Backlinks: Google changes the way it evaluates links.
On Feb 27th on Inside Search, its official search blog, Google announced: “Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable”.
This snippet was directly beneath, and no doubt related to this one: “Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web”.
The words ‘We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years’ are potentially extremely significant to anyone engaged in the often lengthy, frequently tedious, mostly frustrating but always mega-important (as I always tell my clients) task of building a portfolio of quality backlinks into key web pages.
Quite what Google’s changes mean in terms of how your web pages will rank in natural search results remains to be seen, since the only people privvy to the details are secreted deep inside Google.
So, I recommend you keep a close eye on your rankings for your primary (i.e. most important keywords). If you see an immediate drop in some rankings don’t panic, this may well be temporary. However, if your most important rankings do drop and don’t recover, then a detailed look at your backlink numbers and quality will be in order.
By the way, if you’re fairly unfamiliar with this backlink business and how it affects search rankings then as a rule of thumb you should be spending 20% of your SEO effort on on-site SEO, e.g keywords on pages, and the remaining 80% on off-site SEO, e.g. building a portfolio of quality backlinks from relevant, authoritative web pages and other sources out there on the Web. That’s how important it is these days.
Wishing you every success with your link building efforts.