The term “link building” is synonymous with search engine optimization. It’s been a practice in SEO for years, and it appears to be one of the most popular strategies. This is not surprising since it is one of the factors attributed to high rankings.
We know link building has always been important, but is it still as relevant now as it always has been? What about in the near future; will links still hold the same value as they do now? We are going to investigate the current trends of search engine optimization and marketing tactics to find out if they are still the ultimate tool.
What are links and link building?
Hyperlinks are one of the many ways we can browse the Internet. They are embedded in a webpage, and they provide a means to get to another, usually related, webpage. Once you click a hyperlink, you will be redirected elsewhere.
Link building is the foremost tactic in the realm of search engine marketing. The method is primarily concerned with building up your ranking on Google so that you will become more relevant in search results. The basics of this practice are this: you acquire links from other websites and connect them back to yours.
Google uses these and crawls, or scans, web pages. This allows Google to rank the pages, so you only get the most relevant content for your chosen search terms. This is why building high-quality hyperlinks is so vital to most SEO professionals.
Low-Quality vs. High-Quality
Since we now know Google uses hyperlinks to crawl web pages, we know Google is also trying to decipher which ones are high quality and which ones are not. This makes your ability to create excellent links of the utmost importance.
Low-quality ones are usually harmful to the ranking of your website. They often fall in line with black-hat, or shady, SEO practices. A low-quality link typically comes from a site that Google has determined is untrustworthy or suspicious. These can bring your ranking down significantly. They should generally be avoided.
On the other hand, high-quality links are the only ones that you want to have on your webpages. They are generally from sites that Google has ensured are high quality and contain relevant content. When acquiring links, you want to ensure that you are getting high-quality ones.
One factor that will determine if this practice is still currently relevant is the advantages, disadvantages, and alternatives to this process. Most experts would agree that this process comes with a lot of benefits if done correctly.
The first one is increased traffic to your site, which is the primary goal of SEO. Not only does it increase traffic, but it improves the quality of the traffic and if those users will want to return to your site.
The more traffic you drive to your website, the better ranking your site will have. Google will also index your site more quickly. All of these advantages will overall increase awareness and credibility with your website.
Even though this process is highly effective at increasing traffic, there can be some significant disadvantages if it is not done correctly. These disadvantages could also determine if link building is relevant to the future of SEO.
One critical disadvantage is that truthfully it is a time-consuming process and can take years to see real results. Most SEO pros would agree that this process is the most challenging part of their job. If you are hoping to see immediate results from backlinking, then you will need to reshape your frame of mind to the long term goals.
Another disadvantage is that sometimes reciprocal links may take away some of your traffic. Users may find a link on your page, click it, and see a more relevant page to their chosen search term. This is a double-edged sword, because you may also take traffic from other sites using reciprocal links.
If you have any inbound links that are deemed untrustworthy by Google, then you may be bringing your site ranking down significantly. This is one of the most harmful factors about backlinking since keeping your page ranking high is the initial goal. Low-quality ones can be detrimental to your search ranking. They can also go undetected unless actively filtered out.
“Link Building is Still Relevant”
The truth is, most experts argue that this strategy is still relevant today. There are some others that claim maybe SEO will be headed in a different direction before too long. We are going to break down both opinions and see for ourselves how valuable we think this SEO strategy is.
Link building is still the most crucial factor in determining your site’s Google page rank. Maintaining your website’s page rank is vital to your site becoming authoritative. Authority is the key in terms of Google search results. The number authority sites that connect back to yours will help determine your page ranking.
The number of domains connecting back to your website matters as well. For example, it is better to have ten different links from ten different domains rather than ten from one domain. Although link building has changed over time, the consensus appears to be that it is still valuable.
If you have more high-quality ones versus low quality, then your site can maintain its page rank. The days of linking to many different spam content pages and click-bait articles are pretty well behind us since Google started cracking down on these black hat practices.
“Link Building is Not the Future of SEO”
On the other hand, there are a few experts that claim the days of valuable link building are over. This may not be a popular opinion to some SEO experts, but some argue that creating the best possible user experience is the future of SEO marketing.
Creating a great user experience is based on identifying the user’s needs and evaluating “search intent”. This will encourage the user to keep coming back to your site. This also makes your site more authoritative to that user. By creating excellent, trustworthy, and accurate content, you will increase the user experience rating.
Some experts argue that the ultimate key to SEO is creating high-quality content that users want. This strategy is often listed under the white hat practices for link building.
After considering the factors involved in link building and SEO marketing tactics, we would argue it is still one of the most valuable and relevant strategies in 2019. We can be reasonably sure that this practice is not going away any time soon.
We also agree that the SEO practices can change rapidly. Creating a fantastic user experience is also a critical factor in marketing, and maintaining a high page ranking. Regardless of what you choose to focus on, a combination of engaging content, high-quality connections, and positive user experience are all critical in SEO marketing.