In the early days of the Internet, search algorithms were very primitive. In those days, traditional businesses spent huge amounts of money on advertising. Nobody knew that it was possible to use holes in search engine algorithms quite successfully and advertise on the net with minimal investment. But some enthusiasts made their own sites, used various tricks and went to the top of the search results to make good money.
However, over time, the situation has changed. Search engines began to monetize their services, overgrown with serious budgets, which allowed them to attract good specialists to work. It was they who helped to develop better ranking algorithms, which all this time brought the conditions of the struggle for leadership in search results closer to the traditional methods of promotion. And today it is not the most cunning who wins, but the most experienced, the most talented and the one who really wants to help the end consumer.
The problem is that the search engine algorithms themselves have never been perfect and are not now either. They are constantly being improved, new algorithms appear, old ones are being improved. Therefore, from time to time the issue shakes, which leads to the loss of positions of some sites. This offends many webmasters, because they lose their income. Also, people who are constantly looking for ways to bypass the rules of search engines did not disappear anywhere. Attempts to reach the top of the search results bypassing the rules will always appear, and this will lead to improved algorithms.
Previously, ranking sites based on the number of links was considered the most successful solution. Indeed, it is true - the more links lead to a site, the more authority it enjoys. However, there is one drawback here. The fact is that it is impossible to understand which link appeared naturally, and which one was frankly faked to deceive search engines. There have been attempts to improve the algorithms, but still no one succeeded in achieving the best results. In the end, it was necessary to come up with something more substantial.
And it appeared. Now search engines try to use information about whether visitors are happy with a site or not. These are called behavioral factors. That is, to determine whether the site is popular and whether it deserves high positions, you need to spy on visitors. If people actively follow the links to the pages of the site, spend a lot of time there, fill out some forms, subscribe to the newsletter, then people like the site. And this is already a reason for increasing his position in the SERP.
This is how search engines work today. To get to the top of the search results, you have to do everything possible to make the site like the audience. Of course, you will also have to acquire links, because they are still important and are used in ranking. But behavioral factors are still the determining factor.