What's the (new) role of backlinks in SEO?

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The role of backlinks is to sustain a high ranking on search engines, which ultimately provides the website with credibility and relevance. The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website. Backlinks are important for SEO because some search engines, especially Google, will give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks, and consider those websites more relevant than others in their results pages for a search query.

Due to a large increase in ‘spammy’ backlinks, built by dubious SEO experts, a new role of backlinks in SEO has been implemented by Google in order to differentiate between poor quality links and high quality links. Google wants backlinks that are accurate measures of citation. Thus, a good guideline is this:

• Good links are those by which an actual human being has taken the time to approve the link (or content containing the link in the case of genuine quality content syndication for backlink creation).

• Bad links are links that can be created automatically with no human intervention or quality review. These kinds of links are ripe for exploitation through leveraged automation through software tools.

Google has produced the following website, (http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356), which delivers a detailed analysis, with supported examples, of what backlink schemes can adversely impact a site's ranking in search results. The most effective method to entice other sites to create relevant links to yours is by generating unique and pertinent content that can rapidly gain popularity amongst the Internet community. The more beneficial and relevant your content is, the more likely another site will find that content valuable and link their readers to it.

Source: http://www.webconfs.com/importance-of-backlinks-article-5.php