Q&A with Rand Fishkin | How Will Links Influence SEO in the Future

Q&A with Rand Fishkin | How Will Links Influence SEO in the Future

Rand Fishkin from Moz had a webinar recently called "How Will Links Influence SEO in the Future?" When I first heard about the webinar, I really interested in the topic and I was curious to sign up for the webinar.

We interviewed Rand in 2017 and you can read the latest interview here:

Before the event, I decided to ask Rand a few questions that was very much related to the topic. I was happy to see that he answered two question during the webinar and replied two more via e-mail. In this blog, I am going to share with you the Q&A with Rand.


Q. In the coming years, how would you expect SEO experts to be building back-links for plumbers, plastic surgeons, and  self-storage clients?

A. Many of the techniques of the past still work well - finding or building partnerships with other local businesses. You can also seek out business listing opportunities in local portals or through industry resources, earning local press, getting mentions from local blogs and websites. Another way is by getting social mentions that lead to web links, etc - the list is only limited by creativity.

Q. In regards to link building, what are some things you expect me to do now that Google might consider in the near future?

A. This question was answered during the webinar. To explain this, I'm going to take the information Rand shared with us in his slides.


The non-links signals which Rand explained during the webinar are:

  • Content quality signals
  • Social signals (Direct & Indirect)
  • Usage Data (CTR, Traffic, etc)
  • Topic Modeling/Hummingbird
  • Trust & spam signals
  • UX (Speed, Mobile-Friendly, etc)
  • Topical Authority
  • User Data & Personalization

Q.  If Moz didn't have a blog section, how would you have built links for Moz? Simply put, a client who do not wish to add content in the form of blogs, infographics and etc., what strategy would you like to use?

A. As I noted above, the possibilities are infinite and limited only by creativity. One of the ways we've been very successful at earning links (and positive referrals of all kinds) apart from our content is simply to be helpful to people and organizations. When folks have a problem with SEO or web marketing, we help via email, phone calls, a coffee meeting, a chat with their teams - it's been a great way to build relationships and get links. Another one that's been solid for us is events and conferences. Another is building partnerships through things like Moz Perks, our APIs, and our tools.

Content can be a great link building strategy, but it's certainly not the only one. If you check out https://moz.com/blog/category/link-building, you'll find literally hundreds of unique ways to earn links that don't violate Google's guidelines.

Q.  As you know, Matt Cutts in 2014 revealed that Google has tried a version of Google that doesn't use links as a signal and the experiment results were much worse. Do you think Google will run more experiments like these and will they be successful in doing so?

A. This question was somewhat answered during the webinar where Rand mentioned Google might give more importance to the ranking signals which are mentioned in the answer 2.

Here is the video in which Matt Cutts in 2014 informed about Google testing search results which exclude backlinks as a factor.

Even though Matt Cutts confirmed that the quality of search results were much worse, there are few takeaways from this test.

  1. Google has started considering other potential approaches for ranking results.
  2. Google considers that the links are highly spammable but as of now there is no other way but to use the link graph.
  3. Google in future may consider running more of such test which might make backlink as less important factor.

You can find the webinar recording and deck here.

Thank you Rand for spending your valuable time in answering my questions! If you want to check out the webinar on the influence of links in SEO, you can do so here.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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  • avatar

    Links as a signal are definitely a powerful but noisy signal. I had a client who was hacked, and suddenly he was ranking for all of these pages that got created because other hacked sites were deep linking to him. I was really shocked at how high these obviously hacked pages could rank so very quickly!
    BTW: I love the mixed media you’ve pulled together for this, very clever.

    • avatar
      Christy Kunjumon 


      Glad to know that you liked the blog. I agree that backlink is a major factor even-though its noisy signal. Still there are many sites which are ranking due to unethical way of linking, I am sure Google recognizes this very well and they might be surely trying to give importance to various other factors (like what Rand explained) and hence reduce the weightage for backlink.

  • avatar

    Hi Christy!
    Thanks for sharing this. Rand has an awesome view on things. BTW, recently I took an inteview with him, and two of my questions were almost the same to yours 🙂 I can put a link here if you are okay with that and don’t find it too self-promotional.
    When was this webinar held? I missed it.

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