Links Not Always the Best Indicator of Relevance

    February 22, 2010
    Chris Crum

In a recent video uploaded to Google’s Webmaster Central YouTube channel, Matt Cutts talks about creating tags and categories on blogs for SEO purposes. Rather, he discusses how there’s not much point in creating them for this reason.

On average, how many tags do you include with your articles/blog posts? Let us know.

"Google is pretty good at saying, ‘You know what? The first time you say a phrase, it’s interesting, and the second time you say a phrase, it’s still a little bit useful,’" says Cutts. "After a while, we sort of realized, ‘okay, you’ve said that phrase, you don’t have to keep repeating it 8, 9, 10 different times.’ So there are certainly some blogs (including some really popular blogs) who have like an entire paragraph full of tags. And they have clearly spent a lot of time, almost as many, you know, minutes writing tags out as they have the actual content of the post. And I always laugh at that because it’s not really that needed."

He notes that a lot of the time, the tags are already words that are used in the post, so it won’t make that much difference.

Matt appears to be discussing how much the tags will benefit the page the actual content appears on. However, he doesn’t really go into the pages that contain listings of the articles contained within those tags, at least with relation to SEO (He does point out that the tag pages can be useful because they can provide a feed for just that category). This is probably because they don’t do particularly well in search engines either, which could be because they aren’t linked to particularly often.

Google is all about providing users with the most relevant results for the best user experience, and maybe the fact that these kinds of sites aren’t often featured near the top of results could be considered an area where Google isn’t necessarily delivering the best results.

For example, If I wanted to find all WebProNews SEO articles, there is no better place than our tag page for "SEO" at There, any user looking to find WebProNews SEO articles would find all of them arranged by date. If I wanted to see all of the Facebook articles Mashable has, I can do that by going to Yet neither of these pages are returned anywhere near the top for queries like "webpronews SEO articles" or "mashable facebook articles", at least in the results I get (they can vary from user to user). Instead, you might find indvidual articles and results from other sites, with what I would consider to be most relevant pages nowhere in site.

Links are only one of the many factors Google takes into consideration for its rankings, but they are commonly known to be one of the biggest. These tag pages simply highlight the fact that links may not always be the best indicator of relevance.

Note: Our SEO tag page is crawled, and is even featured as one of our "site links" seen by searching for "WebProNews” on Google.

Would you consider there to be a more relevant result for a query like those mentioned above than such tag pages? Do you think Google’s algorithm could be improved in this area? Are links always the best indicator of relevance? Share your thoughts.


Chris Crum
Chris 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.