Steve Wyer Explains New Study on Links and Pagerank

The Internet has made access to information easier than ever, says Steve Wyer, CEO at Third Coast Interactive. But, have you ever really considered how Google and other search engines gather and rate the results you see when researching a specific keyword? As Steve Wyer explains, it is a complex system with over 200 variables. In today’s post, Steve Wyer focuses on two key components–links and content.

Links as powerful as ever

According to Steve Wyer, page linking has tended to fall out of grace with SEO professionals over the past few years. This, as Google updates and redesigns its page ranking algorithms. With the 2015 confirmation that Google’s new RankBrain machine learning AI had more or less taken over search results, many assume links no longer hold a place of value with the search engines. Not true, asserts Steve Wyer.

Links, at least according to a study by the Stone Temple Consulting Agency, remain a huge influencing factor and one that content marketers must not neglect. However, as Steve Wyer points out, not all links are created equal. (More on that later.)

Content still king, but only when crowned with relevant links

Quality content remains one of the most important factors in how a page is judged by search engines, says Steve Wyer. Quality content remains vital to a website’s success in search results. Conversely, poorly written and inconsistent articles and blog posts typically sink to page two and beyond. That being said, Steve Wyer notes that even the best content carries only so much weight. In order to achieve first page results, content must be carefully crafted to link to other relevant pages. According to Steve Wyer, these links must be interesting enough to follow; the STC study did not take into account non-follow links. Links may be either within the same site or to outside source material, says Steve Wyer.

Links the decisive factor

Steve Wyer reports that STC validated its research with numerous case studies, each with consistent results. Using a list of ten equally relevant keywords, with original site ranks between 3 and 20, STC added a handful (3 to 25) of quality links to its sites. No content was changed and nothing else was altered. After a short period of time, each page climbed to no lower than the third result on SERP one. Steve Wyer believes this is quite convincing, but adds that links must be high-quality. High-volume, low-quality link building may actually damage a website’s authoritativeness. Steve Wyer notes that the study confirms that two equally well-authored sites will have different results, based on inbound and outbound links. A word of caution–poor quality links, such as those offered by mass market link sellers, are what Steve Wyer describes as a detriment and he says they have no place on a reputable website.


Steve Wyer explains that this study leaves two main areas of focus for webmasters and business owners: content and proactive marketing. And, like all great couples, these two should be considered incomplete without the other. Good content is what people are searching for, and when they find it, says Steve Wyer, they will likely return, adding to the strength of the site. Another benefit of good content is that it gives others a reason to write about it and link back to the site.

A final thought offered by Steve Wyer is this: competition is fierce on the Internet. Those who find themselves offering similar content and link quality as their rivals are compelled to do both better. The Internet is limitless, and there is always room for more of what makes a business stand out–both to the end user and for the algorithms used to push results to the top, concludes Steve Wyer.


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