We get a lot of questions about link building. Links are the number one way that web crawlers crawl websites and the best way to increase your rankings in the SERPs. However, as important as they are, they are an extremely difficult subject to broach for SEOs.
The reason is that as important as good links are to an SEO campaign, they are also the number one reason that websites get penalized by Google. This is because links are extremely volatile to spam. Over the years black hat SEOs have found ways to build and manipulate links through mass spam.
At first, these tactics worked. Google’s algorithm simply counted links as votes. The more votes that your website had, the higher up in the SERPs your website would rank. After that came anchor text manipulation. SEOs would spam the anchor text (in other words, the keyword that they would like to rank for) in order to rank high in search engines.
Google has gotten smart on all of these techniques and has handed out harsh de-indexing penalties to compensate them. We found a video from a Miami SEO company based out downtown Miami who put together an amazing video on link building techniques (we embed the video below).
Essentially, these Miami SEO gurus teach us a lot in the ways to properly build links. Here are the highlights:
Stop building links, start earning links
If you are building links, the chances are they are spam. I mean, think about it. The actual term “link building” implies that you are manually building links. That means submissions, comments, profiles, etc are a waste of your time. Not only do they not count for as much link juice as before, but they could potentially harm your website. The only types of links you want are links that occur organically. For example, the links in the very article are earned links. We found a great piece of content written by a company and in order to make it better for our readers, we included in a link in this article for their benefit.
Links from private networks and link building services are getting hammered quickly. Google is currently on a rampage de indexing PBN websites and destroying everything in their path. They want to crush anything and everything associated with this practice. If you hired an SEO company or built some of these links for yourself over the past couple of years, it’s best to reach out to the webmasters to remove the links. If your website gets caught with some of these links, it could be de indexed along with the network. Google has done a great job picking up on the algorithm and tendencies of PBN websites, and the days in the sun are over. Bottom link: DON’T BUILD LINKS!
The bottom line is if you’re an SEO, you already know and understand that we work in an ever changing landscape. If I was writing this article 3 years ago I may be writing about the importance of building high quality links. It’s not 3 years ago. While yes, links still count (a lot) they are decreasing in their importance.
You should now focus on creating great, clean and shareable content that generates inbound links naturally, not paid or forced. This is a major undertaking, but should be taken very seriously if you would like to stay out of Google’s crosshairs.