We’ve (Still) Lost the Backlink, and I For One Want It Back.

Remember back in the halcyon days of the web, when bloggers shared a sense of community with each other, linking back and forth to each other as a matter of social grace and conversation, as opposed to calculated consideration? Well, if not, that's how it was back in 2003 or…

backrub-tm.jpgRemember back in the halcyon days of the web, when bloggers shared a sense of community with each other, linking back and forth to each other as a matter of social grace and conversation, as opposed to calculated consideration?

Well, if not, that’s how it was back in 2003 or so, when I started blogging. Now, that signal (who linked to you recently) is gone, and honestly, not just for blogging. It’s also gone for most of the web. Of course, you can find it, if you want to geek out in your refer logs. But honestly, why have we buried it there?

The funny thing is, this is the very signal Larry Page was looking for when he came upon the idea for Google with Sergey. Backrub, remember?

I sense there’s about to be some serious reconsideration of the value of declarative and transparent backlinks. I don’t know why, but call it an itch I’m scratchin’, rather like that of RSS….

All of this brought on by my continued and early explorations of Tumblr….

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

9 thoughts on “We’ve (Still) Lost the Backlink, and I For One Want It Back.”

  1. I still link as often as it makes sense. I put lots of links in to my posts, even dumb ones like linking to Twitter and Apple, even though everyone knows the URL. I believe strongly that links are the connectors of the Web.

  2. Well, the fact that people are considering when to backlink (and people do still backlink all the time), is that backlinking affects the “quality score” of the linker as well as the linkedto… (Part of what Google brought to the web).

    I backlink all the time, in blog posts, forum posts, twitters etc… the specific setting in each place decide what to do with the link (on forums it is usually nofollowed, in my own blog it is a regular link)…

  3. And I’m glad you do, Louis. I just wish there was an easy way for those who are being linked to – particularly in conversational media like blog, twitter, tumblr, etc. – to be notified of that.

  4. How would the referer have the source page, without that source page having a link to your page?
    Is that originating link inside some js widget or some other non-spider friendly mechanism?

  5. I have been on the web since 1992. Probably at one time, the back link meant something more, like an acknowledgement or thank you. Unfortunately, due to massive SEO campaigns by every one and their uncle who think that are an SEO expert, the backlink has become an over use of the word “sorry”. Sorry can truly mean something, but if said too often, it tends to lose it’s meaning.

  6. Everybody knows that backlinks are important for our site but please keep in mind that the quality are most important rather than the wuantity of backlinks itself. moreover blog commenting, It’s nothing on current google cafein and mayday

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