Inbound Links Have Become A Less Important Ranking Factor for Google.

So is it still worth spending any time on them at all?

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Google’s Gary Illyes said recently at a search conference words to the effect that Google sees inbound links as not that important a ranking factor anymore.

Inbound links have long been considered a cornerstone of SEO.

This might come as something of a surprise for business website owners. Quality inbound links have long been a cornerstone of an SEO or search marketing strategy, and many SEO firms have specialised in the service of delivering them for their clients.

Google’s focus is on quality people-first content.

For those who follow the evolution of Google’s ranking signals story, this news won’t come as much of a surprise. The ranking factor they talk about mostly nowadays is the importance of website owners spending time creating high quality people-first content for their websites.

Google has other ranking factors now.

The problem for Google when assessing inbound links is that they are easy for the unscrupulous to manipulate and complex and resource hungry to manage. The other simple fact is that Google, given the huge amount of data they have access to, have at their disposal literally hundreds of ranking factors, meaning they don’t need links to do the heavy lifting anymore.

Is it still worth doing links at all?

So where does that leave the average business website owner? Is it still worth spending time cultivating quality links from other authoritative sites? If you read Google Search Central document about Link spam one soon gets the impression that if there is a focus on links to “manipulate rankings” Google Search may consider it link spam and this could negatively affect ranking.

Where do you focus your resources?

At the end of the day website owners only have so much time and resources available to devote towards search marketing, the question is where you focus those resources. The message from Google these days is create and craft the freshest, best web page content  you can, and don’t worry so much about everything else.

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