So Google is testing out alternatives to using links in their algorithm?
That raises a interesting question? How much should I invest in linking initiatives if Google is looking at ways to exclude links from their algorithm?
For me, it’s about building a reputation that happens to get you links. A real reputation, an ‘earned’ reputation is what Google is looking for. The problem with links, of course, is the ‘faux’ reputation created by spam. For Google, reputations (as built by links) has been their differentiator that enabled them to be the dominant player in search.
I don’t see reputation as the mechanism for measuring the value of a domain or piece of content as changing. Only the way they calculate the reputation may change.
Therefore, link initiatives that are based on an earned reputation will provide other signals that will still make themselves visible to Google, even if they happen to make a major algorithm switch. Whether it is in-content mentions or social sharing, PR campaigns or other marketing campaigns which results in building your reputation, if you are building an ‘earned’ reputation you will continue to reap the benefits. So, I certainly think it is a good idea to continue pushing those link initiatives and continue to build that reputation!
BTW – I originally posted this on LinkedIn and there is a bit of discussion over there if you’d like to comment.