A Twitter user asked John Mueller about the number of links he has showing up in Search Console and how the report downloaded shows less, and of these two which of the two data is the correct one.
John ended up responding that there is no way to measure the absolute number of external links a site has and how it’s theoretically impossible once a site has more than a handful of links. He stated not to focus on the number of links as it is not a useful metric.
Such a big pronouncement. In the past, the number of links were a significant factor when it comes to ranking. Backlinks are seen as a vote of confidence and trust from one site to another, saying that this site I am linking to has valuable information, thus, I am sharing it on my site. The more backlinks a site had, the more vote it had, the better the ranking of the site.
In recent years, this seems to have changed and John’s statement seems to have only confirmed this.
It looks like quality of links are now a more important factor compared to the quantity of links and it is now time to stop focusing on the number of links, as John has said, it is not a useful metric.
Gone are the days when it was all, the more, the merrier.