Search Engine Journal has reviewed a recent Webmaster Hangout hosted by Google. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, explained how the role of links for rankings was changing and what deserves special attention.
Mueller broke the myth regarding nofollow links that were thought to break connections in Link Graph, “ruining” the web. The position in Link Graph (a map that represents how websites are connected via links) is indeed a ranking factor, but Mueller recommends to work on the quality of your site at first.
The role of the link mass for rankings can depend on the query and intent: it’s impossible to estimate when exactly links impact rankings, and when it’s due to other factors. If a webmaster wants to improve the site’s rankings, they have to analyze search queries that users enter to visit their website.
When forming the link profile, a webmaster needs to track both internal and external links. These parts are essential, and Google analyzes them both. At the same time, the decision to add or not to add links is up to the webmaster.