With all the conflicting views about the value of link building in SEO, website owners are confused about whether or not they should still invest in growing their links profile for the benefit of their overall web marketing strategy. Website owners and administrators are getting pulled left and right because of the differing expert opinions on the matter. Add to this the number of websites that have been penalized for their unnatural backlinks profile ever since the very first Penguin algorithm update rolled out, and it’s easy to see why link building has earned a bad reputation.
A growing number of business owners are now worried that link building has become too much of a risk to even incorporate in their web strategies, let alone invest in. But has link building really lost its essence, or is it still a worthwhile practice to invest in?
First, we should define what ‘real’ link building is all about.
At its very core, building links requires you to deliberately go out and find places (websites) that will willingly link to your content. It is essentially the process of inviting and acquiring hyperlinks coming from other (preferably relevant) websites to your own.
In the beginning stages of the internet, links were among the most powerful (if not the most powerful) ranking signals within Google’s algorithm. They were used as a means of determining the credibility and popularity of a website and were—for the longest time—the core of what set Google apart from all other search engines in the past. Links gave Google a way to determine which sites were more popular (links were treated as votes of confidence towards websites), thus allowing them to provide searchers exactly the results they want.
However, people abused links.
Webmasters and website owners did all things possible to try and earn more links, taking shortcuts and exchanging links with every possible website (even ones that have nothing to do with them) just to earn coveted top spots in SERPs. For a long time, this tactic worked and worked really well for business owners, but at the expense of lower quality search results.
To alleviate the problem, Google had to make changes in the way they treat and value links, sending those who have been employing dirty link building tricks to a downward spiral. When their Penguin algorithm update took effect, overly manipulative link building strategies were gravely punished. Websites (thousands of them) that engaged in these tactics took the hardest hit.
So, should you still invest in link building?
It’s important to note that Google didn’t remove links in their algorithm altogether. They just got better at determining when and when not to trust a link and knowing whether or not it is editorially given, as well as whether or not it is relevant.
Not only does link building still matters —it also still holds significant value as far as search engine optimization is concerned. In fact, links are more valuable than ever, except that they are much harder to build now that Google employs stricter rules and standards when it comes to building and acquiring link relationships with other websites.
Google puts a lot into detecting and in turn penalizing webmasters who are still aggressively pursuing unnatural links. If you are unsure of your own tactics, it is easy to get yourself into trouble. Save your website from being penalized by seeking the help of an expert link building and SEO company. Experts at SEOValley™ can help, allowing you to perform comprehensive audits of your site and establish sounder techniques and strategies to build your links profile and maximize the value of relevant link building.