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Google Says Links No Longer A Top Three Ranking Factor

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Google Robot Links Sad

Google has been downplaying the importance of links in its ranking algorithm for the past couple of years now. But last Thursday, at PubCon, Gary Illyes from the Google Search team said he wouldn’t even put links into the top three ranking signals Google Search uses.

Gary was quoted saying this in several posts on X during his Q&A session at PubCon.

Here are those tweets:

Danny Goodwin also covered him saying this at Search Engine Land, “Links are not a “top 3” ranking signal and hasn’t been “for some time,” Illyes said, adding that there really isn’t a universal top 3. It’s absolutely possible to rank without links, Illyes said, citing an example of a page with zero internal or external links that he knew of that was ranking Position 1 on Porsche cars – and Google had only found the page via a sitemap.”

Some history for you, a year or so ago, Duy Nguyen from Google’s search quality team said, “backlinks as a signal has a lot less significant impact compared to when Google Search first started out many years ago.” We also covered that Google said links would likely become even less important in the future. And even Matt Cutts, the former Googler, said something similar about eight years ago and the truth is, links are weighted a lot less than it was eight years ago and that trend continues. A couple of years ago, Google said links are not the most important Google search ranking factor.

Note: I am posting stories today, Sunday, because tomorrow is Yom Kippur and I am not posting anything on Yom Kippur.

Forum discussion at X.



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Daily Search Forum Recap: March 1, 2024

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Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.


Google has new structured data carousel beta details for rich results. Google now lets you opt out of place entities in page insights. Google Business Profiles customer interactions updates every few days. Google wrote in a court document that its search quality has improved. Google AdSense has offerwall messages. I posted the weekly SEO video recap as well.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

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SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.

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Google Ranking Volatility, Tons Of Google Bugs, Most Read Articles, Bing Deep Search & Quality & SEOs Not Loving Google

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Google Ranking Volatility, Tons Of Google Bugs, Most Read Articles, Bing Deep Search & Quality & SEOs Not Loving Google

We had two periods of Google Search ranking volatility this week, one last weekend and one on Thursday or so. Google court documents say search quality has improved and not degraded. Google dropped the see more results in the local panel this week for a period of time until it fixed that bug. Google also removed the news tab but that seemed like a bug also and was fixed. Google has a bug with the European hotel/travel results being hijacked. Google also broke the filetype search operator for a while. Google Analytics is seeing a lot of referral spam from Poland. There is new structured data carousel beta details. Google is testing a most-read articles carousel in the search results. Google is also testing popular opinions carousels. Google local panels is testing expandable menus. Google has this reviews disclaimer for “people like.” Google Analytics added new default Google Ads reports. Google Ads Performance Max placement reports to show the search partner network. Google Ads is testing limited by budget status color coding. Google Ads support reps may use Google Translate to chat with advertisers. Microsoft said it will bring back testing of Bing Deep Search. Google said that Microsoft tried selling Bing to Apple but Apple didn’t want it due to quality issues. A survey shows SEOs dislike Google more now than ever. And if you want to help sponsor those vlogs, go to patreon.com/barryschwartz. That was the search news this week at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Sponsored by BruceClay, who has been doing search marketing optimization since 1996 and also has an amazing SEO training platform.

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Search Topics of Discussion:

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Early Signs Of Another Google Search Ranking Update On February 28/29

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Google Logo Ranking Rocks Falling

I am seeing early signs of a possible Google Search ranking algorithm update starting yesterday, February 28th, and into today, February 29th. The chatter started to spike yesterday amongst the SEO community and some of the third-party rank tracking tools are showing a spike in volatility.

Again, Google has not confirmed an update in over 16-weeks now but we have had plenty of unconfirmed Google search ranking algorithm updates since then, including a weird one this past weekend.

Keep in mind, we are all waiting patiently for the next big Google update that Google has been promising since November.

So what are we seeing related to this possible unconfirmed Google Search update?

Google Tracking Tools:

Let’s start with what the tools are showing:

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SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Semrush:

Semrush

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Mangools:

Mangools

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Mozcast:

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Mozcast

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

Algoroo:

Algoroo

Some of the tools have not yet updated for the day, so I may come back here to update them later.

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SEO Chatter

The SEO chatter is just starting up and most of the chatter I am seeing is coming from the comments area here (I’ll weed out the noise for you by embedding the relevant comments here) and some from WebmasterWorld:

Had a week (again) of amazing conversions – today, just dropped like a rock…here we go.

Anyone else experiencing low Traffic today??

Awful today. After 2 reasonable days

Yes. This week has been horrendous since Monday. I’ve hit the lowest low since September.

Google traffic was better than usual on Sunday and Monday, normally traffic is almost dead from Saturday to Monday. Today, however, things are looking bad. Google traffic so far is significantly lower than usual on a Tuesday. This back and forth is really getting on my nerves.

On Sunday I also noticed uphill traffic, then today when I woke up it was -20% and now -7%. They just move a paa higher or lower and the traffic suffers

Same here…Sunday and Monday very strong traffic. Tuesday off a cliff again. USA traffic is -22% at 4:30pm. The question is, when traffic is high is it converting?

Yesterday was a miserable day for me, as I expected. -43% compared to Sunday and Monday. Sistrix shows a drop of 5.1% for my website in its visibility index today. A look on my direct competitors shows that they have been hit even harder. Other websites that I monitor have also fallen sharply.

Maybe whatever rolled out over the past weekend reverted in some way?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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