From the start the links present in any page has been the base of its ranking in the Google, but is there anything other than link that could change the ranking order?
Columnist Jayson Demers explains-
A good search engine optimized result could only be obtained by devoting little time in building and honing the links present in a page.
There are two main factors which decide the rank of a site. Out of those two one is the quality and the quantity of the links that directs towards a page or a domain.
Most of the people know that in past years, Google has gone through major changes like change in its SERP layout, facility to search with the help of voice and has also revised the process of ranking. Although the evaluation point of link through quality is change, but still links are the main factor which decides the rank of any site on Google.
Why Google depend so much for its ranking on links and for how long will the links be important?
Concept of page rank
To learn the concept behind the page ranking, we have to understand the first case by which page ranks are assigned. It is through the main algorithm of Google which is named after the co-founder Larry. This checks the authority of a site by the quality and availability of links that are pointing toward a site.
For example, there are 10 sites named from A to J that can point towards each other. In it every link points towards site A while only some of them only points toward site B. So in this case the site A is given higher rank to any query and the site B will be runner up.
But if we add two more site to above model i.e. site K and L. Site L in it is linked from the sites C, D and E who don’t have any authority link while site K is just linked by site A having lot of authority. Though the site K has only few links pointing towards it but the authority of the link matters and hence site K will have same position as of site A or B.
The big flaw
The method of page rank was designed as the natural way to rank the sites. It was a way to check the authority of a site as what third party think about the various sites present. The one which in this close system is most authentic and trustworthy will be on the top as time passes.
The big flaw thus explains that the system is not closed any more. As the webmasters came to know how page rank work, they have manufactured such schemes which manipulates the whole system and build the authority of their own site. They did all this by building the links wheel, developed the software that automatically directs the links in large numbers towards the site in just one click. In this way they over rule the Google work of building rank and makes balance and checks for themselves.
Increasing phases of sophistication
In recent years the Google has find out the sites which are involved in process of rank manipulation, they are then punished for doing the offence by blacklisting and penalizing them. From then Google has turned toward more strict method for judging the authentication of site then link based method used firstly.
Google penguin was one such method developed which overhaul the standard of quality for links. Google with its advance technique can now judge which link is made natural and which one is manipulative. While in doing all this the basic idea behind the page ranking remains unchanged.
Other indications of authority
Links are not only the factor which is responsible in determining the authority of a page or a domain. Google also consider the quality of content present on site. It is able to do all this with the help of the sophisticated Panda update. It rewards the site as high or low quality after doing research and checking its value.
How a site function is also a criteria which determines the ranking. Site friendliness on mobile, different devices and on different browsers is also taken into consideration. With these factors together, links are still a big thing which determines the authority.
Modern link building and the state of the web
Link building today should take into account that they should produce natural link and should also focus on the values of user who are visiting these links. Link building exists in two forms: manual link building and the link attraction.
In the process of link attraction high quality content is created and is promoted so that the users find it valuable and link to it in natural way. In case of manual link building, the links are placed on the sources having high authority. Though the marketers manipulate the ranking of sites in order to improve their ranking, they still maintain checks so that they remain in line with the guidelines given in Google’s webmaster.
The link attraction technique would not be able attract any link until the content is good of those links, and also manual link building will also not get any links until and unless the content is good to pass from the editorial review of third party.
The long lasting and ongoing process which is recommended for manual link building is guest blogging. In it the relationship between the marketers and the external publication’s editor work. The marketers pitch to them stories and then thereafter submit those stories hoping it to publish. If published, these stories impart lot of benefits to the marketer and he also gets a link.
Could something (such as social signals) replace links?
The foundation of Google evaluation depends on Link significance and Page rank to decide the authority of most of the sites present on Google. So the question is that is there is any other evaluation metrics which could replace them?
Hypothetically the factors which could affect are user centric factors like engagement rates or traffic numbers. But the user can not be predictive and thus it could not indicate the true authority. This removes the authority which is already present in the evaluation of the link like the authority of different users is different.
The peripheral factors which include quality of content and performance of the site could have their impact to overcome the link factor which is primary. But main challenge lie in making a algorithm which could determine that whether the quality of content is high or not and should not take link factor into calculation.