Sometimes we hear that link development is already dead and you no longer need to get link to rank well. Since the beginning, we see constant reliance on links when Google is grading websites for ranking positions. The basic premise is that your website is more influential if it attracts more citations and links from other websites. Of course, SEO professionals and digital marketers should know how backlinks can affect ranking, but they should be aware that this will become a digital war. As a result, people may start doing things that are not recommended by Google, such as buying and swapping links with little thought to the quality. SEO professionals need to know about the benefits and drawbacks of getting a backlink for their website. A link with poor quality will be detrimental for the website. Things can be quite bad if quality control is non-existent.

When Penguin update was rolled out in early 2012, it was intended to eradicate impacts of lower quality and gamed backlinks. Almost overnight, penalties have caused spam and paid links become largely useless. It’s estimated that about 3 percent of search result were affected, while some popular websites had their PageRank modified. By 2016, Google rolled out Penguin multiple times and Penguin 4.0 was made as the component of the core Google algorithm. Today, Penguin is more granular and it adjusts rankings based on various spam signals. Earlier Penguin releases affected the whole website and it may take months for it to fully recover. Today, only spammy links are devalued with limited detrimental impacts on webpages or websites. In many cases, there’s no net impact on the ranking of the website, unless the link profile of the website is consisted mostly of spammy links.

By spotting some patterns, Google is getting quite good in dealing with gaming links. It’s reported that Google with seek to reduce ranking manipulations by deriving trust score more accurately for some sites. We may assume that one day, this could become part of the core algorithm. Google will prioritize citations from seed sites, so no low-quality links can affect search rankings positively. It means that publications can become an important part of future SEO campaign. So, there should be a change in mindset when you are doing a SEO campaign. Direct citations from various reputable websites can bring your website higher in search rankings. It means that higher quality of content is necessary and you will get more genuine inbound backlinks. Measurable impacts on search visibility can be determined more easily. In the post-Penguin era, SEO professionals should be aware that links are not equal.

There’s a looming threat of algorithmic and manual penalty for websites that insist on adding low-quality links. Unfortunately, marketing budgets can be quite finite. SEO professionals are pressured to provide the most effective impacts with the limited amount of money. Clients are demanding quicker results, when in reality, SEO is a long term process and there’s no immediate result. Links and content are interlinked intrinsically.