Is link building dead? A question I’m asked to answer on average, once per week. Short answer is no.
Link building is not dead, it’s only changed. Google’s algorithm still relies heavily on links as one of its SEO ranking factors. As an SEO Company, it’s important that we’re up to date on this information. Over the last couple years, Google has made numerous major updates to its algorithm. These updates and/or filters are designed to enhance the user experience and continue to display the most relevant content to the search term. The most notable updates were Panda & Penguin, these updates were designed to target spam websites that have poor or thin content and/or those that have unnatural links. For this article we’re going to focus on link building and save the topic of content for a future post.
In years past, link building was much easier. SEO companies identified multiple ways to build links, as long as they had “some” or even “little” relevance, Google would pay attention and you’d raise your clients ranking on the search engines. SEO companies would primarily focus their attention on a handful of high relevant local directories, online web directories, SEO specific directories, article submissions, PR submissions, social bookmarking and blog baiting as a link building tactic. We’ll admit it, we also used some of these techniques in the past because they worked. What really sets a good SEO company apart from the others is how they adapt. As Google changes the algorithm, any good SEO company adapts their link building strategy. The problem is there are many SEO companies that still to this day, use these tactics.
We have heard time and time again “their SEO used to be good”, we attribute this quote to “one trick ponies”. These are SEO companies that knew a little on-page but relied heavily on mass link building of links mentioned above but that was about it. When those link building tactics didn’t work as well, you end up with a number of SEO companies that are just treading water and trying to figure out how to game the system again. I can tell you, you’re not smarter than Google. If you haven’t drastically changed the way you approach SEO in the last 2 years, you shouldn’t position yourself as an SEO company.
As I mentioned, link building has changed. When approaching link building in todays SEO world, you first start with one question. Are you running a local SEO or national SEO camgaign? Your link building techniques vary greatly whether your’e targeting national or local, one thing will remain the same. Quality. The quality of your link is more important that the quantity. If you focus your energy on building high relevant links for quality websites, Google will take notice and reward those efforts.
A word of advice, if you’re looking for an SEO company and they tell you that they’re focusing on mass link submissions (100, 300, 500, etc) monthly. You’re setting yourself up for failure, this is not an effective link building strategy and certainly isn’t doing you any favors for future success. These are your churn and burn operations that focus on new business versus setting their clients up for success for years to come.