I have seen sites lose important backlinks and not experience a drop in traffic. I have seen sites gain important backlinks and not experience an increase in traffic. Do backlinks really work anymore??
Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.
Online Publishing Services - Promise Media: I have seen sites lose important backlinks and not experience a drop in traffic. I have seen sites gain important backlinks and not experience an increase in traffic. Do backlinks really work anymore?
Brian Swanick: Absolutely, yes. I've seen a lot of instances where sites have links removed but still retain a lot of authority.
For instance, a lot of sites that are good for local used to essentially have a local link exchange. You had a page? You got a followed link. Even though now many sites nofollow those links or block some of the content from public view, a site may still have the initial equity they gained from that initial link.
Eventually the authority will change, but it's not a real-time change at all.
I'm not saying that backlinks aren't a factor at all in how a site gets ranked. I just wonder if the weight Google puts on it is getting lower over time.
Online Publishing Services - Promise Media: Brian, you hit on a related concern, which is how many sites now use nofollow links. I've spend a huge amount of time trying to find dofollow links, and it's extremely difficult to find them unless you build related blogs or in some cases cheat (i.e., pay a site in violation of Google policies).
I suspect that might be why gaining or losing links may not have the same impact as it did several years ago.
Brian Swanick: Just focus on working with publishers who would be a good fit. It doesn't matter if a link is dofollow or nofollow if it sends you your audience. ;As far as SEO, that's not a good thing. But if we're talking about your overall business objectives, then it's great.