Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, had discussed his opinion about links versus social signals.
Last month, topics like the possibility of social signals already replacing links as a primary SEO signal affecting Google’s rankings came up during the keynote conversation with Google’s Matt Cutts at SMX Advanced conference by Danny Sullivan in Seattle.
Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land’s Editor-In-Chief, interviewed Cutts, asking a series of link-related questions that led the discussion through SEO topics like no-followed links, affiliate links, paid links as well as links versus social signals among others.
For a few years now, there are some webmasters that have made suggestions that links are being replaced by social signals as a quality signal for Google’s ranking algorithm.
One of those debates in the SEO world that is heating up right now (more so in the wake of the Panda and Penguin updates) is links versus social signals.
But, according to Cutts, he explained that it’s much too soon to say that links are dead.
Sullivan asked, “Do links still work, or are social signals gonna replace them?”
Cutts admits they’re “not necessarily the best quality signal right now.”
Links do matter but not site-wide links.
“We’ve done a good job of ignoring boilerplate, site wide links. In the last few months, we’ve been trying to make the point that not only is link buying like that not doing any good, we’re turning the dial up to let people know that certain link spam techniques are a waste of money.”
What Matt Cutts seems to say is most of the time when you buy a link, it tends to end up in a footer or sidebar and that this has little to no worth compared to editorial links, which is said to generally appear on a single page in the main body of the content.
Matt Cutts did say links are still going to be a more powerful signal for search rankings than social signals for the foreseeable future. However, Cutts also said that in ten years that may change but right now, links are indeed more important.