Backlinks have been the largest ranking factor for websites since Google was created. Because backlinks have been such an important ranking factor, internet marketing agencies and blackhat spammers are constantly trying to game the system.
To game the system these companies would use tactics like buying links, and spamming comment forms. This has lead to many people asking “what happens if stop trying to block spammers, and just ignore backlinks altogether?”. That is the topic that Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Web Spam discussed today.
“We don’t have a version like that that is exposed to the public, but we have run experiments like that internally, and the quality looks much, much worse,” Matt said. “It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really really big win in terms of quality for search results.”
What this tells us is that links from other websites will ALWAYS be one of, if not the most important factor to ranking a website highly. Because of this a fair amount of your internet marketing budget should still focus on building links from high-quality, relevant websites.