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18 Online Review Statistics Every Marketer Should Know

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18 Online Review Statistics Every Marketer Should Know

Online reviews are an unavoidable part of doing business in today’s digital age.

Every marketer worth their salt knows that online reputation is everything.

Whether you own or manage a small mom-and-pop restaurant, a computer software company, or a chain of coffee shops, your customers are likely to look for you online.

That means one of the first things they’ll do is look for online reviews about your business.

Of course, positive reviews help you to create a trusted brand, which people are more likely to purchase from. However, how you respond to negative reviews also says much about your business.

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Why Online Reviews Are So Powerful

Yelp, Google Business Profile, TripAdvisor, and similar are a boon for consumers, giving them a platform to learn about businesses before patronizing them.

For business owners? Not so much.

It seems that no matter how hard you try, you’re bound to get that one bad review that could potentially overshadow all your glowing reviews.

Online reviews, however, are an unavoidable part of doing business online.

For millennials, reviews are empowering, helping them make an informed and thought-out purchase decision (useful when deciding if a restaurant’s $15 avocado toast is worth it).

If you still aren’t completely on board, here are online review statistics that may change your mind.

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1. Positive & Negative Reviews Influence Consumers

According to a 2021 report by PowerReviews, over 99.9% of customers read reviews when they shop online.

Furthermore, 96% of customers look for negative reviews specifically. This figure was 85% back in 2018.

When people look for bad reviews, they’re interested in knowing some of the company’s weaknesses. Where could they improve? If the downfalls are minor, it makes the researcher feel assured.

A near-perfect rating is often viewed as less credible and leads to consumer skepticism if reviews are too positive.

2. Consumers Trust Reviews Like Recommendations From Loved Ones

BrightLocal’s local consumer survey shows that 49% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family members.

Screenshot from BrightLocal, January 2023

When you consider just how much we trust the people we love, it’s compelling to think that every 1 in 2 people trust online reviews as much.

However, the research reveals that some occasions cause consumers to suspect a review’s validity. So, you do need to be mindful of this.

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Situations that can raise suspicion that a review may be fake include:

  • The review is overboard in its praise (45%)
  • The review is one of many reviews with similar content (40%)
  • The reviewer uses a common pseudonym or is anonymous (38%)
  • The review is overboard in negativity (36%)
  • The review is one of only a few positive amongst many negative reviews (32%)
  • The review contains hardly any text and is just a star rating (31%)

3. The More Reviews, The Better Reputation

The More Reviews, the BetterScreenshot from BrightLocal, January 2023

BrightLocal’s research also found that 60% of consumers feel that the number of reviews a business has is critical when reviewing and deciding whether to use its services.

Although this has dropped since 2020, it’s still a high figure, especially compared to 2019, 2018, and 2017.

4. Most Consumers Don’t Trust Advertising

While online reviews are seeing a rise in consumer trust, the same can’t be said for traditional advertising.

According to Performance Marketing World, 84% of millennials don’t trust conventional advertising.

If anything, this finding is a sign of the times. People are tired of ads being pushed on their faces, especially ads that belie the truth of the quality of the products and services they get from brands.

5. Shoppers Research Product Reviews On Their Phones – Outside Of Your Store

OuterBox recently revealed that every 8 in 10 shoppers use their smartphones to look up product reviews while they are in-store.

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Before buying an item, shoppers will quickly search to see what other people have had to say about the product in question.

Some will compare prices, determining whether they can find the item elsewhere cheaper.

This statistic shows how the online and offline worlds are becoming increasingly integrated. If you don’t have a good online review presence, it can have a negative impact on the number of sales you make in-store.

6. Reviews Shared On Twitter Increase Social Commerce

Yotpo has revealed that reviews on social media platforms increase social commerce, especially on Twitter. You can see this displayed in the chart below:

Reviews Shared on Twitter Increase Social Commerce by More Than 6%Screenshot from Yotpo.com, January 2023

When we think of social media, we associate it with building brand awareness. However, it’s also effective for driving sales.

Shopify recently published a survey that revealed the average conversion rate for the social media websites represented in the graph above:

  • The average conversion rate for LinkedIn is 0.47%
  • The average conversion rate for Twitter is 0.77%
  • The average conversion rate for Facebook is 1.85%

Yotpo Data found that when reviews are shared on social platforms, the conversion rate is 5.3 times higher for LinkedIn, 8.4 times higher for Twitter, and 40 times higher for Facebook.

All these statistics show us that reviews are an incredibly powerful form of social proof that results in higher conversion levels across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Furthermore, a lot of the eCommerce world is underestimating Twitter’s force.

7. Reviews Are Just As Important Among Jobseekers

If you thought consumers were the only ones concerned about reviews, think again.

Research published by Glassdoor indicates that 86% of employees and job seekers research reviews on a business and ratings to determine whether they should apply for a job.

Google Reviews on GlassdoorScreenshot from Glassdoor.com, January 2023

As competition for talent in certain industries gets tougher, companies will have no choice but to be more conscious about their employer brand if they wish to attract top talent.

8. 3.3 Stars Is The Minimum Rating Customers Accept

When deciding whether to engage with a business, it has been indicated that 3.3 stars out of 5 are the lowest rating customers are likely to consider.

If you have a lower rating than this, your business may be overlooked and lose valuable consumers to the competition.

It probably does not come as a shock to discover that only 13% of consumers will contemplate using a company with a rating of 2 stars or less.

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9. Sustainability Is A Recurring Theme In Travel Reviews

The Expedia.com Travel Recovery Trend Report revealed that the environment and sustainability are two chief themes for online guest reviews.

Some of the terms most typically found in reviews include the following:

  • Renewable energy
  • LED light bulbs
  • Electric car charging
  • Single-use plastics
  • Recycling

Expedia believes that millennial and Gen-Z travelers are more likely to consider environmentally friendly travel options.

10. 18 – 34 Year Olds Trust Online Reviews as Much as Personal Recommendations

Research shows that 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust reviews online just as much as personal recommendations.

Let’s think about this for a second: we’re now trusting online comments just as much as we trust feedback from the people we know and love.

This shows how much high regard millennials and Gen Z give to online reviews.

11. Tiny Subject Line Changes Can Get More Reviews

When soliciting reviews, most businesses send an email post-purchase.

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Yotpo studied the subject lines of 3.5 million of these post-purchase review request emails to discover what works and what doesn’t when asking customers for reviews.

While this is much more than a single statistic, here is a synopsis of the top subject line tweaks to get more reviews:

  • An emotional appeal doesn’t greatly impact the review response rates.
  • Include your store name to increase reviews.
  • Incentives inspire more reviews in every industry.
  • Ask a question in the subject line.
  • Exclamation points boost reviews for food and tobacco businesses!
  • Avoid using a totally uppercase word in your subject lines.

12. Reputation Management Software Pays For Itself

Podium released a very interesting report on online reviews, stating that 94% of local companies who utilize a reputation management tool make up for the cost with the ROI.

How your company appears online massively dictates what shows up in terms of your bottom line.

Because of this, companies are investing more in their reputations than ever before.

One way they do this is by investing in reputation management software. This gives them the ability to have clarity regarding how their business is reviewed online.

13. Customers Believe A Product Should Have 100+ Reviews

Power Reviews recently posted interesting statistics about the number of reviews shoppers want.

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In a perfect world, 43% of consumers have indicated that they want to see more than 100 reviews for an item.

Take a look at the table below to see consumer expectations regarding review volume:

43% of Customers Believe a Product Should Have 100+ ReviewsScreenshot from PowerReviews.com, January 2023

Consumers indicate that a notably high volume of reviews can have a big, positive impact on their purchase likelihood.

Out of those surveyed, 64% indicated that they would be more likely to purchase an item if it had over 1,000 reviews than if it only had 100 reviews.

Furthermore, 54% are more likely to purchase an item if it has 10,000+ reviews compared to 1,000 reviews. So, more is always better when it comes to quantity.

14. Few Travelers Post Unsolicited Online Hotel Reviews

BrightLocal has also uncovered that 78% of travelers never post unsolicited online hotel reviews. This means you cannot simply rely on customers to post hotel reviews of their own free will. They need to be encouraged to do so.

Customers say that the main ways they have been asked to leave a review are as follows:

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  • Via email (41%)
  • During the sale/in-person (35%)
  • When receiving an invoice or receipt (35%)
  • SMS text (27%)

You need to be mindful of how you approach customers when asking to leave a review. The last thing you want to do is come across as pushy. At the same time, you want to make customers feel compelled to post a comment.

Offering an incentive, such as a special discount or entry into a competition, is a good approach.

15. Consumers Are Becoming Increasingly Suspicious Of Facebook Reviews

While online consumers rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions, they’re also suspicious of fake reviews. In fact, 93% of Facebook account holders are suspicious of fake reviews on this social media platform.

Consumers Are Becoming Increasingly Suspicious Of Facebook ReviewsScreenshot from Brightlocal, January 2023

As you can see from the table, only 7% of users don’t feel at all suspicious about Facebook reviews.

Users also have low trust in Google, Yelp, and Amazon reviews.

16. Most Consumers Use Rating Filters

Did you know that 7 in 10 consumers utilize rating filters when looking for companies?

Out of all the different rating options, the most popular is to narrow down a search based on the rating it is, for example, to only show hotels with ratings of four stars or above.

This helps customers only view products, locations, and services that fall within their standards. No one wants to waste their time on things that don’t fit!

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17. Customers Expect You To Respond To Negative Reviews Within 7 Days

When customers post negative reviews about a business, they expect a response. Not only this, but they don’t want to wait around for it.

Review Trackers have stated that 53% of customers expect companies to respond to negative feedback within one week.

One in three consumers has a shorter timeframe than this; three days or less.

Therefore, you really need to ensure you’re keeping up with the reviews you receive and responding appropriately.

18. Your Response To A Review Can Change How Customers View Your Business

Podium’s 2021 State of Reviews publication revealed that 56% of consumers had changed their perspective on a business based on how they responded to a review.

We know that it can make you feel sick to your stomach when you receive a bad review from a customer. However, this statistic shows that there is the potential to turn this into a positive.

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If you respond empathetically and try to understand the customer, they will feel like you really care about them and the service they receive. You can turn an unsatisfied customer into a loyal one.

And, even if the consumer who has complained does not reply, the fact you’ve tried to rectify their grievance will show your business in a positive light when others read the review.

The Bottom Line On The Impact of Online Reviews

These statistics reveal one unavoidable truth: online reviews are important and are here to stay.

Simply put, online reviews are directly linked to consumer trust and creating social proof.

Rather than fear them, you should look at them as a way to get a direct line to your customers.

If you are yet to begin your efforts to manage your online reputation, now’s as good a time as any to get started by doing the following:

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  • Educate your customers on the importance of leaving reviews, but make sure to communicate that these reviews will help you improve your business, which can only be a good thing for them.
  • Take charge of your brand on all review platforms. Respond to feedback and make sure complaints are managed in a timely and orderly fashion.
  • Claim your Google Business Profile to ensure that any information about your business on Google is accurate and updated.
  • Ask and encourage your customers to leave a review of your product or service.

More resources:

Featured Image: ParinPix/Shutterstock



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Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

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Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

Understanding the impact of your content at every touchpoint of the customer journey is essential – but that’s easier said than done. From attracting potential leads to nurturing them into loyal customers, there are many touchpoints to look into.

So how do you identify and take advantage of these opportunities for growth?

Watch this on-demand webinar and learn a comprehensive approach for measuring the value of your content initiatives, so you can optimize resource allocation for maximum impact.

You’ll learn:

  • Fresh methods for measuring your content’s impact.
  • Fascinating insights using first-touch attribution, and how it differs from the usual last-touch perspective.
  • Ways to persuade decision-makers to invest in more content by showcasing its value convincingly.

With Bill Franklin and Oliver Tani of DAC Group, we unravel the nuances of attribution modeling, emphasizing the significance of layering first-touch and last-touch attribution within your measurement strategy. 

Check out these insights to help you craft compelling content tailored to each stage, using an approach rooted in first-hand experience to ensure your content resonates.

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Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or new to content measurement, this webinar promises valuable insights and actionable tactics to elevate your SEO game and optimize your content initiatives for success. 

View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are the keywords your rivals rank for in Google’s search results. They may rank organically or pay for Google Ads to rank in the paid results.

Knowing your competitors’ keywords is the easiest form of keyword research. If your competitors rank for or target particular keywords, it might be worth it for you to target them, too.

There is no way to see your competitors’ keywords without a tool like Ahrefs, which has a database of keywords and the sites that rank for them. As far as we know, Ahrefs has the biggest database of these keywords.

How to find all the keywords your competitor ranks for

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report

The report is sorted by traffic to show you the keywords sending your competitor the most visits. For example, Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword “mailchimp.”

Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.

Since you’re unlikely to rank for your competitor’s brand, you might want to exclude branded keywords from the report. You can do this by adding a Keyword > Doesn’t contain filter. In this example, we’ll filter out keywords containing “mailchimp” or any potential misspellings:

Filtering out branded keywords in Organic keywords reportFiltering out branded keywords in Organic keywords report

If you’re a new brand competing with one that’s established, you might also want to look for popular low-difficulty keywords. You can do this by setting the Volume filter to a minimum of 500 and the KD filter to a maximum of 10.

Finding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywordsFinding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywords

How to find keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter your competitor’s domain in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis reportCompetitive analysis report

Hit “Show keyword opportunities,” and you’ll see all the keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap reportContent gap report

You can also add a Volume and KD filter to find popular, low-difficulty keywords in this report.

Volume and KD filter in Content gapVolume and KD filter in Content gap

How to find keywords multiple competitors rank for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter the domains of multiple competitors in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis report with multiple competitorsCompetitive analysis report with multiple competitors

You’ll see all the keywords that at least one of these competitors ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap report with multiple competitorsContent gap report with multiple competitors

You can also narrow the list down to keywords that all competitors rank for. Click on the Competitors’ positions filter and choose All 3 competitors:

Selecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank forSelecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank for
  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Paid keywords report
Paid keywords reportPaid keywords report

This report shows you the keywords your competitors are targeting via Google Ads.

Since your competitor is paying for traffic from these keywords, it may indicate that they’re profitable for them—and could be for you, too.

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You know what keywords your competitors are ranking for or bidding on. But what do you do with them? There are basically three options.

1. Create pages to target these keywords

You can only rank for keywords if you have content about them. So, the most straightforward thing you can do for competitors’ keywords you want to rank for is to create pages to target them.

However, before you do this, it’s worth clustering your competitor’s keywords by Parent Topic. This will group keywords that mean the same or similar things so you can target them all with one page.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Export your competitor’s keywords, either from the Organic Keywords or Content Gap report
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
Clustering keywords by Parent TopicClustering keywords by Parent Topic

For example, MailChimp ranks for keywords like “what is digital marketing” and “digital marketing definition.” These and many others get clustered under the Parent Topic of “digital marketing” because people searching for them are all looking for the same thing: a definition of digital marketing. You only need to create one page to potentially rank for all these keywords.

Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"

2. Optimize existing content by filling subtopics

You don’t always need to create new content to rank for competitors’ keywords. Sometimes, you can optimize the content you already have to rank for them.

How do you know which keywords you can do this for? Try this:

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  1. Export your competitor’s keywords
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
  4. Look for Parent Topics you already have content about

For example, if we analyze our competitor, we can see that seven keywords they rank for fall under the Parent Topic of “press release template.”

Our competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" clusterOur competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" cluster

If we search our site, we see that we already have a page about this topic.

Site search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templatesSite search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templates

If we click the caret and check the keywords in the cluster, we see keywords like “press release example” and “press release format.”

Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"

To rank for the keywords in the cluster, we can probably optimize the page we already have by adding sections about the subtopics of “press release examples” and “press release format.”

3. Target these keywords with Google Ads

Paid keywords are the simplest—look through the report and see if there are any relevant keywords you might want to target, too.

For example, Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter.”

Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

If you’re ConvertKit, you may also want to target this keyword since it’s relevant.

If you decide to target the same keyword via Google Ads, you can hover over the magnifying glass to see the ads your competitor is using.

Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

You can also see the landing page your competitor directs ad traffic to under the URL column.

The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”

Learn more

Check out more tutorials on how to do competitor keyword analysis:

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Google Confirms Links Are Not That Important

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Google confirms that links are not that important anymore

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed at a recent search marketing conference that Google needs very few links, adding to the growing body of evidence that publishers need to focus on other factors. Gary tweeted confirmation that he indeed say those words.

Background Of Links For Ranking

Links were discovered in the late 1990’s to be a good signal for search engines to use for validating how authoritative a website is and then Google discovered soon after that anchor text could be used to provide semantic signals about what a webpage was about.

One of the most important research papers was Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment by Jon M. Kleinberg, published around 1998 (link to research paper at the end of the article). The main discovery of this research paper is that there is too many web pages and there was no objective way to filter search results for quality in order to rank web pages for a subjective idea of relevance.

The author of the research paper discovered that links could be used as an objective filter for authoritativeness.

Kleinberg wrote:

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“To provide effective search methods under these conditions, one needs a way to filter, from among a huge collection of relevant pages, a small set of the most “authoritative” or ‘definitive’ ones.”

This is the most influential research paper on links because it kick-started more research on ways to use links beyond as an authority metric but as a subjective metric for relevance.

Objective is something factual. Subjective is something that’s closer to an opinion. The founders of Google discovered how to use the subjective opinions of the Internet as a relevance metric for what to rank in the search results.

What Larry Page and Sergey Brin discovered and shared in their research paper (The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – link at end of this article) was that it was possible to harness the power of anchor text to determine the subjective opinion of relevance from actual humans. It was essentially crowdsourcing the opinions of millions of website expressed through the link structure between each webpage.

What Did Gary Illyes Say About Links In 2024?

At a recent search conference in Bulgaria, Google’s Gary Illyes made a comment about how Google doesn’t really need that many links and how Google has made links less important.

Patrick Stox tweeted about what he heard at the search conference:

” ‘We need very few links to rank pages… Over the years we’ve made links less important.’ @methode #serpconf2024″

Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted a confirmation of that statement:

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“I shouldn’t have said that… I definitely shouldn’t have said that”

Why Links Matter Less

The initial state of anchor text when Google first used links for ranking purposes was absolutely non-spammy, which is why it was so useful. Hyperlinks were primarily used as a way to send traffic from one website to another website.

But by 2004 or 2005 Google was using statistical analysis to detect manipulated links, then around 2004 “powered-by” links in website footers stopped passing anchor text value, and by 2006 links close to the words “advertising” stopped passing link value, links from directories stopped passing ranking value and by 2012 Google deployed a massive link algorithm called Penguin that destroyed the rankings of likely millions of websites, many of which were using guest posting.

The link signal eventually became so bad that Google decided in 2019 to selectively use nofollow links for ranking purposes. Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that the change to nofollow was made because of the link signal.

Google Explicitly Confirms That Links Matter Less

In 2023 Google’s Gary Illyes shared at a PubCon Austin that links were not even in the top 3 of ranking factors. Then in March 2024, coinciding with the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update, Google updated their spam policies documentation to downplay the importance of links for ranking purposes.

Google March 2024 Core Update: 4 Changes To Link Signal

The documentation previously said:

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“Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

The update to the documentation that mentioned links was updated to remove the word important.

Links are not just listed as just another factor:

“Google uses links as a factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

At the beginning of April Google’s John Mueller advised that there are more useful SEO activities to engage on than links.

Mueller explained:

“There are more important things for websites nowadays, and over-focusing on links will often result in you wasting your time doing things that don’t make your website better overall”

Finally, Gary Illyes explicitly said that Google needs very few links to rank webpages and confirmed it.

Why Google Doesn’t Need Links

The reason why Google doesn’t need many links is likely because of the extent of AI and natural language undertanding that Google uses in their algorithms. Google must be highly confident in its algorithm to be able to explicitly say that they don’t need it.

Way back when Google implemented the nofollow into the algorithm there were many link builders who sold comment spam links who continued to lie that comment spam still worked. As someone who started link building at the very beginning of modern SEO (I was the moderator of the link building forum at the #1 SEO forum of that time), I can say with confidence that links have stopped playing much of a role in rankings beginning several years ago, which is why I stopped about five or six years ago.

Read the research papers

Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment – Jon M. Kleinberg (PDF)

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Featured Image by Shutterstock/RYO Alexandre

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