Matt Cutts admits Links still Important to Google for Rankings

LinksEver since Google released their Penguin update way back in 2012 (has it been two years already! Seriously?), people have been trying to fly the flag for everything else in response including Pay Per Click advertising, Social Media and of course proclaiming “Content is King”.

We’ve not been sold on this idea and still to this day have been telling clients that Link Building is ‘safe’ in the same way that running across a busy road is safe, so long as you know what you’re doing! The problem is, there are too many people shouting from the roof tops that link building is over, had its day and that you need to watch what you’re doing now.

Of course we know that Google has been handing out Manual Penalties like candy as well as many people seeing their websites losing rankings with each successive Penguin update due to their outdated Link Building Techniques slowly becoming less effective. No matter whether you built your directory or article links last week or last year or even longer ago. So long as these links are live, they’re more than likely no longer having a positive effect on your rankings.

Does this mean that Link Building as a technique to increase visibility within Google is old hat and consigned to the Internet’s fledgling history books? Well if you read enough blog posts and poke around enough forums, you’ll find these so called ‘SEO Gurus’ telling anyone who will listen mostly those who are new to SEO that SEO is dead and throwing in the towel. Anyone would think these people secretly worked for Google, or more than likely sold their consultancy services for PPC and Social Media. Sure both of these have their merits, but Links from other websites to your website are what counts and what matter when you want to rank highly in Google.

Don’t believe us? Still unsure? Can you spare 55 seconds? Well watch this video in which Matt Cutts (Google Spam Guy) openly admits that Google still haven’t managed to create an algorithm that can rank websites well enough without relying on Links as a quality signal…

So there it is, you’ve seen Matt Cutts, the face of Google Search openly saying that they’re a long way off being able to completely discount Links as a method of ensuring one website outranks another. A few months ago, Yandex, the Russian Google effectively turned off Links as a Ranking Metric.

It’s pretty obvious to everyone that Links are a pretty poor method of ranking websites since anyone with the resources (or/and money) can create a very strong backlink profile. Where as your typical Small Business using SEO on a small scale will likely find it much more difficult to both dedicate the time and resources to effective Link Building as well as having the large open ended budget to be able to pay somebody else to do the work.

All you can do as a website owner looking to use link building to help increase your rankings. Is to ensure that you’re being mindful of the fact that Google is playing Big Brother these days, watching what you’re up to and what you’re doing. Yes you need to continue building links regardless of Penguin updates and Manual Penalties. They were only ever designed to ensure that people weren’t cutting corners, taking the easy route constantly to gain an advantage in Google.

We’re not advocating what Google is doing to be right and just, far from it! But what you need to be aware of now is that the video above that you may have just watched quite clearly states that Links are Important! And most likely will be for some time to come.