Okay, so we all have theories, right? Well I have a new one, based on the new decoder ring info Google put out saying it changed how it evaluates links. Google often says very little about what it does and gives very few clues other than to provide quality, engaging content.
Well, this one seemed to say they had now come up with a way to evaluate the link and it got me thinking. Exactly what are they saying? They also gave a historical context, so I started to look back at what we were teaching 2 years ago, let’s say about links and how they worked and some of the changes that have been made.
Previously, if I wrote an article on motorcycle mufflers, I would make my links on the bottom in the author’s box to relate to the article. I would use motorcycle parts and motorcycle mufflers. So I had an article about mufflers and links about mufflers pointing to pages about mufflers. All pretty standard, normal stuff, I would say.
But then it seemed that I could write my muffler article and make links to the mufflers, gloves and helmets and it was no longer this nice little neat ball. After all, a website might sell helmets, gloves and mufflers, but I was not sure I saw the value in adding anchor text links for what were seemingly different products, even though they lived on the same website.
Further analyzing their statements, it seems to me that they also were saying that they cleaned this up to help make everything less bloated, and this seems to fit. Links that that are thematically similar to the page they appear on, as well as to the page they are linking would reduce the number of links a website receives.
In the end, I’m sure Google probably hates the link concept because people have tried to exploit it. I’ve seen repeatedly the idea that links are going away. But, are they going away, or are they changing? I think this is just one of the many changes we will see as they move towards a more predominant use of social signals.