Since Moz.com did a Whiteboard Friday post on the value of links, there has been much discussion around this subject, so we decided to challenge links and all signals and come up with our own conclusion.
We analyzed many of the sites we manage as well as other sites and competitors. We went in with an open mind, hoping for a conclusion of course, but wanted to make sure we were open-minded.
This point may sound misleading, and is not an air tight headline. Of course, if you provide great content people will link to it and grow a community. The perspective of this point is sites that have informational pages and are a new site / company.
Websites that have recently launched or are new businesses have a difficult time ranking without a link profile. Google seems to need this validation, especially for sites without much history and trust. Therfore, we say a website cannot rank on content alone.
Many local websites that we analyzed surprisingly still have low-quality guest blogs, paid links and spammy links. The sites that perform the best have two things in common and its not volume of links. Sites that out perform its competition have quality links from substantial websites that are highly relevent to their site content. This may sound obvious, but it didn’t seem to take much. These links were few, but stand out and gives a clear indicator that these links are pushing them ahead.
Inbound links are still a key factor in Google’s algorithm. They will continue to rid the world of paid links and spammy tactics, however they seem to continue to promote quality links with a high level of relevance. We believe that quality links are still a strong factor and will continue to grow in importance.