Not too long ago, link-building practices were dominating the behavior of search engines, often levitating spam-driven websites to the top pages of organic results. Any amateur link-builder could create absolutely purposeless dumps of content, label them as ‘articles’ and ‘blogs’, and create a bazillion unnatural links to manipulate search rankings. All in all, most marketers were simply hunting numbers, without much emphasis on the quality of links. Link building, though effective at improving rankings, seldom added long-term value to the website.
The Turning Point
Google, on April 24, 2012, rolled out Penguin 2.0, bringing a landslide change to organic search placements of all English language websites. The update, which was a major blow for websites riding on low quality backlinks, gave importance to the age-old mantra of creating links on the basis of merit and uniqueness. Consequently, millions of websites lost their prized search positions, and many others were simply delisted. Google had cracked down on spam, big time!
First and foremost, link building is not dead and is an integral element of search engine optimization. Most SEO critics suggest marketers to avoid link building. In fact, many newcomers in the world of online marketing refrain from any and all link building possibilities. Ironically, neither SEO critics nor budding online marketers could read between the finer lines encrypted in all the updates so far released by Google.
Let us look at some of the facts to validate the claim and elaborate the real value of creating backlinks, if done right.
Enhance Your Network
If you think link building is for spammers and scammers, think again. Offering or requesting a link is neither manipulative nor a scheme. There is nothing more ‘natural’ than reaching out to webmasters or blog editors of relevant online entities and expand your network, which eventually adds to the search receptiveness of your website and needless to elaborate the effect of the increased exposure on brand recognition and acceptance.
Get Over ‘Build It and They Will Come’ Ideology
So, you have created a fantastic website blog post on the latest trends in your industry, but what’s the certainty that it’ll get noticed? This is where link building can help you out. You can promote your content by linking it to relevant online platforms, which multiplies the probability of it being noticed and shared by readers. It may also drive additional views and shares, both of which eventually narrow down to conversions.
Amplify Your Presence
There are instances when your blog may be noticed, read and shared, but not followed. It is good to have a dedicated group of readers who follow, comment and share your blogs on social media. You, however, need to exercise caution while using blogging and make sure you adhere to the quality guidelines laid out by Google. For instance, if the embed code of a blog post that you provided to a site has a hidden link that directs back to your site, it may cause a problem.
Though there have been changes in value of authoritative guest blogging from an SEO perspective, the strategy is still laudably effective. Focus on sharing high quality content to targeted audience, leveraging as many avenues as possible. If you are able to create and share well-researched share-worthy content without any link baiting, the links gained are sure to improve your website’s search placement.
Link building, against all debates, is still an effective tool to improve the organic rankings of webpages. The impact, however, completely depends on the quality of links. If you create backlinks using insightful content with ‘real-world’ applications, your initiatives are sure to do wonders for the search placement of your website. On the flipside, practices such as buying links and participating in link exchange programs are almost certain to spell doom.