Not too long ago, link building meant gathering as many inbound links as you could, from almost any source. In search engine optimisation, the number of links pointing into the pages of a website was one of the most critical components of SEO. Today, link building is still important – but perhaps the term should be changed to “link earning,” considering the emphasis put on content today and that readers of your pages should want to link to the information you have provided after reading it.
Today, link building essentially means earning links the hard way; it is no longer an easy thing to accomplish, but an effort to collect quality links, those that lead to your pages because someone found your page valuable, informative, even entertaining. Is your content link-worthy? The truth is, link earning is fast becoming essential in an effective SEO campaign.
The old way of link building could actually get you penalized by Google
Just a year or two ago (and unfortunately it’s still going on today), many marketers would buy links, exchange links with any web master who would agree (whether the website was relevant or not), and use other tactics to obtain links – the more the better. What has come as a shock to many is that they now find their websites at the “bottom of the heap” in terms of page rank. Google does not favour websites with links that have been bought or forced in some way. Think of link building today as links that occur naturally, because your website pages have earned them!
Link building to link earning – it’s all about humans
It’s no secret that many marketers have built links in the past solely for search engines, rather than links that lead naturally to relevant or additional content readers will find useful. Some of the strategies used for link building in the past include:
- Directory submissions
- Social bookmarking sites
- Blog commenting
- Submission to article directories
- Link farms
- Purchasing links
While you don’t want to completely stop these strategies (other than link farms and buying links), it’s important you do it the right way. For instance, only submit to directories or social bookmarking sites that actual, real people use. Commenting on a blog post is great, IF you actually have something to add to the conversation that’s useful. If you generally comment on relevant blogs for the purpose of obtaining a link, reconsider.
To sum it up, if the only reason you are building a link is for search engines, think twice before you do it. Build links from the places where there are real people who may see your link and be interested in what’s on the other end of it! Today, it’s all about link EARNING; in other words, earning links because what’s on the page you’ve linked to is important, interesting, valuable.
We’re not trying to say that all of the tactics that used to be effective for link building no longer are, but quality content is a better way to keep search engines – and your readers – happy. Also keep in mind that today, it isn’t about the quantity of links, it’s all about quality. A handful of relevant, quality links will take you much farther than hundreds or thousands of “junk” links!
At SEO Service Pros, our SEO link building service is designed to help you achieve better search engine rankings the way it is supposed to be done!