Google Kills ‘Links’ In Its Ranking Message To Webmasters

By: Chris Crum - June 19, 2013

Google has a help center article in Webmaster Tools specifically about “ranking”. It’s not incredibly informative, and certainly doesn’t walk you through Google’s over 200 signals. It’s just a few sentences of advice, including links to Google’s Webmaster Academy and the “How Google Search Works” page.

Internet marketer Erik Baemlisberger spotted in a change (via Search Engine Land) in what little wording there is, however, and it’s actually somewhat noteworthy.

As you can see, the wording use to be: “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”

Now, it says, “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.”

Google has removed he word “link,” presumably to play down the importance of links in its algorithm. This doesn’t mean that links are less important. High quality links are likely still a major signal, but by de-emphasizing the word link (or removing it altogether), Google probably hopes to cut down on people engaging in link schemes and paid links – things Google has been cracking down on more than ever over the past year or so.

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • anti snoring

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this issue. I really like
    all the points you have made.

  • Erik Baeumlisberger

    Thanks for post, Chris!

    Overall, I’m pleased with the change. I used to, begrudgingly, reference the “Rankings” page in my client deliverables as a way to say “Hey, links still matter. Google says so.”

    While I don’t for a second think that links no longer matter, I’m glad that G has shifted focus away from the effect and back to the cause.

    Great content is the cause. Great content is what we should be focused on (Google says so). Links are simply the effect.

  • Tim O’Keefe

    Technically, whats the dif? But we all knew that already. It is smart on Googles part to push better sites and not better links.Although one causes the other in a natural world. As Erik says. What is most interesting is that Google has taken this long to articulate this.

  • broach

    None of this really matters. Google changes their policy like I change my socks! One year they tell you to do one thing to improve rank and the next they penalize you for doing it. I, for one, am sick and tired of catering to Google. We (small website owners) made Google who they are and they should be catering to us!

  • alex at eyeglasses online

    How can we create high quality sites without links. Its like industrial age where richer get richer and poorer get poor.

  • NCPR

    I’ve seen a bit of a change in search results but nothing major. I was #1 with several keywords with a article I wrote and now it dropped a bit but still on the first page of Google.