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Ahrefs Research: Are Links Still an Important Ranking Factor?

14 December 2021, Tuesday By Victoria Frolova

Ahrefs decided to find out how important links are to Google today, and conducted an experiment by removing them from the site's pages.

The company's blog says that more and more people are talking about the fact that links are now almost lost their relevance. Therefore, as part of their experiment, the Ahrefs team, instead of creating new links to pages, decided to delete the existing ones and see what happens. 

For this, 3 articles from the company's blog were selected, all links on which were rejected for a month. After this time, the links were removed from the Disavow file, which was supposed to restore their value. 

The Disavow file was crawled by Google right away, but it took time to re-process the links, so Ahrefs set aside 1 month for this. So, a total of 3,476 links were rejected, and the Disavow file was uploaded on August 17 and deleted on September 14:

Ahrefs Research

After the links were dismissed, the traffic dropped significantly, and after the deletion of the Disavow file, it immediately improved. According to the Ahrefs team, the reason may be that the more valuable links are on those pages that have higher PageRank and are crawled more often. 

Thus, links are still important, and Ahrefs advises against rejecting all links to pages and advises using the Disavow file with caution.

Related: Internal link: Guide to internal linking of your site

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