Poll: If Google Dropped Links From Their Ranking Algorithm I Would...

Feb 7, 2014 • 8:14 am | comments (23) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Webmaster Tools Bug in LinksWebmasterWorld moderator, Greg Niland, posted a thread at WebmasterWorld on the topic of Google dropping links from their ranking algorithm.

He asked, "What would you do if Google's next algo update stopped counting links?"

Good question, what would you do? Take my poll:

The truth is, I never paid for a link or tried to "build links." But if Google dropped links from their algorithm, I am sure it would have a major impact on how my sites rank. It may benefit them or it may destroy them. I don't know. So I am not sure how I would react, until after I saw my analytics.

That being said, I cannot imagine Google dropping links in their algorithm. Not in the next 2-3 years and even then, it would still be a part of their algorithm.

Excellent discussion at WebmasterWorld and I love theoretical topics because title tags sometimes bores me.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Protests & Hate Over Google's Olympic Charter Gay Pride Logo


Jonathan Hatton

02/07/2014 01:28 pm

I can't see this happening anytime soon. But it would be interesting to see what they would use, which would have the same influence on rankings.


02/07/2014 02:01 pm

If links were dropped, Google would actually display results based on their merit instead of their ability to manipulate.


02/07/2014 02:18 pm

99.99% of links are only there because of Google's algo - they should drop them as they are essentially all spam.


02/07/2014 02:30 pm

If G had any intention on dropping links Matt wouldn't be going after all these networks, G doesn't have a clue about onsite quality other than duplicate content which is easy to detect. G are upping the game on links as a quality signal because that all they have!


02/07/2014 02:31 pm

Dropping links will only happen when we have AI sophesticated enough to actually look at and understand websites. Until then Links will remain 'part' of the algorithm, but a increasingly less important part as Google's software develops towards 'skynet' ;) Then we will all be ruled by robots so it won't matter ;)


02/07/2014 03:40 pm

They need links to crawl the web or else lotsa URLs would remain unkown

Nick Ker

02/07/2014 07:13 pm

I think an algorithm that is not dependent on links (or far less dependent) may be coming much sooner than expected. Yandex has been experimenting with the idea, and I would bet that Google is, too. Over the past 6-9 months or so, I have also spotted quite a few sites with very few incoming links, yet they rank pretty well. Hmmm...

Hortense Soulier

02/07/2014 10:02 pm

If they drop links from their algo once it's sophisticated enough to fully understand content and its quality (which we are far from), you still have to ask yourself if you'd rather rely on a search engine to determine if that content is the best quality or actual people. I'd rather know that a page is ranking well because people (that I trust) are endorsing it by linking to it. It all comes down to authority which I think Google will put more and more emphasis on in the years to come.

Anon Reg

02/07/2014 11:06 pm

indexing is different from ranking


02/07/2014 11:16 pm

So an URL with only one nofollowed link is indexed at the same speed as any other URL else?

Durant Imboden

02/08/2014 01:16 am

Why should Google want to remove links from the algorithm? Even if Google were able to determine quality and relevance with 100% accuracy by using on-page factors, links would still be useful as tie-breakers. IMHO, it would make far more sense for Google to simply be more selective in its use of links. For example, Google could discount or ignore links from sites that didn't have a certain level of authority for a topic or that didn't meet a certain threshold of quality. Or it could take a cue from what Yandex is doing in Moscow and remove links as a ranking factor for commercial queries. Or maybe both.


02/08/2014 02:17 pm

I can't see this happening anytime soon.


02/08/2014 05:35 pm

"Why should Google ..." Because it takes too much resources to sort out data Google receives from links, but outcome is questionable. When you say "Google could discount or ignore" you have to understand, that every "discount" and every "ignore" requires certain resources to be spent. Resources cost certain amount of cash. Google spends a lot on this signal (link) to count it, but SERPs don't become better. Furthermore, spending will increase since there is no any sign, that number of links will decrease. But in the same time, there are no strong evidences, that SERPs quality will increase accordingly. Why move vehicle by fuel engine, when it's possible to move it by electrical engine, paying less. Simple economy.

Chris Faron

02/08/2014 05:56 pm

that's why they launched the chrome browser.. to spy on the web

Durant Imboden

02/08/2014 06:06 pm

On the contrary: The outcome would be far less "questionable" if Google were able to recognize genuine citations and disregard everything else. Links are the most fundamental building block of the World Wide Web (the Web wouldn't be the Web without them), so it stands to reason that Google wouldn't want to ignore them.


02/08/2014 07:11 pm

Block - yes. Signal - no.


02/09/2014 05:14 am

The algorithm is used ultimately secondary now so it doesn't matter. Google pays for real eyes to analyze sites now so you can no longer manipulate their algo to get your rank. It's fun to watch these supposed SEO wiz kids continue to study their link structures. It's a lot like watching a dog chase his own tail round and round and round.


02/09/2014 03:15 pm

you like to watch people analyze link structures? wow, exciting stuff.

Ben Guest

02/09/2014 03:32 pm

People must be getting tired of spammers cause "Be Very Excited" is winning. It's such a fun game, isn't it?


02/10/2014 01:32 am

Yes. It's especially exciting when you are relying on their expertise(or what some of them like to think, intellegence) for your livelihood. It was also like trying to direct a bird trapped in a screened room to fly through the opened door to the outside only to continuously defy your influence and keeps on flying into the screen in the corner. I don't think SEO'ers are necessarily not bright, just maybe a little ADD and a lot of unjustified arrogance.

ashutosh rajput

02/10/2014 04:32 am

google it's over

Gracious Store

02/13/2014 02:51 am

Is Google considering throwing in the towel in their fight with spammers?

Emma North

02/17/2014 11:59 am

I think there's every chance that links will decrease in value gradually over the next couple of years but I think we're a long way off them being discounted completely. Other factors are increasingly important though, such as social and authorship, so links aren't the be-all and end-all they once were, which I don't think is a bad thing!

blog comments powered by Disqus