For years upon years, those working in search engine optimization could consistently agree on just one thing – links were the most important ranking signal around. They were the lynchpin that could decide whether you were on the top of page 1 of the search results or deep into page 5. 

Over the past few years, though, that has changed significantly. Google’s search engine algorithms have gotten increasingly complex, relying on hundreds of different search signals contextually based on a user’s intent with their search. With this, the perceived importance of links has steadily decreased.

These days, it is easy to find experts who will earnestly tell you that links are dead or don’t matter anymore. Typically they will point to the recent prevalence of social media and the importance of quality content as proof that you don’t need to invest money or energy into establishing an authoritative link profile for your website.

Well, Patrick Stox from Ahrefs recently decided to settle this debate once and for all. He simply chose three pages on the Ahrefs website – which receives thousands of visitors a day – and convinced the team to remove and disavow all links to those pages for a month.

After seeing the results from a month without links, the Ahrefs team then restored every link pointing to these pages and shared the results.

Ahrefs Links Chart

If you’re interested in the details from this experiment, you’ll definitely want to check out Stox’s recent article detailing what happened when he disavowed links to just three pages. It’s a revealing look at how a seemingly small SEO tweak can have a significant impact on the traffic your business receives online. Spoilers: links still matter quite a bit for SEO.

YouTube recently revealed new ways to see what search queries are leading viewers to videos, including both videos on your own channel and across the wider YouTube audience through an experimental new feature called Search Insights.

Additionally, Search Insights can help creators identify content gaps where users aren’t finding content ideal for their searches, to plan your future content around.

What Is YouTube Search Insights?

As detailed on the YouTube Creator’s Insider channel last week, YouTube Search Insights allows users to explore search data across the platform from the past 28 days, provided there is enough data.

The feature is split across two tabs. The first tab focuses on your channel and how users find your content, while the second shows keyword data from thousands of topics on the platform.

Along with the expected query data, such as search volume and high volume search topics, YouTube is also experimenting with identifying “content gaps”. This is when a viewer can’t find the content they were looking for with a query.

Do You Have Access?

As an ongoing test, YouTube has not opened these new features to all users. 

To see if you have access to Search Insights, first, log into YouTube Studio and select “Analytics” from the menu on the left.

Within the Analytics tab, look for a section called “Research”. If you have access to Search Insights, you will then see three tabs: “Your viewers’ searches”, “searchers across YouTube”, and “saved searches.”

While the new feature is in its early stages, YouTube says it will have more information in the future when it expands access to more users or you can watch the full announcement below: