Matt Cutts Says Backlinks Are Not Dead, Social Signals Not Ready To Replace Links
In Matt Cutts’ “You & A” at SMX Advanced, made a few brief, but important statements.
Nugget #1: Links are not dead
Question: “Do links still work, or are social signals gonna replace them?”
Matt Cutts: “To say that links are a dead signal is wrong. I wouldn’t write the epitaph for links just yet.”
Many SEOs and marketers have gotten discouraged due to recent updates and have concluded that link building no longer works. I can assure you that (high quality) link building still works (we’re building new rankings every week via link building) and hopefully this statement from Matt Cutts will help put many SEO’s concerns to rest.
Nugget #2: Social signals aren’t able to replace links
When asked a question about Google+ and SEO, Matt Cutts said “When we look at +1, we’ve found it’s not necessarily the best quality signal right now.”
When asked if you have to be on Google+ if you want to rank well in Google, Matt Cutts replied “No!!!! It’s still early days on how valuable the Google+ data will be.”
Many SEOs are convinced that Google is phasing out backlinks as the primary authority metric in favor of social metrics. (Google currently uses social metrics to influence personalized results, not unpersonalized or absolute rankings.) It will be interesting to see what the future brings, but it sure doesn’t sound like we should expect social to replace backlinks anytime in the near future.
Bottom line: If you want to rank well on Google, you need quality backlinks. This applies now, and for the foreseeable future.