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A New Study Says Links Still Help You Rank

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A New Study Says Links Still Help You Rank

Have you lost faith in the power of links? Well if so, I’ve got good news for you.

A new study of Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting hopes to settle one question once and for all: Are links still a powerful ranking factor?

Do Links Matter? Yes, Yes They Do

My first reaction to this research was “duh.” Seriously, isn’t this a “dog bites man” story? Of course links matter now.

Isn’t the science settled on this? Are there really link deniers or skeptics in 2016? Does anyone who actually understands SEO actually believe that the influence of links is shrinking?

Not that there was much doubt anyway, but Google’s Andrey Lippatsev has stated that links pointing to your site are one of the two most important ranking signals (the other being content).

If that’s not enough proof, Enge has an interesting statistical breakdown of the top 50 results for 6,000 commercial and informational search queries. Total links by SERP position calculationI’m no math geek, so I highly suggest you just go read the report for yourself.

The Value Of Links: 3 Key Takeaways

Here are three simple, but unsurprising, key takeaways from the study:

  • Publish great content that is relevant to your target audience (and will naturally attract links).
  • Market your company on multiple channels (don’t just rely on organic search traffic).
  • Avoid junky tactics that will get you penalized (such as buying links).

Google has added many signals to its ranking algorithm over the years, everything from page speed, to mobile-friendliness, to RankBrain.

So if, for any odd reason, you didn’t know that links matter – or if you forgot or were led astray by other correlation reports and newer, shinier trends – now you know. Links are (still!) an essential ranking factor.

‘Links Will Make The Difference’

Think of links this way. You have about 640 muscles in your body. If you want to be healthy, are you only going to exercise your right arm? I mean, your right arm is pretty important, and does a lot of cool stuff, but it’s just one important part of your body.

It’s the same thing with SEO. You can choose to only focus on links, but this will limit your success. You need to address all the important elements of SEO.

As the report sums it so perfectly: “If your content is not relevant or competitive, links won’t help ranking. If it is, links will make the difference.”

Image Credits

Featured Image: Depositphotos

Article Image: Stone Temple Consulting

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Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin

Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal

Danny Goodwin is Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal. In addition to overseeing SEJ's editorial strategy and managing contributions from ... [Read full bio]

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