Hello there, today I want to talk about the role of links in ranking a page in Google search result pages. Although links are one of the many factors Google considers to rank a page yet it is the most powerful indicator for google to assign a rank to a page. Google page ranking algorithm is very complex to understand. There are many more complex considerations are included in the Google page ranking algorithm.
Our primary would be to consider links ranking signal separately ignoring all other factors. Here I want to make it clear that a page that has got more links may not necessarily rank above the page that has less number of links. Simply because there are hundreds of factors working together and interacting with each other simultaneously to provide the best possible result. Therefore one should consider improving other factors also apart from gaining links.
One such factor one can consider is user behavior. It seems the google page ranking algorithm is based on machine learning, which analyses user behavior to assign a quality score to the page.
Understanding Concept Of Links In Google Page Ranking Algorithm
First of all starting at the very basic level let’s try to understand the concept of links as a ranking factor with a real-life example.
Let’s suppose you are new to a place or city may be. You are looking for the best restaurant that can provide you with good quality food. Let’s suppose there are three restaurants nearby. How will you judge which is the best one? There are two options one is to visit each restaurant separately and the second one is to ask some local people for the reference. Obviously, you will choose the second option.
This is what exactly search engines like google do. They look for the number of recommendations your website is having for a particular and particular type of query.
What if link count gets excluded from Google page Ranking Algorithm
Google has experimented internally it internally. What they did is they excluded links as a ranking factor from the google page ranking algorithm. Here exclusion means turning off the link filter type feature. Google says that the results that they got were really very poor. Therefore we can say that the future of building links through white-hat techniques is bright and in the future also google will continue to give importance to links.
A comprehensive study of the importance of link
Here in this subsection of this article, I want to give insight about some of the best industry-wide surveys regarding the importance of links as a ranking factor.
Here I want to include a survey conducted by Perficient Digital to gauge the importance of the link as a ranking factor. They conducted the study four times comprehensively to measure the link’s importance.
They conducted the surveys in
- May- 2016 with a set of 6k queries
- August- 2016 with a set of 16k queries
- May- 2017 with the set of 16k queries
- August- 2018 with a set of 27k queries
One thing is to be mentioned here is that all the previous queries were included in the further studies which took place.
How the survey was conducted to guess Googles Page Ranking Algorithm
Let’s avoid the result of this survey for a moment. Now it is very important for you to know how the survey was conducted. Let me explain it to you.
For the first time, they created a set of 6k queries, then they observed the SERPs for those queries. They tracked the backlink profile of the ranking pages and observed for the fluctuations in their ranking positions as their backlink profile changes. Or we can say as a page got a new link the disturbance in its ranking position was tracked.
Now on the basis of the observed fluctuations, a metric made Quadratic mean Spearman correlation score. Higher the score, the higher the contribution of links towards the ranking.
Here is the screenshot of the result of the survey carried out with a set of 6k queries.
Contribution of link in the ranking to a different type of query
To understand the relation of links with the Google page ranking algorithm more deeply Perficient Digital carried out the study keeping different aspects in mind.
This time they divide the taken queries in information and commercial queries. This time the set was of 27k queries. The screenshot of the result is as follows.
Now I think we have enough data to conclude link as a strong ranking factor. Also we can confidently say that links will continue to be a strong ranking factor in the future also.
Links and Search engine
According to me links and Search Engines are made for each other. Without links, the search engine can not function. Here the very basic task of searching and finding new resources on the web of a search engine is totally dependent on links. They can not find and provide any results to a query without the help of the links. On the other hand, links are made for the search engine to make a resource discoverable by them. Therefore links and search engine relation is unbreakable.
Challenges faced by a search engine when a link is a ranking factor
Now we can not deny from the fact that links help search engines a lot to provide better results to users. But it has created some problems for the search engines too. Some of the webmasters started manipulated link building. They started misusing this dependency of the search engine over links. Manipulated use of anchor texts led to the bad quality of the search results. Therefore google updated its algorithm with famous Penguin update.
Google penguin update penalizes websites that are using black hat SEO Techniques to manipulate the search results. Therefore links are helping much that they are posing challenges in front of search engines.
The conclusion of the whole story links is a very powerful ranking signal. Therefore you must try to get links as much as possible utilizing white hat SEO techniques. This whole article is dedicated to all those beginners who want to have a basic understanding to link and Google page ranking algorithm relationship. Some of the data included in this article is also beneficial for intermediate level SEOs.
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