How Google Entity Authority Reducing Weight On Backlinks

Google Entity Extraction Visualisation With knowledge Graph

Google Spoke person John Muller recently said, Links will be less important as a ranking factor in the future in a live Q&A event from BrightonSEO. He added this is already in place up to some context,

He also added that Google could figure out how the content would fit within the web context. Links will still be necessary for finding the web pages. However, it will drastically reduce as a ranking factor in the future. 

To better understand how Google can reduce the weight of backlinks, you need to understand,

  1. Role of backlinks in old Google context
  2. How does Google identify and classify an entity
  3. Link EAT with entity authority

1. Role of Backlinks in Search Engines

A backlink is a link from one website to another web page or website. Backlinks play a significant role in Search Engines algorithms as they contribute to two essential functions of search engines.

  1. Finding other websites/web pages via links
  2. Act as a vote of confidence from one website to another website.

In the early days of Google, backlinks played a significant role in SEO optimisation as it was one of the main factors that Google could assess the CREDIBILITY of a website.

2. How Google Identify And Classify An Entity

What is an Entity?

By definition, an “entity is a thing with distinct and independent existence.

Within the Search Engines ( Machine language processing ), We use another concept called “Named-entity recognition (NER).”

Named Entity Recognition (NER) is a procedure with which clearly identifiable elements (e.g. names of people or places) can be automatically marked in a text. Named Entity Recognition was developed as part of the computer linguistic method of Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is about processing natural language laws in a machine-readable manner “( Source: )

InLinks also explain an entity from an SEO keywords perspective.

“An entity concerns any subject that can be linked to the knowledge graphs of search engines, such as the Google Knowledge Graph.”

To simplify, Google can recognise a text, a website, a brand or a person as an entity. Further, Google can extract the information available on the web via NLP modelling techniques. Which then analyzed and assigned to each entity to complete the understanding of each entity.

If you want to read an in-depth review on this topic, I highly recommend reading a post from Koray on Named Entity Recognition: Definition, Examples, and Guide

Within the old Google module, backlinks served as a vote of confidence, favouring the website with more backlinks to get higher rankings. But with this model, Google can now identify mentions without backlinks and improve the overall entity authority.

3. Link EAT With Entity Authority

EAT Factors in SEO is one of the most discussed topics when it comes to improving the trust and authority of websites and content. Even though it was introduced to YMYL content initially, it’s a fact that Google uses the same factors for all types of content.

Now, let’s come up with a concept like Entity Authority Profiling ( EAP)( This is a concept only ) . We can further understand how Google uses the EAT factors with each author, website and content to complete the Entity Authority Profile.

As mentioned above, when it comes to an entity, it can be about an author who writes the article ( Expertise of the Author ), the Content Itself ( Authority & Topical/entity Coverage of the Content ) & Publisher as well. All these elements can work as separate entities to complete the profile.

Expertise Entity Profiling

Entity Profiling helps Google to create a complete profile of an author base on other articles written by the author or social media links, other web links or mentions, ultimately completing a comprehensive profile about the author.

Content Authority Profiling

When it comes to the authority and comprehensiveness of the content itself, Google is using BERT Topic Modeling in conjunction with NLP modelling
techniques to understand the topical authority of an article.

Thanks to BERT, Google MUM & NLP machine learning techniques, Google can understand a topic and find related entities, synonyms; Google no longer relies on
Keyword density in an article.

Google gives credit to any article that can add some value to the knowledge graph, not any content that repeats the same information. ( Teach something new to Google )

This is why especially informative articles can now be ranked even without a single backlink. You can outrank well-established domains if you can improve your content.

Most SEO Pros use tools to optimise SEO content. Such as SurferSEO or similar tools. But these tools mainly focus on specific keyword gaps than the topic gap. It is still relevant as there is a direct relationship between a keyword
to a topic.

InLinks in may be the only tool now to analyse the content from a topic perspective rather than a keywords perspective.

Google has already indexed and created a massive knowledge database with its knowledge graphs. Google also use BERT Topic Modeling for content analysis. When it comes to content, Google already knows what topics must be included in an article to be an authoritative article.

Ex: Topic Wheel for “Best Pressure cooker Australia”

Trust Entity Profiling

Within the EAT factors, Trust refers to as Trust and reputation of the website or the publisher.

For example, Google can understand that website A is owned by ABC company.
Any external trust factors such as reviews, business registrations, brand mentions and backlinks available online can be used to form a collective trust signal about the website and the business.

With entity-based modelling, Google does not want to rely on link-based signals, as Google can understand a brand mention even without a backlink to a website.


Links will be a still important factor for Google from a crawling perspective. Still, as Muller said, links will be less important as a ranking factor in the future as Google can connect entities to build a trust signal about a brand or a website. PageRank and External References will still be used as entities for the overall ranking system.

From a content perspective, Google no longer needs to prefer websites with more backlinks. If you can cover the entities that need to be covered to be authoritative and provide additional value to Google ( Teach something new to Google about the topic you want to be ranked ), you can outrank well-established websites.


  • Tharindu Gunawardana

    Tharindu is a passionate digital marketing specialist with over 14 years of experience planning and executing cross-channel digital media campaigns in the Asia Pacific and Australia. He is also known as the SEO wizard due to his extensive knowledge and technical skill in SEO. Gunawardana Tharindu
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