As I reported yesterday at Search Engine Land with Google Changes Ranking Advice, Says Build Quality Sites Not Links – Google made a change to their messaging on the ranking article help document. This was first spotted by @Baeumlisberger and it is an important change.
As I said yesterday, this “change is to keep Google consistent with their general change in messaging that content is what webmasters should focus on, not links.”
What was the actual change? The line use to read, “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.” Google changed the last part to read “by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.”
So it is no longer about increasing the number of quality links, it is more about increasing people who want to use and share your content. Again, this is Google’s new messaging.
It is not to say that links are not as important and that social is more important. Social is currently not so important, but that may change in the future. It is the way webmasters should think about their content.
Here are screen shots from before and after…
Some folks feel Google is trying to water down things and confuse webmasters.