The Link Building Debate: To Build or not to Build

The age-old debate about link building is back. The world of search engine optimisation changes all the time, and experts are again discussing the merits of link building. Link building has been a major part of SEO campaigns for quite some time, and some businesses see great results with this tactic. But, like other SEO tactics, is this strategy fading into the past?

Google Suggests a Content-First Approach

Part of the reason SEO techniques are always changing is because Google is always changing. Most recently, the search engine has favored natural links from quality websites as well as quality content. These updates don’t necessarily mean an end to link building, but they could mean an end to the way businesses execute link-building strategies.

Matt Cutts, a Google employee, says that people need to approach link building from a content-first perspective. When marketers create great content, people will want to link to it, creating a natural link building system and helping good content float to the top of Google search results. Earned links are better than spammy links. When quality sites link to your website in ways that are natural and make sense, Google is more likely to rank your site higher.

Pure Link Building can Narrow Your Focus and Hurt Relationships

If your business focuses too intently on link building, it could miss other opportunities or create a less-extensive strategy. Link building should be a part of an SEO strategy, but it shouldn’t be the entire strategy. When you put all of your efforts into link building, you forget other tactics, you run out of resources and in short, you aren’t as successful as you could be.

Another negative consequence of heavy link building, or link building incorrectly, is that you can harm relationships that could otherwise benefit your brand. When your conversations with site owners or bloggers is centered on links, you risk your reputation. A much better approach is to talk to these people about what is best for their sites, how you can help them and what their audience needs. This results in high-quality content and better relationships that will help your business in a variety of ways.

Link Building can be Stronger with Other Marketing Tactics

Link building can be powerful on its own, but it can be even more powerful when it is combined with other digital marketing strategies like guest blogging, social media, blogging and landing pages. When you look at link building as a complimentary part to your other marketing tactics, it will be more likely to help, not hurt your marketing efforts.

Much like the idea that quality content should come before link building, this idea can also help you bolster other parts of your campaign. Instead of getting lost in counting links and watching page ranks, you can think creatively and find even more ways to reach your markets and the search rankings will still come.

Link building is still a vital part of search engine optimisation, but the consensus on the best way to do it may be changing. Even Google seems to suggest that search rankings aren’t just about links, but about quality content. To reap the benefits of this link building, combine it with quality content and other marketing tactics.