Links don't count for SERPs anymore.

Dude, you are a little mistaken, Check the last google starter guide and the order that changes should be done to increase serp, SPECIALLY Backlinks are relevant as content is too. There's also an explanation of how caffeine algorithm works, if you have been at SEO for so long , you should be looking to learn a bit more about algorithms, not easy but very important.
It is an algorithm that Larry page patented called Page Rank what made g00gle what it is now so get your sh*t toguether and start doing your homework as an SEO man
[FONT=&quot]B[/FONT][FONT=&quot]est Practices[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]A[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ccurately describe [/FONT][FONT=&quot]the page's content[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page's content.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]using default or vague titles like "Untitled" or "New Page 1"[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]Create unique [/FONT][FONT=&quot]title tags for each page[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]E[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ach of your pages should ideally have a unique title tag, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]using a single title tag across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]U[/FONT][FONT=&quot]s[/FONT][FONT=&quot]e[/FONT][FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]brief, but descriptive titles[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]T[/FONT][FONT=&quot]itles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]st[/FONT][FONT=&quot]uffing unneeded keywords in your title tags[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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Also here
[FONT=&quot]About increasing backlinks with an intention to increase the value of the site[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]While [/FONT][FONT=&quot]most of the links to your site will be gained gradually, as people discover your content through search or other ways and link to it, Google understands that you'd like to let others know about the hard work you've put into your content. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]E[/FONT][FONT=&quot]ffectively promoting [/FONT][FONT=&quot]y[/FONT][FONT=&quot]our new content will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject [/FONT][FONT=&quot](1)[/FONT][FONT=&quot]. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]A[/FONT][FONT=&quot]s with most points covered in this document, taking these recommendations to an extreme could actually harm the reputation of your site.[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
So, basically means that backlinks shoud be done in huge amount according to the relevance on the website ,but indexing them fast is a good way to get sanboxed.
Conclusion: Patience is the name of the game
You are correct that PR is different from SERP's but you are making conclusions from that fact that have no basis in realty at all. Google has been diminishing how much PR plays a role in ranking for a particular keyword for quite awhile now, this is nothing new. What you are forgetting about is those other 200 factors that Google uses to rank a page in the SERP's. A lot of those have to do with links (I would say most) even though they have nothing to do with PR.

Lets take a link on a page. Its location, the text around it, anchor text etc probably do not affect how much PR is pushed through to the site it links to. All these things do matter in how well that link helps that site it links to for a particular keyword. To help with PR the link does not have to be targeted. To help with ranking for your keyword it does.

Just because a low PR site can beat out a high PR site does not mean that links do not matter. It only means that to rank for a particular keyword you need TARGETED LINKS. That is exactly why so much emphasis is put on anchor text. A high PR site without any targeted anchor text can be beat out by a low PR site with targeted anchor text any day but this does not main that links do not matter. Just the opposite, links do matter you just have to use them properly.

Seriously dude your logic is flawed I do not care how much experience you say you have.

Before you jump all over my a** for saying this, I have been doing SEO for more than 15 years and my last campaigns scored 100% page one listings.

Let's look at a little history.
Google was founded with the idea of links influencing search positions.

The first 2 years after inception saw constant tweaks spaced about a month apart.

Links have always been a problem for Google and as more and more schemes to use links to influence results became apparent, the less they counted for ranking.

As a result, last year Google declared links a dead metric with the removal of PageRank from their webmaster's tools. Their spokesman even told the public that links were not worth worrying about.

When Google brought in the Mayday update few commented on their statement that Mayday affected ranking and not crawling or indexing.

"Ranking" is PageRank, "Crawling" is when their spider visits your site, and "indexing" is SERPs.

The reason the update affected ranking is that it made a major change in the PR algorithm.
No longer is PR judged by taking a % of the linking page's PR divided by the out-bound links, but by the relevance between linking and linked pages.

I built a new PR0 site to PR4 with 115 links.
113 links placed on PR0, 1 on PR3, and 1 on PR5

This same site with ONE link placed in #1 position for it's targeted KW phrase upon publishing, beating out the #2 and #3 sites who had 58,000 and 277,000 inbound links, respectively.
You can find this kind of thing in almost every search. Low PR sites beat high PR.

If Google placed ANY weight on links this could not happen.

Total BS.

Links are still the #1 factor in SERPS, and will continue to be for a long time I bet.

On this post ( you say that you have a new site that sits in the #1 position in a field of 33,000,000 competing sites and it has ONE link to the site. The #2 site is over 10 years old and has 277,000 in-bound links.

First of all your examples are deeply flawed. It doesn't matter the # of "competitors" (usually 99.9% of them are not really competitors, just webpages that happen to have the words in the keyword somewhere on the page) a keyword has, the only thing that matters when judging competition is the sites that are consciously trying to rank for the keyword on page 1.

A keyword that shows 40,000,000 results that no one is trying to rank for will be MUCH easier to rank for than a keyword with 100,000 results that a score of websites are competing for.

I found your site (everyone: just type his username into google to find it, it has some comedic value) and I think I have found the keyword you're talking about (HINT: it's a long-tail starting with the word "up" and ending with "information"). Guess what? Adwords keyword tool shows that the keyword in your example has no searches per month, hence no one is trying to rank for it. It doesn't matter that the #2 site has 277,000 links, because it couldn't care less about that keyword. It ranks because one or two of its links use it as an anchor text by pure coincidence.

Had someone with true SEO skills started to build ranks to a site USING THE KEYWORD IN THE ANCHOR TEXT, your site wouldn't have had a chance to rank, no matter how good your on-page SEO is.

Your argument that if PR doesn't count in SERPS that means that links mustn't count is also very flawed. PR never counted much. What counts, however, are THE LINKS WITH THE KEYWORD AS THE ANCHOR TEXT. Who cares about PR, I can outrank a site with 10,000 backlinks and PR 6 with a PR 1 site that has only 50 links given the right circumstances. What are the right circumstances? They are that the PR6 site is using the keyword as anchor text in a couple of links, while mine is using it for all its links. Once again, it all comes to backlinks.

I tell you what, since you are a SEO pro that has been doing that for over 15 years (before Google was born, I guess you were doing SEO on AltaVista then?) why don't you make a site targeting the keyword "auto quotes" and rank in page 1 for that? If links don't count and you're a SEO pro you should be able to do that. Too difficult? Ok what about a top 100 then? Still too difficult? Try a top 1000.

Yeah I'm serious, build a site with no backlinks, just on-page SEO and rank in the top 1000 for "auto quotes" with absolutely no backlinks. Then I'll take everything I said back. In the meantime, I will continue building links for my sites and watch them rise in SERPS.
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I would actually have to kind of agree with the op. I am currently #6 for a keyword with over 5 million pages. All the links on page 1 are 3+ years old, thousands of backlinks, pr 3+, the works. My domain is less then a year old, pr 0 the last time I checked and about 20 backlinks. I was #20 using ugly links, no on site seo, nothing. Spent about an hour changing everything and doing on site seo and jump to #9 in 3-4 days and slowly moved up to #6 with in 1-2 weeks from when I did the seo work. Also, have jumped 2-3 pages on a few other keywords that have 13 million plus pages.

Some of the seo work I did was actually add keywords in the meta tag, put a description meta tag on the site, changed from ugly to pretty links. These 3 things bumped me up 14 spots for the main keyword and now ranking on pages 2-6 for keywords that I wasn't even on the first 100 pages for.

Not 100% convinced though, I have started link building to the site to get it closer to number one just in case. Plus Im trying to sell the site, so more backlinks will help increase the site in the minds of most people.
Think that's totally wrong sorry. If anything, I'd say links are the only things that count. I don't even bother with onpage SEO anymore cuz can seem to get top spot with the right links and the right anchors....
I checked a backlinks of a site that's number 1 for a very competitive keyword and most if not all are not put on sites that are in same niche. They are way off topic but he is still number one.

Exactly how will they decide if page is relevant anyway? What might seem relevant to humans might not seem relevant to search engines..

For example: "diet -> fitness" relevant? Seems like a yes.. what about "diet -> building muscle" Clearly two opposite things but in same "health" category.

Personally this system looks pretty weak to me. Sure relevant links may count more but my sites that are built on high pr irrelevant links still stand on the number one spot. So I don't plan on changing my link building methods anytime soon.
I totally agree with Zaldrak.
A lot of people doesn't understand that number of results shown for a keyword is different from numbers of competitors
Sorry Reg,

None of what you say make any sense and there seems to be big flaws in your logic and conclusions.

And what kind of SEO work did you do more than 15 years ago? - 15 years ago webmasters were more concerned with deciding between NCSA and CERN and making HTML that would crash the least amount of browsers.
There are many lazy webmasters who think that SEO is easy work. Please do learn from other senior members before telling these things.
I looked at the OP's SEO practitioner website, and some of the examples used are extreme outlying cases that I supposed might be considered interesting in a freakish sort of way, but are not indicative of normal SEO circumstances. After reading his site, I am not sure that even the OP believes that backlinks are unnecessary.

Zaldrack's analysis of this situation is quite correct.
Zaldrak wow your the man! Excellent overview. Nice to hear from someone who knows what the hell they are talking about!
Zaldrak and OP may both be correct.

If I understand the logic in OP's post, he is not suggesting that all backlinks do not matter anymore. He is suggesting based on what he is seeing that relevant backlinks are being weighted much more heavily in the algorithm.

Let's suppose that this is true. OP could rank for a moderately competitive term with 115 directly relevant backlinks. Zaldrak's example of ranking #1 for a term that no one is truly competing for with a single relevant backlink is also possible. Those that subscribe to the Xrumer school can also rank with a 100,000 link blast because this would very likely generate hundreds of directly relevant links that propel their sites up the rankings. In all of these cases, it is not the total volume, but rather the volume of relevant links that matters.

I do not know if this theory is true, but it is plausible and consistent with Google's intention of providing the most relevant search results. Of course, many of the theories presented here are plausible and shows that none of us has the big G pegged.
First off, PR doesn't always indicate google page position. Other factors include newness.

There are threads like this weekly, and trust me when I say that if you didn't have 115 links right out of the gate, that you wouldn't have pinged right to the top. If you let it stagnate at that level, someone with newer content/more links will overtop you.

Relevance is a key factor, and more is not always better, but don't overlook the obvious time-tested benefits of literally ANY linkback.
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When Google brought in the Mayday update few commented on their statement that Mayday affected ranking and not crawling or indexing.

"Ranking" is PageRank, "Crawling" is when their spider visits your site, and "indexing" is SERPs.

Caffeine/Mayday changed everything including crawling and indexing. Google even touted that those functions would be faster and more frequent as a result.

My understanding of the lexicon is thus:

Rankings - the numeric placements a website holds in the SERPs... 1st, 37th, 14th,...
Indexing - the magical process by which URLs are ranked and included or excluded from the SERPs

we agree on crawling though!

It is an interesting hypothesis, but some of the rushed details in the post are too distracting to see past. Less would have been more in this case.
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