Although it’s still a ranking factor, link building is not what it used to be.
It doesn’t carry the same weight as it once did, and the guidelines for proper link building have changed considerably.
Prior to April 2012, before Google’s Penguin update came out, ranking positions could pretty much be “bought”. You could purchase links from a “link farm” and literally have hundreds of links to your website in a matter of days at a very reasonable cost.
These websites that host your link may not have contained any relevant or useful information at all, but it really didn’t matter. Websites that had an enormous amount of links linking back to them quickly rose to the top of the search results. It was a spammer’s paradise.
But, thanks to the Google Penguin update, buying links in bulk is a thing of the past. The update is essentially a spam filter that is part of Google’s core algorithm, and it works in real time. Link building is still important for SEO, but now it’s all about the content and the user experience. It has to be quality content that is relevant to your website, thus enhancing the overall user experience. If you hurt the user experience, Google will limit your organic traffic growth and you will not likely see any positive ranking results.
Before you start building links, here are some important things to think about first:
– Does your website offer valuable, unique content? If it doesn’t, no amount of link building will help, and finding someone who will link to your website will be difficult.
– Does the website that your link is on have quality content? Is it relevant to your website? Is it a new website or has it been around for a while? The more reputable the website, the better.
– Are there technical errors or messages on either your website, or the website hosting your link? Technical errors are frowned upon by Google, as it harms user experience, which in turn will hurt your rankings.
– Are there other links (or ads) on their website from trusted companies? Are they spammy in nature, such as gambling websites or male enhancing products? Avoid linking with these sites, or you will surely be flagged and penalized by Google.
Proper link building is time consuming and should not be rushed or carelessly overlooked. Taking your time will make all the difference in terms of your website’s ranking and SEO efforts. For another great read on link building, click here.