There’s a very interesting discussion about the future importance of links on the Marketing Profs site, which reminds us that it’s not the link which matters, but the signal which it gives. The Future of Link-Building: Linkless Mentions for SEO says: “Link-building done right is still the best way to reach your audience, share your content, and secure those coveted top rankings. However, links themselves don’t hold inherent value to search engines: Links are just a signal search engines use to understand their users better. If search engines discover a better, more accurate way to gauge user trust, then links could quickly become obsolete.”
The best way forward, the article suggests, is to employ the key foundation of link-building: creating great content which people will want to link to. That way, if conventional links start to be overtaken in importance by social media mentions, for example, you’ll still have the content which will get the attention. And as we’ve pointed out many times, if that content also answers the questions people are asking, it can get you a presence in the search results like nothing else.