Backlinks are a huge part of the Google algorithm. Because of this, webmasters have tried to manipulate links to their advantage, such as by buying links.
What would Google's search results really be like without backlinks being factored into the algorithm? That's something many of us have wondered over the years, and is the topic of the latest video from Google's Matt Cutts.
"We don’t have a version like that that is exposed to the public, but we have run experiments like that internally, and the quality looks much, much worse," Cutts said. "It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really really big win in terms of quality for search results."
Cutts added that backlink relevance "still really helps in terms of making sure that we return the best, most relevant, most topical set of search results."
I know many of us would like to see the search results without back links taken into account. It would be pretty eye-opening, although I suspect some of us would be pretty horrified see the end result. It would be quite interesting to see a screenshot of what Google's search results without backlinks look like.