Is Link Building Still Important?

Over the past few years there has been alternately a big crisis of faith in the traditional SEO model of link + content and dismissive reports claiming link building as still the crown prince of SEO (as content is, of course, king). Much has been said and written and a lot has changed over these years. Between Authorship bumps, co-citation social media linking and exact match keywords slowly going the way of the mammoth it might seem like there really is a problem with link building, or that at least there are newer, less spammy techniques for ranking high on SERPs. Yet SEO as an industry seems captivated by the mirage of the new, and the said new is often unperfected while simpler techniques are readily available. So let’s take a look at if and why is link building important.

Basically, Link building became important the second that Google decided to base most of its game-changing algorithm on links. Older search engines were notoriously directory and keyword–heavy so what the Page algorithm did was to find a new way to separate pages based on different criteria. Today, despite a lot of tweaks, including some devastatingly broad penalties in the last two years, link building is also alive and well. Everybody from starting out SEO newbies to top SEO companies still employ it as part of their core content strategy.

That’s because somewhere along the way, amidst Google’s increasingly stark rules link-building has turned into a component of content strategies. Yes after Panda and Penguin, no respectable website can afford to be without coherent, good content delivered on a recurring basis nor can they really duke it out without link building. Content is a cornerstone for small web SEO – good content brings in outside traffic and is of course directly tied to how many ‘organic links’ you can get in. You can also call link building the practice of ‘poaching’ dead links. With all the  Google rule set tweaks there are bound to be a lot of bad links out there and there’s’ nothing webmasters and spiders hate more than dead pages. E-mail a webmaster and notify him of the dead link in a polite manner and eventually ask if you could submit a link to your post on a similar subject. This way you’re building links without going through the motions by attaching them to somebody else’s content.

Link building also goes hand in hand with the practice of guest posting. Guest posting has become all the rage on various blogs, as content, especially a lot of large consistent content has started counting more and more in the scores.

While link building has changed quite dramatically and a lot of old school grey-hat seo tactics are no longer usable today, not only is link building still useful it is still crucial.  And while SEO is still changing it looks like it will be a while before the  wonderful semantic and predictivel internet of the future makes links obsolete once and for all.