Is link building dead?
This is a question that has been lingering for as long as I can remember.
Today, we’re deep into 2015, and link building is still a thing. Even though there have been stories that Google’s Penguin algorithm effectively killed the technique that go way back to 2012 and 2013, link building is still viable as ever, and most widely used.
However, there have been changes that need to be noticed and that every webmaster should know before starting to run his blog or website. But before we jump into those changes, let’s first take a moment to remind ourselves what link building actually is and why it’s important.
What is link building?
As Word Stream puts it, link building is a process of getting external pages to link to a page on your website, and one of the many techniques used in search engine optimization. A link from an authoritative website like the Wall Street Journal will make a greater impact on a search-engine results page (SERP) than a link from a newly built website, but high quality links are hard to come by.
Why is link building important?
Well, isn’t it obvious? Getting other people to link to your page means your page is worth something. It’s of such quality that people have decided to share your content, to use it as a source of information or a referral point of any kind. Google uses that kind of information to grade sites, and in the end that amounts to where in the results your page ends up. Of course, you aim for the first page.
So back to the start. Has link building changed in 2015? Is it still viable?
Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller gave an answer to that question in a Google Hangouts session which occurred back in February 2015. His explanation is quite simple: “In general, I’d try to avoid that,” he said.
Of course, he shifts the attention to content, saying that quality content including detailed blog posts, infographics, and videos are the most shared ones, but that doesn’t actually mean link building is dead.
Links are still the strongest signal we can give to Google about the importance of our content and site. So, if you’re working to increase search visibility, links need to be a primary consideration.
What’s a quality link? It’s one of those “you’ll know it when you see it” types of things in many cases. But a link from any large, respectable site is going to be higher on the quality scale than a link you might get from commenting on a blog. In addition, links from those in your “neighborhood”, sites that are topically relevant to your site, may also count more.
Useful as ever
As a matter of fact, it’s still as useful as ever. It may be time consuming to find dozens of websites willing to link to your content, but so is creating content, and when it comes to the most shared content today – video – it’s easy to see that link building is the cheaper, simpler and equally effective business model.
So what are those changes I spoke of in the introduction? It’s about the size of the web.
The web has grown. More and more businesses are coming online. Heck, more and more businesses are being created every day. Everyone wants to be noticed in the digital playground, and everyone wants their website on page one at Google’s search results.
But not everyone can create great, compelling content and have thousands of likes, shares and comments.
Be wary: Google values content over link building by a LOT, and that has to be the biggest change in 2015. But without link building, you can be the Picasso of the internet, you’ll still fall behind fast.