Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about backlinks in his latest Webmaster Help video where a user writes in to ask:
Hi Matt, does the big G have a version of the search engine that totally excludes any backlink relevance? I’m wondering what search would look like and am curious to try it out.
There’s no version of Google matching that description that is exposed to the public. However, Google has run experiments like this internally and Matt says the quality is much worse.
Even though some noise and a lot of spam gets through into Google search rankings as a result of backlink building, Matt says for the most part backlinks are still a huge win when it comes to returning quality search results.
Google has played around with the idea of turning off backlink relevance, but at least for now it’s still an important indicator that helps Google return the best, most relevant, and most topical set of search results.
To hear Matt’s very brief answer in his own words, please see the video below:
Could you imagine a Google search where backlinks didn’t matter? Unfortunately I’m sure spammers would find something else to abuse in no time. In fact, maybe if Google let us take a look at their experimental search results that disregard backlinks we’d all be thanking Google for being so strict about them.
Kind of fun to think about anyway, makes you wonder what other kind of experiments Google has going on .