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When it comes to search engine optimization, the standard has basically always been that links reign supreme. Content has often been considered less important and has been given a lower priority. With RankBrain ...
Forget about the people reading your content. Instead of writing engaging content for your audience, just stuff a bunch of keywords into your copy and hire someone to buy backlinks to your site. This might sound ridiculous, but there was a time when this type of strategy would deliver you lots of search traffic.
According to Matt Cutts, Google has experimented in the past with algo changes that completely discounted backlink signals. Google factors in over 200 signals in how it ranks its search results and it tried some experiments where backlinks are completely discounted. Cutts said that the results produced low quality results. As a result, backlinks, as a ranking signal, are here to stay… for now.