From being the top technique for getting higher rankings to earning a reputation as a spammy way of doing SEO, link building has had a wild ride.
So does link building still do anything for your SEO today?
The short answer is yes, it still does. But the more accurate answer would be: yes, but perhaps not as much most people think. (Not familiar with link building or how back links work? (Here’s a quick refresher on link building.)
Link Building in the Old Days of SEO
In the early days of SEO (we’re talking around 10-15 year years ago), link building wasn’t just a technique for SEO – it was THE way to do SEO.
The more links you got pointing to your site, the higher your search rankings would likely be.
Back then, Google reasoned that the more backlinks a website has, the more credible (and likely more useful) it would be to users. Google considered backlinks much like votes – the more links you had, the more valuable it would be.
Unfortunately, this made it easy to game the system.
Many SEO specialists and websites took advantage of this setup and poured most of their resources on getting as many links as possible pointing to their site. And it worked – for a while.
This is how link farms were born, along with strategies like enlisting in hundreds of online directories, building dummy sites to point to your website, and creating blogs with no other purpose than to insert a link.
But Google quickly got a hold of these tactics and changed their search algorithm in ensuing core updates. And over the past 10 years, Google has continuously refined its search algorithm even further, making old-school link building a thing of the past.
We’re not saying that link building is dead and unimportant, because having a solid backlink profile is still a major ranking signal for search rankings.
What we are saying is that old style of link building doesn’t work anymore.
It’s no longer just about the number of backlinks you have – it’s also about quality of those links.
Link Building Today
Link building today happens much more naturally than it did in the early days of SEO.
Now, it’s about getting as many links pointing to your site from high-quality and credible websites.
That’s because Google now looks at the quantity AND quality of your backlink profile.
In fact, if your website has backlink profile filled with links from spammy directories and suspicious sites, then Google will likely penalise your website.
So while the goal and purpose of link building remains the same from more than a decade ago, the techniques for achieving it are vastly different today.
Today, it’s about earning links rather than building them yourself.
How to Get Quality Backlinks for Your Site
The best way to earn links and build a solid backlink profile is to provide genuine value to users.
The more value you give them, the more likely a website owner/manager would be happy to link to yours.
Simply put, you must have something worth linking to.
There’s no single technique that works for everyone, and you’ll need to find out what works for your business based on your website, your industry, and what you’re offering.
Some of the most effective ways to get quality links today include:
- Link outreach – Reaching out to a webmaster or site manager and telling about a valuable resource on your site that they might be interested in linking to.
- Content marketing – Creating a variety of useful and valuable content that showcases your knowledge, expertise, and value in your market. You can use quality content to attract attention and gain links from appropriate sites.
- Building resources pages – Building resource hubs or pages on your site can be a particularly effective way of earning links, especially if you operate in a niche or highly specialised industry.
- Guest blogging – One of the few traditional link building techniques that has transitioned well to modern times. Publishing guest blogs in reputable and high-quality websites and having links pointing back to your website is always a good thing for your SEO.
- Directory listings (the right ones) – Although directory listings are not as important now as they once were several years ago, they can still be a useful tool for link building. But the key is to enlist in directories that are relevant to your industry and location – directories that are not relevant to your business will be a waste of your time (and possibly hurt your SEO).
These are just some of the main ways for building a solid link profile today, but there are many more specialised techniques you can try and adapt for your business. Your key to success here will be to be as strategic as you can with your link building activities. Try to look at it from an outsider’s perspective and see what opportunities you have to provide more value.
Need Help with Link Building and Your SEO?
Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about using link building to improve your site’s SEO. We can provide the right guidance to help you do it efficiently and get the best returns on your investment.