Does internal linking no longer help to rank website pages in SERPs?

Gessert
I recently sold a site on Flippa for $7500. The buyer came back to me to ask how they can double the revenue ( the site was making $300-$350 a month ) I told them to invest in links and more content. In my opinion building links to the existing article pages ( I didn't do much backlinks building but had strong on page SEO with proper interlinking using Steven Kang power pages method.
To my surprise the buyer claims links are not important and insists. Yesterday, I was doing cold outreach, got a reply from someone and while trying to nail this person, she claims I know nothing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as links are no longer important.
This got me confused. Is someone feeding this people rubbish intentionally? Two different people in two different niches, two different continents but same opinion. Where are they getting that idea from?
I am strongly convinced that links, strong on page, relevance are key ranking factors.
My question is, are there people who have been able to prove links are not important?

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72 👍🏽9 🤭86 127 💬🗨

Gossage
I'm curious as to why someone is asking you how to market their website AFTER they bought it. My response would be to give them a quote for my services.
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Jovanovic
I think it is pretty much logic that you cannot make any significant success/income in Web Business, unless you invest in links. How can clients know about you if no one claimed you were doing the job well (to say, linked to your content)? I agree, 100%, that poor on-page SEO won't get you anywhere, even with high-tier links. But to claim that links are not important in today's world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)… That's just hilarious 🤣
Boyd
Social media platforms started devaluing Likes and Followers because of all the paid manipulation and swapping. The lost most meaning/value to the platforms' algorithms.
I think the same thing is happening with Google's algorithms and links. They are losing their value in organic search because they are no longer organic.
I use strategically placed links, but not for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Jörg
It's all about the keyword you want to rank for!
You need backlinks for competitive keywords like casino, cbd oil or p0rn.
You maybe don't need them for weaker or long-tail keywords.
I ranked a new site #1 in the dating niche because the competitor's on-page, content, technical and off-page SEO was so bad.
Find niches with bad competitors and you just need a good on-page optimization.
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Draper » Jörg
I've had huge success doing exactly this. Often you can just get the basics right and it'll pay off…i rarely have to manually try to build links
Jörg
Please get my right. Jordan Pearce said it right: Use backlinks if you can. Don't just rely on your content.
It's always topical relevancy + authority (+ trustworthiness). You can create both with on-page and off-page SEO. Focus on weaker keywords in the beginning and stronger if you're website is stronger.
A weak keyword is not judged by its search volume but on the competitors who are ranking on page 1.

Traynor
What works and what doesn't work in SEO depends almost entirely on what the content you're competing against is doing.
You're not competing against Google. You're competing against other web pages and properties within a context which is both known and unknown.
It's really a nonsense to single out one particular strategy as ‘working' or ‘not working'.
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Steven Kang 👑 » Traynor
This is so correct
Noah Lopata 🎓 » Traynor
Yup
Aleš » Traynor
Perfect answer right here 👍

Micha
Links have always been overrated because too many people preferred using links to creating really good content (which is hard). Link building has always been easier than building truly good, useful content.
Just because you CAN spam the index with links doesn't mean that's required or the only way to do it.
And the problem that marketers created for themselves by investing so heavily in link spam is that they drove many queries into hyper-optimization, where because everyone was using links to outrank each other in those queries they had to stay on the treadmill and keep using the links just to stay competitive.
And eventually those strategies caught up with thousands of companies when Google introduced the Penguin algorithm. It's only because of Penguin 4.0 (which merely removes the links from the graph, rather than punish sites from using link spam) that people felt safe to come out of the woods again and start plowing up the landscape with more link spam.

Patrick » Micha
Thank you for the fascinating education in this comment! Do you believe with Penguin 4.0 it is little chance to get penalized for link spam?
Micha » Patrick
"Little chance"?
No – they say they still hand out millions of manual actions every year, and if I recall correctly, about 2/3 of those handed out in 2019 or 2020 were for link spam.
So, spam at your own peril. Some people get caught. Some people don't.
Patrick » Micha
Ok, thanks! FYI, I am not engaging in link spam.

Maher
People arguing whether links work or not and then there are companies that made millions selling links and 2 of them (which I know) even managed to get across INC 5000. You can rank without links? yes for sure, but in only those niches and only for those keywords which don't require links and competitors having very few to no links at all. And even if a competitor's profile shows very few links it doesn't mean that they are having only those links – It might mean that they are using hidden Private Blog Networks (PBN)s and all sorts of such tricks. Links and Content both go hand in hand, Links are required to outrank in competitive Search Engine Result Page (SERP), and quality content that satisfies the user's intent is required to remain at the top since Google can measure DWELL time and analyze user interaction across SERP.
Truslow
In relative importance, I suppose links may be less important. But it's an illusion created by math.
When SEO started there are basically two things… links and keyword matching. Get both and you win. And that makes links roughly 50% of the equation. Then we started to move into cms/dynamic content systems like WordPress and Joomla. That created a new SEO field – the technical side of things. So, links became roughly 33% of the equation – though one could easily argue that links still probably carried roughly 40% of the value – and 60% of the time investment.
Now… with hundreds and hundreds of factors and signals – links have a smaller portion of the pie. In theory – especially in non-competitive areas – all you really need are a small handful of decent quality links and you can rank so long as you're doing plenty of other things correctly.
Links are obviously still important – but the size of their piece of the pie compared to the labor involved in obtaining links is a tough payoff. Some people focus more on high labor links when some (not all, but some) of that budget for time could probably be better allocated to something else that would provide a much larger return on investment.
Jeff
Links are important, and anyone who says otherwise is delusional. This isn't even anything someone has to do a "study" on because Google will tell you directly that this is one of their ranking signals. Yes, people are feeding people rubbish; however, it isn't to be mean or anything; they just don't understand how things work. Where are they getting that idea… well, I haven't read this entire thread yet, but I would bet there's at least one person in here that will claim that it's accurate, and a dozen other posts in this forum that will say the same thing. Misinformation gets around the internet lightning-fast – SEO misinformation, doubly so. In this business, people can make a compelling argument with absolutely crap data, and that blog post will get shared a thousand times before someone checks their math. Don't sweat it.
Silvio
I've heard similar rumors. But take any competitive niche and look at what the top sites having going for them.
Sure, if you're trying to rank for "edible cilantro-flavored windmills" you might not need links.
But when you're trying to rank for something like "Orange County plastic surgeon", or "how to increase credit score", good luck ranking without links.
Kevin
As per usual, the answer is "it depends".
I've ranked a printing company's website in a competitive major city with next to no backlinks. Same for a general contractor (home renovations) and dentist.
If your website's structure, content, headings, etc., are strong, sometimes that's good enough.
As a general rule, I tend to build out a strong website first, see how it does in Google over a few months and then think about the types and amount of backlinks we'll need.
To say that they don't matter at all just isn't true. If an amateur wants to argue that, I'd say ignore them.

Nathan » Kevin
I like your post. I'm looking to learn more about website structure for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I've exhausted my resources. Do you have any you'd like to pass on?

Marco
So Google now teleports from their servers to all of the other servers and back instead of following http protocol? Links are foundational and not "just" important.
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These may satisfy you:
» How High Is SEO Success With Just Internal Linking?
» Internal Linking, Silo, Private Blog Networks (PBN) Best Practice

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