has to say about link building:
Content Still Reigns Supreme
Almost every SEO professional says it, but apparently some people have not gotten the hint—if your content is garbage, no amount of SEO techniques are going to make it popular in the long-term. This is especially true since search engine algorithms are only becoming more and more complex. When asked about how a page could rank if there were not any links to it, Cutts explained that Google then judges it by the text on the page as well as some other factors, just as domain reputation:
“That refers back to the way search engines were before links. You’re pretty much judging based on the text on the page at that point . . .It can be kind of tough, but at that point we have to fall back and assess, based on the quality of the content that’s actually on the text, that’s actually on the page.”
Focusing on content first, rather than trying to quickly up your page rank, is more likely to pay off in the end.
Links Will Be Important for Quite a While
No one wants to see their hard work at link building go to waste and with Google’s ever-evolving algorithms, that is always a fear in the back of site owners’ minds. Do not worry, however, as Matt Cutts says that backlinks will continue to factor into page rank for many years:
“I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them. But inevitably, what we’re trying to do is figure out how an expert user would say, this particular page matched their information needs. And sometimes backlinks matter for that . . . It’s helpful to find out what the reputation of the site or a page is. But for the most part, people care about the quality of the content on that particular page, the one that they landed on.”
In Fact, Links Remain the Most Important Ranking Factor
Ultimately, content is what will determine the fate of your site. However, as far as rankings go, Cutts admits that right now they are the most important factor, as they had tried to create an algorithm that excluded backlinks from the equation and the results were not satisfactory:
“It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results. We’ve played around with the idea of turning off backlink relevance, and at least for now, backlink relevance still really helps in terms of making sure that return the best, most relevant, most topical set of search results.”
In a nutshell, what you should take away from this is that by combining solid link building and creative, engaging content, your page rank will likely benefit. While the latter is up to you, Silent SEO Ninja can help with the former, setting you up with links that are reputable and natural, that will not only get you a higher page rank, but increase your site traffic as well.