Matt Cutts, the head of Google's search spam team recently posted a video online and said that gradually backlinks will become less important. However, he also mentioned that backlinks will play a key role in Google ranking algorithm for many years. So, webmasters and SEO experts don't need to abandon backlinks immediately.
Matt explained that the search engine is now concentrating on innovative ways to decide if a web page meets user expectations or not. Right now, Google judges the value of a web page by scanning the links on the page, reputation of the site and the content quality of the particular page.
Google is trying to enhance its mechanism to understand natural language, something that you see in the conversational search results. Once the search engine reaches the level of proficiency to understand actual language flawlessly, it will match expert users' queries with better search results.So, how Matt plans to provide better results to the users? If the search engine can detect that a story is written by an expert in a specific field, the task becomes easier. Google is currently working on “expert author boost” for the search rankings. However, without that, using natural language plays a very important role. It helps the search engine detect whether the author is an expert on the subject query or not.
Matt Cutts confirmed that for the next few years, backlinks are not going anywhere. They will be used by the search engine to determine the reputation of a web page. However, as the technology will progress, Google will rely less on backlinks to decide the trustworthiness of a website.