Episode 48 of Search Off The Record Podcast is a live recording From Brighton SEO where John Mueller, Lizzi Sassman, and guest SEO Trainer Myriam Jessier answered some SEO questions that were submitted beforehand.
During the podcast, one question that was asked is all about backlinks. Chris asks, "As an SEO, we are interested in backlinks. However, actively working on backlinks often becomes a gray area in terms of link schemes. What are Google's main criteria for penalizing backlinks?"
Backlinks have been a very controversial topic even way before and it continues to be a topic that people have the most questions about. It is also one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors. Some say backlinks are dead, while some say they are very much still working well.
So what do our hosts have to say about backlinks?
John Mueller responds that backlinks is something where he imagines, over time, their weigh or importance will drop off a little bit as Google can figure out a little bit better how the content fits within the context of the whole web. Links will always be something that Google cares about because they have to find pages somehow – how do you find a page on the web without some reference (or link) to it? But his guess is that, over time, backlinks won’t be such a big factor as it is today. He then added that he already thinks that it is something that’s already been changing quite a bit.
With all the updates that have happened this year focusing on content, it looks like more and more weight is given on content and less and less on links. It is still a facto,r though it’s not the same as before. Looks like it’s time to focus more on content and less on links or perhaps just do both.
Check out the Search Off The Record Episode here. The discussion on backlinks starts at 13:06.