A long time ago in an internet far, far away, link building was a spammy activity.
Fake guest blogging networks, sneaky 301 redirects, and links to pathetically low-quality articles -- these were just a few of the sinful ways of the black hat SEO spam artist. Enter, stage right: the Penguin update.
Penguin was Google's first major punishment for sites that engaged in such unseemly practices, and it was only the beginning. An endless procession of minor updates served to reinforce the rules Penguin put into motion: Spammy link building is out. Content is king. More content, fewer links.
These rules led many an SEO artist to abandon the link-building digital marketing strategy in favor of more content marketing. Content marketing is absolutely a strong and proven way to garner those coveted organic search rankings, but link building isn't out. Yes, it's changed. Link building cleaned up its act and mended its evil ways, and it's still a vital resource for great ranking. Here's why link building still matters.
The death of link building has been grossly exaggerated
Go back and read the digital marketing strategy predictions for 2016. Now read 2015's. And 2014's. Every year, the "experts" predict the end of link building, yet it's still here. That's because, when done right, it still works.
Link building should involve a solid mix of internal and external links, all from quality, authoritative sources, and all generated the right way. What's the "right" way? Build links by developing relevant, interesting, and informative content. Then develop new relationships and connections with the internet communities. Next, engage in smart link building campaigns with those trusted and trustworthy sources.
Google still differentiates search results based on counting links
In the very beginning, Google's search algorithm distinguished itself because it recognized and encouraged linking. This hasn't changed. What has changed is Google algorithms' ability to tell the difference between high-quality links and spammy ones.
You can still move up the search rankings with great links. Just don't expect to get away with the shady link building practices anymore.
There is no correlation between links and social likes/shares
There's somewhat of a misconception that excellent content marketing leads to more social media likes and shares, which, in turn, lead to lots of external links. In fact, there is no correlation whatsoever between links and social likes and shares, so if this sounds like your digital marketing strategy, you need to rethink it.
To gather the external links you need to be successful, it is necessary to engage in a deliberate and well-planned link building strategy that could include things like guest blogging, submitting content to directories, broken link building and a number of other tactics. Point Blank SEO's Jon Cooper details many techniques in this helpful blog post.
A key part of successful link building is having quality content to share. To learn more about using inbound marketing techniques to create and distribute targeted content, get your free copy of our eBook, Content Marketing for Marketers.
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