Years ago, link building was the thing to do if you wanted your website to be found. Much of how a site was ranked in search was based on how many backlinks it had and to a point, it still is. Search engines reasoned that those with the more sites linking to them must have fairly good authority and ranked them highly because of it.
Soon it became common practice for marketers to focus on generating as many linkbacks to their own website as possible. Tools like Scrapebox made creating hundreds or thousands of links possible in minutes. Search engines wised up and began including far more elements in their ranking algorithms than simply linkbacks and the importance of building links became less.
While a recent study by Moz found that backlinks are still important, the practice of building links for SEO is dead. Here’s why it needs to be laid to rest.
Lots Of Work, Little Gain
Back when actively building backlinks was big, people would search the web for places to create a link. WordPress and Blogger sites were prime targets as the open comments allowed for quick and easy creation of links. We’d check to see the PageRank of the particular page we’d be linking from and the higher, the better. Link building became such big business that many would offer it as a service. Agencies would sell clients on building X number of links for Y price. High PR links were worth more as they general have more power to raise the rank of the page they’re linking to. You could buy 10 PR 4 or better links for $20 everywhere.
The problem was these pages quickly became filled with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of garbage links. The search engines quickly identified these pages being pummeled and soon, adding your own to it did little to help boost your rank.
Along came nofollow links which made comments with a link worthless for a search boost.
The link builders had to try harder to find and create links as they died as quickly as they were created. Link building became a constant task that got you little gain and even when you would see a bit of boost, it would quickly go away unless you were working to create more links day and night. The smart folks quickly realize that there was a better way.
If You Build It, They Will Link
The way to get hundreds or even thousands of backlinks is simple. Create something people actually want to link to. Link building started in a time when there wasn’t social media and other methods of getting your content seen other than search. That’s no longer the case.
Where previously a new page would have little way to be found and require either link building or waiting for its search rank to rise organically, we can now publish a new page and the same day drive thousand of visits through social media. The internet has shifted and great pages can now be found far far quicker (and crappy ones too for that matter).
Rather than wasting time building links to a page, I can invest a fraction of the effort in creating a quality piece and promote it with social, email, and other traffic drivers and the same day you can have countless people linking back to that piece and promoting it on social too. The amount of traffic these sources can drive far exceed anything you can do with link building with 100x the time investment. And the search engines are take these social signals as ranking signs too just link links so you gain in search too. It’s a double benefit from creating something people actually want to see rather than focusing on the links foremost.
Link Building Is Dead
Link building in the traditional sense is dead. Quality content has replaced it as a way to drive far more traffic, far faster. Stop thinking about how you’re going to build links and put your energy into building great content and social instead. Sweet social success will bring about far more links than in all your days spent building.