Many people say that the days of using low quality and spam links are over. They also further clarify that high quality links are the way to go if you want to avoid being penalized by Google. And even though this is true – the days of looking for shortcuts and gaming the system are over, no one really provides an insight as to why that is. You need to understand a few core concepts and then it will make sense.
The search results are one of Google’s products. For a consumer, Google is just a platform they go to when they want to know something, assuming that Google will provide an answer. Google hasn’t won this reputation by chance, however, but by providing (mostly) relevant results to different queries. If you’re looking up Apple products, you want to see electronics, not the recipe for your mother’s apple pie. When you’re looking for golf, you want to see the sport, not the German automobile model by Volkswagen. Google works tirelessly to make these results even better and stay on top. That’s why we now have the verb google in the language. Go Google it!
However, marketers saw an opportunity to use Google when the company was still young and naïve and the algorithms were still new. They started manipulating the results by using what is today referred to as Black Hat tactics (spamming links, automated content spinning, etc.). So naturally the searches started showing these low quality websites that put zero work into what they were doing on top. Hence, Google weren’t actually providing the best results for each query, which is why they started reworking the algorithms.
Today, you need to have high quality links to your website and have natural content. This tells Google that people actually enjoy your site which makes them happy to show you in the search results wherever relevant. This is why high quality links are important.