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Aidan
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No need for attacks but let’s all agree we’ve all noted different observations. Some of us have over many, many years, so we feel more convinced in our take on things.

Personally I have to agree with many of the older hands and say I have also seen some great successes without a single backlink I’m aware off – it was purely through great content. I’ve also seen great success for content that really didn’t deserve it (imo) that seemed to be driven by backlinks. Most or all SEO people will have seen that one.

My own take on it is that G is getting better at recognizing great content through its AI and many quality signals so is gradually placing less weight on backlinks.

My hunch is it would prefer to get away from backlink signals almost entirely or at least get to a point where they are taken as a ‘bonus’ signal rather than a core one for most services and products.

It defends the algorithm through Penguin etc but also realises the potential for gaming also gets larger. Clearly it is not perfect but getting better every month.

The hundreds (maybe thousands) of factors Google weighs up for ranking are up for debate but I’m more and more convinced they’re after comprehensive quality unique content. Nothing wrong with that.