Need More Proof that Links are (Still) Important?

25 Aug

Every two years, SEOmoz ask dozens of search marketing professionals to share their opinions on several (possible) search engine ranking influencing factors, and they’ve just released this years edition. It’s funny to see that, although I hear and read about ‘links getting devalued as a search engine ranking influencing metric’ more often, 80% of the top 5 factors (according to the 72 contributors) are still link related.

The top 5 ranking factors:

1. Keyword focused anchor text from external links (73%)
2. External link popularity (quantity/quality of external links) (71%)
3. Diversity of link sources (links from many unique root domains) (67%)
4. Keyword use anywhere in the title tag (66%)
5. Trustworthiness of the domain based on link distance from trusted domains (e.g. TrustRank, domain mozTrust, etc.) (66%)

Additionally, Google (unintentionally) underlined the outcome of SEOmoz’ research, and the importance of links. About two weeks ago, they decided to give the world a preview of what it calls its “next-generation infrastructure”, with the code name Caffeine. Within two weeks, this page is ranking at #3 for ‘caffeine’, without even mentioning it anywhere on the page. Although Google tried to make sure that the effectiveness of link bombing would decrease, this again shows the importance of external anchor text and page content of linking pages. Even in Caffeine.

[Edit 27/08: I just noticed that DaveN covered this as well. Great minds… :) ]

10 Responses to “Need More Proof that Links are (Still) Important?”

  1. Carol Burnett dvd August 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    I have been number 1 for “buy hgh” without that word even was on my site – so, yes, links do matter a lot :-)

  2. eVenture August 28, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    Totally true! I think links will always have a place in the ranking algorithm, so it is best to start utilising this. Great example about Google Caffeine too!

  3. hhnacupuncture September 9, 2009 at 6:12 am #

    In addition, Google (unintentionally) highlighted the SEO moz research results, and the importance of links. Two weeks ago, it was decided to give the world a taste of what it calls its “next-generation infrastructure, codenamed of caffeine.Thanks for this nice post.

  4. Poul Anderson September 16, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Nice post and thanks for sharing with us. I am agree with you and I think links will always have a place in the ranking algorithm, so it is best to start using this. Great example about Google Caffeine too. A link is always paying you much.
    http://www.property-for-sale-in-javea.com/index.php

  5. Ronald September 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I just love the “click here” example. Without having the text on the page, the Acrobat Reader download page ranks 1 for this keyword (combination).
    Just because of the enormous amount of links with “click here to download Acrobat Reader”

  6. Combson's Yachts September 24, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    Link building and good anchor will always add bonus to our site’s rankings. It is a simple method and a genius one, as you can’t get the anchor you want in 100% of the cases. But don’t forget to add some quality content regularly, as the content is the main thing the visitor are coming for…

  7. Web Dizajn September 24, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Wiep Knol,

    I agree with top 5 ranking factors, but I would like to add something.

    1. When it comes to keyword focused anchor text from external links, it is important :

    ○ whether the links is at the top or at the bottom of web page
    ○ whether the link is related and relevant with the theme of web page
    ○ whether the link is in the middle of text or in the middle of links
    ○ how many external links there is in the web page
    ○ whether the link is near the home page of far from home page

    2. External link popularity – quality always beats quantity
    3. That is true
    4. Keyword use anywhere in the title tag – wrong for sure, at the beginning of the title tag relevant keyword phrase has the most power
    5. That is correct

  8. Michiel Van Kets September 26, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    and what about PR?

    it’s 1 more factor so many try to devalue, while it still matters so much. my view on PR – it’s just as powerful as ever, as long it’s indeed from a related page, o0therwise google ignores it largely, but related, high PR links with anchor text links are indeed still the norm to score in SEO

    cheers,

    Michiel

  9. Weng September 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    yup i still believe that links are still important specially to those who are on the ranks, coz links is one of the best way to go up on top rank, and your article says everything, pretty good, and well explained…

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