An Idea That Changed Everything
Although we hear the term *backlinks* a lot, many do not know *why* backlinks are important to rankings. In fact, very few realize that Google’s original name was *backrub*.
The co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had been working together on a search engine they called *backrub* since early 1996, two years before Google, Inc. was established on September 7, 1998.
They called it backrub because of a novel idea to *factor in* the links pointing to a web page as quality indicators of that pages popularity (each link was a vote). In other words, their original algorithms not only analyzed web content for relevancy but also took note of any links *back*.
But it was not enough to have just a link back; it needed to be a *quality* link (even more so today).
Why *Quality* Backlinks Are Everything
As Google, the grand daddy of search engines, became increasingly popular in the early to mid 2000′s, savvy Internet marketers with knowledge of Google’s preference for backlinks pounced on this *secret* to gain a competitive advantage.
It wasn’t long before sites were setting up *link exchanges* as a quick and easy way to get backlinks. (lots of them)
However, this didn’t last long because Google’s engineers were determined to filter out inauthentic linking, especially when it was obvious that *link farms*, as they called it, were corrupting their original intent: each link was a vote.
However, Google did not throw out the baby with the bathwater. What they did, though, was scrutinize more closely the true nature of any backlinks they found. They looked at factors such as:
- are the links on unique servers?
- are the *linked* sites relevant to each other?
- is the link embedded within an article or is it sitting there as part of a cluster of URLs?
These days their algorithms are so smart, due to advances in artificial intelligence, (AI) that they can tell if articles are written by robots or humans, (even whether content is written by a native speaker or not). In other words, it is no use trying to outsmart Google.
Today, more than ever, Google’s highly sophisticated algorithms want to see links embedded is well written content posted on trusted sites within their database using meaningful anchor text before that backlink gets a high score.
Why Backlinks Will Always Be Important
I guess it’s a safe bet to say Google will always value backlinks as a guide to assigning rankings for pages in its gargantuan database.
It’s simply hard-coded into the companies DNA.
How else are they able to figure out which page gets ahead of another?
Backlinks are the great equalizer because if thirty pages of unique content are similar then its algorithms look to the backlinks to determine which is the most popular. Whereas, the content tells them what the page is about, it’s the number and quality of backlinks that determine which pages get ahead of the other in their migration to the top of the search results.
The powerful simplicity of this idea, which has been universally adopted in all major search engines, almost guarantees that the need for quality backlinks will become increasingly more important in the years to come.
These are things I’ve been teaching in affiliate marketing courses for years now. And listeners to any of my affiliate program podcasts are familiar with my usual refrain: quality backlinks are everything!