How much do backlinks matter?

The power of backlinks has long been debated. Some swear they’re the best way to boost search visibility, while others are sceptical due to the rise in low-quality, irrelevant links.

At the recent Pubcon Pro event in Austin, Google Search Analyst Gary Illyes said links are not a top 3 Google Search ranking factor. He said: “I think they [backlinks] are important, but I think people overestimate the importance of links. I don’t agree it’s in the top three. It hasn’t been for some time.”

Gary also mentioned an example of a website that had 0 links, but the content was that fantastic it consistently ranked number on Google.

Here’s our take on the backlink debate 👇

Abi Crosbie, Reckless SEO Manager says: “People have been saying for years links don’t matter (as much) but I’ve yet to see real evidence. Search Engines desperately want to diminish their importance because it’s still something that can be manipulated. But everything I’ve heard so far says their tests fail. I think they’ll get there one day, with pushing us to use other quality signals, but it’ll be a long and slow process.” 

Lauren Simmons, Reckless Content Strategist says: “Link building is considered an authority building tactic but as we’ve already seen from moves like the helpful content update, authority is being redefined to help users distinguish what is truthful and what is not thanks to AI. I agree with Abi that links can be manipulated, so I think they’ll be a bigger shift towards quality over quantity and quality links will centre even more on brand relevancy.”

As more Google search updates are released, it’ll be interesting to see what algorithm changes impact backlink building strategies in the near future. The debate lives on… 🔗

A bit about Reckless
We’re an e-commerce digital marketing agency with offices in Liverpool, Chester and Manchester. We help brands grow through custom websites, bespoke software development, paid media, SEO and online marketplaces. If you need a hand taking your e-commerce brand to the next level, get in touch.

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