In the past, one of the premier indicators of a website’s authority has been the presence of a large number of backlinks pointing towards that site. The rationale is simple. If you’re a good site, people will link to you, generally to share with their followers or to cite you as a valuable resource. Therefore, measuring links is an indirect way to measure the quality of a site.
In a perfect world, this would be perfectly fine and acceptable. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world. In the world we live in, webmasters ruin everything.
In this case, the entire concept of using links as a quality indicator has been corrupted. There’s no way to verify whether a link was added because a user genuinely likes the content on the other end, or whether the owner of that content paid for the link, or they paid for the post, or the link wasn’t posted by the owner of the originating site, etc. There are a dozen different “black hat” ways that the quality of a link is corrupted, and that makes links much less valuable all around.
Oh, links were still valuable for a long time. They’re still valuable today, albeit much less. The end result is just a declin…