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  • Is Link Building Dead? Yes & No. Here's Why.

    Is Link Building Dead? Yes & No. Here’s Why.

    You want search engines to reward your website for its unique content by listing it on their first page of search results.

    But it can take a very long time to rank and sometimes it may feel like your link building isn’t working.

    Understanding these intricacies of SEO is the secret to ensuring that your digital marketing efforts are worthwhile and will pay off in the long-term.

    SEO link building is an area that still remains relevant.

    Today, link building is to deliberately seek out and follow up on potential opportunities to get your website and content in front of an extended audience. These links are an ambassador for your website content and take it ahead for success.

    To succeed, you need a website that is worth linking to, which comes down to developing compelling content. No webmaster would want to link your website unless it offers real value to their visitors.

    Link building is a targeted marketing tactic that disseminates your content far and wide, and it certainly isn’t dead. Links are still considered a vote of confidence, and gaining their customer or audience’s trust is a skill that any successful and thriving business wants to master.

    What Exactly Is Link Building And Why Does It Matter?

    Why Link Building Matter

    Link building is the process of getting other websites to hyperlink to your website. Their visitors hopefully click on those links to navigate their way to your site.

    It is essentially a method of generating links from several different websites that direct their traffic to your site. The quality of these backlinks (i.e., if they are originating from a high-quality website) also helps search engines ascertain the value and authority your site offers.

    There are various techniques and strategies to build links. While they differ in difficulty, all digital marketers tend that link building is can quite challenging.

    But they do it anyway because these backlinks show Google that you have produced unique content that provides value to the readers and that other websites are also benefitting from.

    Since it’s the search engine’s job to ensure that its users get timely, relevant, and actionable content, it understands that your site is worth showing in the top search results on the first page.

    And isn’t that the ultimate goal of good SEO?

    It is hard for businesses to earn organic search rankings from their digital platforms. If you want your audience to find your site quickly, you require organic search traffic. And what better to find these visitors than by getting backlinks from other quality sites in your niche?

    However, getting authoritative and quality backlinks is easier said than done.

    Basics of Link Building

    The key is not to get many links because Google will penalize your website for trying to pay your way through link building. It can tell if your backlinks originate at a sub-par, dubious website that thousands of other pages are linked to.

    So, it’d be better to focus on the quality of those links and build a superior link profile one outreach email at a time.

    You’ll have to reach out to credible sources and reliable websites in your industry, write for them, do interviews, or find other ways to provide value to their visitors. And in return, they’ll let you leave a link or two and might ask for some backlinks.

    You see how time-consuming and challenging link building can be when done, right?

    At present, Google evaluates every link individually to determine its worth in terms of search rankings. So you’ll have to go about it very carefully.

    But before you get started, make sure you thoroughly understand these basics of link building:

    Anchor Text

    Tips for Optimizing and Placing Anchor Text

    Anchor text is any clickable text in a hyperlink. It should be clear and precise, so anyone clicking it knows where it’ll take them. In the case of search engines, anchor text offers context and relevance of the content or item that has been linked.


    For context, it is vital to know and understand that merely anchor text can’t determine your link’s value. You need to gauge the text that surrounds your link. Also, you need to question yourself if your link aligns with your content naturally. Your link should also add value and have contextual relevance to the content of your website.


    Like authority, your link’s source is part of Google’s assessment criteria. Make sure that the source of your hyperlink increases or provides value to your website visitors. For instance, if you have a website for home improvement, fast food website links will not be relevant and helpful.


    Variety adds significantly improves and enhances your overall link-building efforts. Google evaluates your several links’ multiplicity and gauges them to identify if they are from the same or different domains. As a general rule of the thumb in link building, the more diverse domains you obtain, the better it is.

    Therefore, it is imperative for you to collect various links from different domains to help you with your link building.

    Numerous white hat link-building tactics help your website secure its place in organic search results. High-quality content essentially enables you to generate multiple links and references. Positive mentions are indispensable for businesses that sell products/services.

    Why Is Link Building Not Dead?

    Why Is Link Building Not Dead

    In September, Google declared changes in how they evaluate and crawl links. They added two new attributes and evolved how they treat the “nofollow” attribute. Link builders are required to attribute all paid links as either “sponsored” or “nofollow” to avoid penalties. So is link building actually dead?

    You see, link building isn’t dead, but many marketers mistakenly think so because it has changed. There isn’t room to use quick tactics like posting to web directories, SEO article directories, blog post submissions, PR submissions, social bookmarking, and link baiting.

    All marketers used these techniques in the past because of the simple fact that they worked. But now, as Google changes its algorithm, it’s essential to tweak your strategies right alongside it.

    But is link building still valuable?

    Here are some of the reasons why we think the answer is yes.

    Builds Authority

    Building and acquiring backlinks is one of the most predominant practices in search engine optimization (SEO) practices. They hint to Google that your site is helpful, relevant, and provides high-quality content on a specific topic.

    Of course, Google has mastered the ability to recognize spam and irrelevant links. This has compelled marketers to take the following factors into consideration when selecting a backlink for their sites:

    • Link score. Google determines the link score based on each inbound link’s quality score and the number of backlinks that direct to your website. In other words, both the quality and quantity of the links are paramount. If your site has many links from third-rated, shady sources, your rankings will be adversely affected.
      You can’t scam Google by obtaining links from a similar domain, as it uses only one of them to evaluate your link score. Therefore, to have a good link score, it is vital for you to acquire various quality links from different domains.
    • Anchor text. Don’t overlook this aspect, as this is also one of the indicators that Google leverages for search ranking. Specifically, you need to use a string of descriptive and relevant words to the page you want to link to instead of merely using anchor text that is generic. To perform anchor text optimization, make sure that you use different anchor types like unique text, branded text, naked URLs, exact match anchor text, partial match anchor, and long-tail anchor text. It is essential to strike the right balance.
    • Content. Understandably, for you to draw up high-quality, authority links that direct to your site, the content you produce should be fresh, unique, relevant, and helpful. Long story short, your content has to be exceptional.

    However, apart from offering quality content, it is also vital to have an effective content strategy in place. In other words, it is essential to know and understand the why and how elements or the purpose of your content management, creation, and curation. Essentially, you need to produce content for your audience and optimize it.

    Helps Marketers Leverage The Power Of Social Media

    Helps Marketers Leverage The Power Of Social Media

    Even though Gary Illyes, webmaster trend analyst in Google, states that search engines don’t take or consider the indicators from social media. Use social media to make the most of your likes and shares on digital platforms and boost your search rankings with social engagement.

    Social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, as you know, play a dominant role when it comes to content distribution, which ultimately helps you drive engagement.

    Naturally, if your content has many shares and likes, your website will get a considerable amount of website traffic. And Google does take your site traffic into consideration to rank the websites. Of course, to incorporate your SEO efforts and social media, which includes link building, your work has to be accurately defined and precise.

    In the same manner, you can reach and partner with well-known social influencers, interact with them and gain backlinks via different social media platforms.

    Increase Visibility And Exposure For Websites

    Natural backlinks to your site help you expand your reach significantly, increase your site’s dependability, and make sure that it is more visible.

    Basically, from Google’s standpoint, backlinks that direct to your website signify that other credible sources are willing to vouch for your content and overall website’s quality, uniqueness, and relevance. They are actual signals to search engines that indicate that your website is trustworthy and that your website will provide value to visitors. Eventually, this prompts search engines to rank your website higher.

    Link building is an effective way to direct your traffic to compelling, targeted content and promote it across multiple channels that will attract links and shares. As a result, you’ll see an increase in your website’s recognition, visibility, popularity, and integrity.

    Does Link Building Still Work?

    If you want your website to rank it on the top pages on popular search engines, determine how to obtain authority links correctly (e.g. naturally attracting them or through outreach for broken links).

    It is imperative to work hard and produce valuable content to promote it extensively and boost your organic rankings.

    Also, avoid naysayers of link building because it isn’t dead.

    In fact, it is just as effective as ever, albeit a little different than it used to be.

    Today’s manual backlink building process includes:

    • Direct outreach to quality publishers (not just paid links from link farms, PBNs or guest post sites)
    • Broken link building efforts for sourcing new placements
    • The creation of quality content that attracts links and shares
    • Regular content updates to existing content assets

    Let Us Help You Build Links that Rank!

    Let us help you build links that adhere to Google’s webmaster guidelines with our expert backlink service today.

    Or, if you’re a DIY-er, check out our ultimate guide to SEO link building.

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter