There have been several studies showing that back links are still the most important factor for a top search engine ranking. Apparently, even back links from any website is beneficial, unless the website has been penalized by Google, the back link is advertising, or the back link was manipulated or spam. I have even seen a study showing that a footer link was helpful.
An interesting article at SEO consulting company MOZ, Can You Rank in Google Without Links? New Data Says Slim Chance, discussed MOZ’s study examining the top 50 Google search results for approximately 15,000 keywords. The article stated, “The correlation between higher rankings and the number of linking websites… …[is] actually one of the highest correlations the study found.”
Does it matter if back links are from .edu or .gov websites? No, I wrote about the fact that .edu or .gov back links won’t provide any more benefit than a link from a .com website.
Are back links really the most important factor? Back links should take a backseat to what I believe is the most important factor, content. Without good content, you can’t get back links without manipulation.
It is natural that a website with good content will result in other websites, blog articles and comments linking to an internal page with good content. This will result in a naturally and slowly increasing number of back links pointing to the website and it’s pages as new pages with good content continue to be published.
Additionally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google has an algorithm that looks at the relationship between the number of back links and the quality of content being linked to. If I was at Google, I would certainly build this into the system. It’s an easy way to determine if there are too many unnatural artificial back links going to a poor quality site. This would be a another important reason for creating good content.
Another aspect to consider is that the better your content is the more you will have back links from quality websites.
The answer is you need to continually get more back links but you need really good content to get more back links and better back links.