“Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.”
The reason why this change to the backlink evaluation algorithm has got everyone worried is partially because of how it is deliberately worded to be as vague as can be.
Needless to say, the conventional understanding of backlink evaluation is that:
• Backlinks from webpages with higher PageRank count for more
• Backlinks from domains with high authority such as *.gov, *.edu, and so on count for more
• Backlinks from webpages that relate to your webpage count for more
But now that Google is saying that they have changed the way in which they evaluate links, and going on to say that they are particularly turning off one method of link analysis that they have used for several years, the big question on everyone’s mind is: Which one?
Could it be that Google is no longer relying on PageRank to determine how valuable a link is? Or maybe Google has decided that *.edu, *.gov and other such domains no longer deserve to be given extra authority?
Then again, considering Google did mention that they often use the characteristics of links to figure out the topic of a linked page, maybe it just means that they are no longer determining whether or not the content of two webpages relate to one another based on the anchor text?
In short – maybe they are ignoring anchor text completely?
The truth is that at this very moment no one is quite sure what the new Google backlink evaluation algorithm means, and it is safe to say that over the next few days, weeks, and possibly even months there will be countless new theories emerging.
Until more data is gathered and the effects of this change can be properly observed however it is unlikely that any of the theories will be very solid.
Right now what you know about the new algorithm is pretty much up to date with what everyone else knows. In time maybe you will be able to find out more – but for now it is really all just speculation and theories based on Google’s announcement.