Did Google REALLY Say Links Don’t Matter?


If you’ve been in the SEO world for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the mantra links are king. Backlinks (links from other websites to yours) have been a core ranking signal for Google since its early days. But recently, Google representatives have dropped some hints that things are changing. Could links truly be losing their importance? Let’s dive in!

Google’s Official Statements

It all started when Google’s Gary Illyes made a statement that sent the SEO world into a tailspin. He said that Google needs “very few” links to rank a site. Since then, other Google Search representatives have made similar statements:

  • Gary Illyes, Google Search Analyst (2023): Links are no longer a top-3 ranking factor.
  • John Mueller, Google Search Advocate (2023): He believes links will become less important as a ranking signal over time.
  • Google’s Spam Policies Documentation (Updated March 2024): Mentions of “important” were removed when describing links.


Absolutely not! Let’s break this down with a simple analogy. Imagine you’re a new student in school and no one knows you yet. If a few popular kids start vouching for you and saying how cool and smart you are, it’ll give you credibility. Backlinks work similarly – they’re like votes of confidence from other websites.

However, if the popular kids vouching for you are always getting into trouble, their recommendations hold less weight. Similarly, spammy or irrelevant backlinks won’t help your search rankings.

What IS Google Focusing on Now?

Google’s evolving algorithm now emphasizes:

  • E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Does your content demonstrate a deep understanding of your topic, and can readers trust the information?
  • High-quality content and User Experience (UX). Is your content valuable, well-formatted, easy to read? Does your website load quickly and navigate easily?
  • Relevance and Searcher Intent. Does your content truly answer what people are searching for using their keywords in a natural way?

Example: If you’re a gardening blogger and a well-known botanical garden links to your article on “10 Tips for Growing Tomatoes,” that’s valuable. But a link from an unrelated tech website won’t do much.

Yes, but the emphasis is on quality, relevance, and a natural backlink profile. Here’s what to do:

  • Focus on Creating Awesome Content: Make your blog the BEST resource in your niche. Naturally, other websites will want to link to yours.
  • Strategic Guest Posting: Contribute high-quality articles to relevant blogs and get a backlink in your author bio.
  • Network on Social Platforms: Share your content, build genuine relationships, and you might earn links organically.

Links still matter, but they’re not a magic bullet. Google wants to reward websites providing the best possible user experience. The quality of backlinks and the quality of your content must work hand-in-hand.


Google’s statements highlight a shift in how links are evaluated as part of a larger ranking algorithm. Remember:

  • Backlinks still impact rankings, but quality is more important than ever.
  • Google prioritizes high-quality content, user experience, and E-A-T.
  • Focus on creating the best website in your niche, and backlinks will follow.


  1. Is link building dead? No, but it’s evolving. Build fewer, but more meaningful and relevant backlinks.
  2. How can I get high-quality backlinks? Make valuable content people want to share. Consider guest posting, networking, and creating resources like infographics.
  3. My site is new; how do I get any backlinks? Start with your network – friends, family, previous colleagues. Submit to relevant directories, share on social media thoughtfully, not spammily.
  4. Should I avoid buying links? Absolutely. This violates Google’s guidelines and can hurt your rankings.
  5. How important is quantity vs. quality of backlinks? One high-quality, relevant link is worth more than dozens of low-quality ones.

What are you doing to improve your site’s E-A-T? Share your strategies in the comments!

Hey there, I'm Gaurav Kumar – your tech-savvy companion on a journey through AI, business, cybersecurity, and more. Let's dive into the exciting world of innovation together! 🚀🌟 Buy Me a Coffee.

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