A few years ago link building was the rave of the day and probably the single most used and abused SEO strategy – people were swapping links, buying links, selling links, and breathing links.
And for good reason – the majority of the search engines tended to award the websites that had most backlinks, no matter how these links were obtained.
Of course, this led to the development of many shady link building techniques and when irrelevant sites were always holding the top positions on the search engines, the teams that were running these search engines knew that it was time to change and improve their algorithms.
Does link building still work?
What is the situation right now? Does link building still work?
Yes, it does! Link building is still a great SEO strategy, but only when done wisely and in a natural manner. Today, the search engines tend to “count” trusted links and completely ignore links that have been gained in a questionable manner; of course, no matter how smart their algorithms are, they are still far from being perfect and there are still ways to exploit their weaknesses.
Is link building the sole factor that the search engines take into account?
Unfortunately, we might only guess the exact ways that the search engine algorithm’s work, but link building is not the only way to shoot your site to a top search engine position.
There are quite a few other factors that are likely to have an impact and some of them are the quality of your content, the age of your website, the loading speed of your pages, and the use of pop-ups or flash, among others.
It should also be noted that not all links are created equal – most webmasters and SEO experts believe that links that come from trusted sites with content similar to your own, are valued higher.
The same applies to links that are found by the search engine spiders higher in a page’s HTML code and internal links have always had less weight that external ones.
Other link building techniques that used to work pretty well in the past like posting comments on blogs with link, pointing back to your site, or having your site in your forum’s signature are pretty much obsolete now, at least as far as giving weight to your website’s search engine position goes.
The search engines are trying to adopt an advanced semantic search formulas that give relevant results to every search, but until they succeed, the link building will still be a very important part of a good SEO strategy.
A common mistake that is made by new webmasters is to expect instant benefits from building backlinks – as already mentioned older sites are typically more trusted and so are older links.
However, even if you launch a brand new site and manage to build good number of quality links, you are likely to benefit from your efforts sooner or later. As long as you don’t try to “fool” the search engines with any “dodgy” techniques and all the backlinks pointing to your site are natural, you should see a good increase in the number of targeted visitors that you are getting.
This guest post was written by Ronni Rebsdorf: Ronni is the owner of Rebsdorf Media a Danish SEO company providing on page optimization and link building for customers around the world.