Can Google Search Operate Without Giving Credit To Backlinks?

February 25, 2014 · 14 comments

in SEO

Can Google Search Operate Without Giving Credit To Backlinks?

a three-sided dice with S. E. O. wrote on itAre Backlinks  
Really Dead?

Recently, a reader asked Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam (and thus SEO) team: 

Does the big G have a version of the search engine that totally excludes any backlink relevancy? I’m wondering what search would look like and am curious to try it out.

I think this is a fantastic question because it addresses whether or not backlinks are totally and completely dead. This is something that gets speculated about a lot. 

If you’re not sure what a backlink is or why it’s important, I suggest you start here

Here’s what Matt has to say: 

So, it sounds like that at least SOME backlinks are still being credited… though the list of which ones are not is now pretty extensive. 

There’s not a lot of cut and dry answers with backlinks any more either since Google has also shown that they will sometimes treat nofollow links as dofollow links “at their discretion”. 

In the meantime, this means that we need to continue to pay attention to creating amazing content that others WANT to link to so that we gain the highest quality – editorial – type backlinks possible from well established trusted domains. 

Do you have questions about backlinks? 

~ Kim ~
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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Aulia February 25, 2014 at 7:47 pm

That’s too bad, because I know lots of sites pay to get monthly backlinks, which is the “noise” Matt is talking about. It’s sort of unfair for smaller sites with original content who don’t have many backlinks like the bigger sites have

Maybe Google should (if not already) gives a much higher, higher “point” if the backlink comes from a big brand. At least no one can abuse the system


Kim Castleberry February 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Michael, that’s a great point. I would say that Google is already working hard to identify which domains are “brand authorities” who never out-link carelessly and who carry a ton of credibility with their followers… and awarding a lot more “points” to anything these brands/domains point to. I can’t prove that but everything suggests that that is true already. It’s also why Google has wanted authorship and such in place so they can better track that type of authority and have more insight into who is vs who isn’t. The best thing we can do at the moment is become a brand authority… and probably the second best thing we can do is to get SEEN and mentioned by brand authorities… whether it be from their blog (a backlink) or from their public social profiles (passing of influence and recognition in Google’s eyes).


Mainak Halder February 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

The question is really nice Kim and really one to think of. But have a question. Many spammers just tend to place backlinks at any site and does Google rank them even for short-term?
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Glenn David February 28, 2014 at 3:59 am

Hii Kim, I think the title should be, Google search without paid backlinks. Bcoz these are the links which Google don’t want but they still dominates the web. Getting links manually is best but require hard work.


Sue Bride March 1, 2014 at 1:22 am

This is another example of how people who abuse the system have affected SEO for those who don’t just like keyword stuffing and false keywords made meta keywords less useful.

However it should mean that quality content is easier to find and easier to rank.
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Julieanne van Zyl March 1, 2014 at 1:37 am

I think it’s like Kim says – Google is looking out for those websites who’s content shows it is authoritative within that niche. From what Matt says, it sounds like certain backlinks still help to bring up the search results with the best quality.
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Marty Diamond March 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Having content rise in importance and spammy backlinks decline is wonderful news ….but it does create some issues for smaller businesses who now find themselves completing with much larger firms for ranking – firms have big budgets for online marketing and who have whole departments devoted to content creation.

Means we all have to think more strategically about our audience and niche. A worthy challenge!
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Chery Schmidt March 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Hi Kim, You asked if we have questions about back links? Well I for one have many LOL I guess we just need to concentrate on giving more value HUH? I have been noticing that a lot of people have been using more video.s and their articles are not as long as they used to be, Now I would think this would have a negative impact, Am I wrong to assume this? Thanks for the great video! Chery :))
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Sue Bride March 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

Hi Chery, YouTube is considered an authoritative site so their embedded videos tend to rank well despite the shorter posts that usually go alongside them. I am sure it does not hurt that Google own YouTube either. Because Google has little else to go on, keywords (in title, description,tags) and backlinks attached to videos are more powerful than for normal posts so more traditional optimization techniques work well with them.
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Chery Schmidt March 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Thanks Sue, This does make sense, I do appreciate your help.. Chery :))
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Sagar March 7, 2014 at 2:32 am

Nice post

I think back links have not loosen its importance . Well it is a fact that back links from low quality sites will probably effect the web page and the back links from high quality and good PR will always be advantageous. Well the important point what everybody miss is the quality content or information on the site so that people will like it and possibility that we can get back links from high quality sites.

Thank you for sharing


Willena Flewelling March 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I guess, as has been said, this is another way for Google to encourage original content that offers real value to our readers. Having others choose to backlink to us means a lot of work on our part, but it pays off far better in the long run, because those backlinks come from people who come back to our blogs again and again because they like what we offer, and want to return.
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Anonymous March 11, 2014 at 8:43 pm

If backlinks are dead, I can only say SEO consultants would be jobless. Even though after penguin, panda, hummingbird update – seo still applies even though th old seo techniques dont have such a big impact. It still drives a huge part of th people to do backlinks as they all just want natural listing and reduce cost by preferring not to use Google adwords (Sem) costly.


giang March 13, 2014 at 10:22 am

Hello, Kim.
I have read your article and see the video of matt you provide, it is really nice and helpful. Video of matt I have seen the important points from the backlink.


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