Are backlinks still a significant ranking factor in 2019? MOZ says yes
News Courtesy of Moz.com:
Do Links Still Matter?
For the fourth year running, Stone Temple (now a part of Perficient Digital) conducted a study on how much links matter as a ranking factor. We did that using Moz's Link Explorer and in this year's study, we looked at the largest data set yet — 27,000 queries.
Our study used quadratic mean calculations on the Spearman correlations across all 27K tested queries. Not sure what that means? You can learn more about the study methodology here.
The data still shows a strong correlation between links and rankings. Google's public statements and its actions (in implementing penalties) also tell the same story. In short, links still matter. But we also see a clear indication that the nature and the quality of those links matter too!
Want more information? You can see the Stone Temple link study here.
It should come as no surprise that, yes, links are still very important for ranking web pages. The study done by MOZ reads like a technical manual but it proves that links are still one of the top ranking factors for Google. Over the past couple of years, it’s been said by Google engineers NOT to concentrate so much on link building. Instead, we’re supposed to focus our efforts on quality content. Well, anyone that is serious about ranking is already doing that. You could have the most informative and helpful article written on a topic and still get outranked by more authoritative websites. It’s not fair, but I understand the rationale.
Just because a post is well-written and formatted doesn’t automatically earn trust from Google. How do they know that what is contained in the article is true and factual? The medic update last year proved that Google puts more trust in websites that are associated with doctors and physicians. For good reason, they’d rather serve top results from industry experts than say Joe Schmoe writing a detailed post about bloodborne pathogens.
Thankfully, it does appear that the era of link spamming is over. Quality links far outweigh a mass of junk backlinks coming from comments, message boards, and PBN’s. It’s for this reason why it’s crucial to network with others who might share some common ground but wouldn’t be classified as a competitor. Ideally, securing a guest post on an established website should help build that trust with Google. That’s easier said than done as websites that are popular are looking for high-quality content with links to sources and references. Until Google finds a way to gauge trust in other ways, I believe backlinks as a ranking factor will remain relevant for quite some time.