Links, there’s no getting away from them anymore, even if Google wishes we would all forget about them so that they can stop being manipulated. As soon as the first person realised that you can manipulate links to increase your Google presence, the floodgates were opened. Are links still relevant? Are all links bad? Sometimes all links get a bad reputation. I saw a recent study that showed that a vast majority of people thought that all links on the web were commercial, when the truth is much different. So let’s talk about links, shall we?
Are Links Still Needed?
As long as there are links there will be link building services that try to manipulate them; and as long as Google remains a link based search engine (and I can’t see it changing anytime soon) links will be needed. They are the main source of power for a Google listing and no amount of scaremongering is going to change that Google, so stop it. Google may have gotten better at detecting fake articles and links, but its algorithms will never be so complex that they can’t be bested by a skilled writer. Google is actively trying to get writers to write better stuff, so that the internet is filled with relevant material. If the content is good enough, Google doesn’t really care too much about ‘commercial links’.
If you have a little think about links, they all fit into a few categories which are easily defined. I’ll just stop here to tell you why I’m talking about the types of links and it’s because these links are important because they are natural. The majority of links are not commercial on the internet, but people think they are. There are so many natural links which is part of the reason sites like the BBC and Wikipedia continue to dominate the internet. Organic links are powerful and wonderful things:
- Attribution: These are fairly common because when someone writes an article, they don’t want to take credit for work they didn’t do and so they link back to the source organically. These are good links to have back to your site as they give link juice but you also get credit for your original work.
- Relevancy: Some links are there to give more credence to what the writer is talking about. It’s a link that comes from the mentality of ‘don’t just take my word for it; this person has said something similar and so it must be true’.
- Educational: These links come from a desire to direct readers to an interesting source or website that the writer believes their readers would benefit from reading (and the writer can’t be bothered to write up the information in their own article).
- Fun: You know the ones I mean; links to cat videos or a Buzzfeed quiz.
Dan Petrovic did the aforementioned study regarding the types of links and found there to be more than the above. These were the ones he found:
I find that some of Dan’s basically mean the same thing and can be trimmed down to a more cohesive list. Regardless of the link lists, at the end of our ‘link chat’ we’ve found that links will be going strong for a long time yet and that organic links are special and powerful things … like Yoda.