Google likes to make a big deal out of the fact that it has been cracking down on people who abuse its system. The incentive for people to bend rules, take shortcuts, and otherwise engage in unethical link building and website building behavior is quite substantial. After all, you only need to rank number one on certain keywords to generate millions of dollars in revenue every single year. That’s how much money is at stake. Not surprisingly, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been ramping up its war against backlink spammers because their continued abuse of Google system calls the integrity and quality of Google’s search results into question.
Unfortunately, Google’s war against backlinks is misguided. You have to understand that backlinks are fundamental to how websites relate to each other. If you produce a high-quality piece of content, other websites would naturally link to it. This is precisely the logic Google followed in the past that enabled it to produce a search engine that actually worked consistently. Other previous search engines like Excite and HotBot didn’t use backlinks that much. All they focused on was the actual content of a website. Not surprisingly, such technology was easy to cheat and defeat.
Backlinks are more natural and rely on third party forces. This is what Google was banking on originally. Unfortunately, search engine optimization experts caught on and started manufacturing backlinks.
It seems that the battle against backlink spamming has reached a point where Google has started making strategic mistakes. A new low in this battle was reached when Google representative, John Mueller, publicly proclaimed that backlink building is a bad idea. This is a serious problem because links are the main factor that web publishers can control. It seems like an act of war on the online publisher community. After all, they spend a lot of time, effort, and resources creating quality content that would attract high-quality links. Google’s increasingly clear policy against backlinks unfairly punishes web publishers who follow the rules just to get at unethical marketers.
The biggest tragedy behind this recent Google fatwa against backlinks is that there is no alternative. Google has tried nonbacklink-based search algorithms in the past . The results were horrendous. Let’s face it, nonbacklink-based search algorithms are not ready for prime time. Either Google is just rattling its saber or telegraphing a fundamental change in its search ranking algorithm. Regardless of what Mueller’s pronouncement means, it doesn’t bode well for the search engine optimization community.