Anyone involved in SEO over the last few years knows link building has been a semi-controversial and heavily debated topic. The question is why is link-building such a hotbed issue?
Why the Controversy?
Back in the good ol’ days, SEO was easy. Links on other websites that lead users back to your site were considered a major ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, as Google took this as a signal of the relevance and reliability of your site.
Building links was as simple as submitting your website to a directory. After doing so, it was almost assured that within a week you would have yourself a fresh backlink. Unfortunately, this was very easy to manipulate and websites across the Internet tried to take advantage of this ranking factor to build their authority and move up on Google.
That is, until 2012 and Google’s Penguin update.
How Penguin Changed Everything
Google had been warning for a long time that these manipulative practices would no longer be tolerated, and in April 2012 they released the first Penguin update. The purpose of Penguin was to discourage these tactics, which resulted in a large number of websites losing their rankings and authority and having to start over in SEO. After Penguin, all “link building” had to be done organically through editorial articles and other external means that were clearly not self-generated.
Moving Forward in the New SEO Age
So how do you move forward with link building in the new era of SEO?
The most important step is to stop referring to it as link building. Link building implies that your link efforts are as easy as hammering a few nails through drywall. We prefer to think of it as “Relationship Building.”
Relationship building is all about being a good marketer. SEO is no longer about data entry and collecting back links; it’s about being a good online business. A good example is to sponsor a charitable event. The organization running the event would promote you on their website using a link, building your authority and showcasing your noble efforts to Google and your users.
Ironically, the digital age has come full circle, and the best way to “build links” is being a good business. This way when building links, you’re really building relationships, which is the ultimate signal to Google you’re ready to move up on SERP.
To find out more about how to see if your website’s SEO is keeping up with Google and building proper links, be sure to attend our next Webinar “Is Your Website’s SEO Stuck In the Past?” You can register here. As an added bonus, all attendees will be eligible for a free SEO evolution analysis.