Can I tell you a secret? I hate link building with a capital H, A, T and E. If people involved in running a website dislike the process and I am sure many in SEO do too then there has to be a reason. Perhaps it’s the fact that if done properly, it really works. We all try our best to automate the process as much as possible using a variety of software to find websites, even the email contact itself may be an automated request to add.
Are we sure links still matter though? If you read webmaster forums you will often see the question arise “is link building still necessary?” Is building links to your website as part of an optimised search campaign for your website still the success that it used to be? I was lucky for a very long time in that I believed I didn’t need inbound links and that the content was good enough and for a duration it worked. However when you make a monumental mistake with one page element and it cannot be balanced by links inbound then things can go wrong very quickly. Keyword positions can drop over night, they did.
We might ponder why building links via an SEO service is still a worthwhile effort when it takes so much time and often a bit of wedge too. Especially when you’re advised the amount of link spam on your website is affecting your current rankings, thousands of low trust links that you simply don’t need. Finally there’s a use for that disavow file. But hang on… if the link spam works to denigrate the opposition doesn’t that mean SEO links still matter in 2018, 2019 and beyond? Why do links still matter in SEO?
We may see these links as too much of a weak card to play when demanding instant results but a link is not the same as it was ten or fifteen years ago. For as much effort as you put in to trying to get someone to get off the landing page and leave again having purchased or clicked out correctly. For as much time as you spend writing quality content to both gain extra visitors through chatter on social. There is one distinct measure all of this has in common, the internal and the inbound link.
Go ahead, win an award for your website with pretty little stars that links back to the official jury but the element that will provide your business, your website and your content with the highest award is a link from somebody who has visited or is presumed to have. It’s a recommendation. This is the entire basis of trust across the net, that a link that lets someone leave your website without leaving you a sale or lead must mean the outbound link is respected.
This is why links and the practice of link building will continue to matter now and into the future. Who cares if the link was manipulated as long as it’s meaningful, and a topic related high trust link. Search engines have done well to try and cut down on the damage that a “buy 50 million links for £1” deal does to a site, so that instead webmasters and business owners had to learn about DA and PA and go off Webmaster Tools and into private SEO report set ups who provide all the links that Google do not on their interface. I recently found 800 that Google did not list.
We all manipulate our customers, shops do it with floor plans, point of sale product positioning, advertising campaigns so it is perfectly acceptable to ask someone for a link or employ someone to find them. I am quite aware that link networks on a range of differing c class ips is very old hat but today those networks can be quite indistinguishable as in fact SEO companies bought up real websites and kept them in operation – so called evergreen content on live websites with history going back two decades.
Link building is both a defence mechanism that aids you if something else goes wrong, as well as providing a strong topic relationship and trust between websites. It is also a form of attack. A digital marketing company doesn’t just find you links, it reports on your nearest competitors for keywords and tries to equal or supersede the link values of those websites above you. There is not a single ranking factor; CTR, site speed, bounce rate that outweighs the power of backlinks from trusted websites as part of a digital marketing campaign. That’s why link building is still a huge part of a successful website’s SEO plan.
The key factor surrounding a link building campaign is the results. You won’t know if gaining certain links to your website will have an effect on ranking if you don’t try first. The problem long term is you need to keep building them but if you don’t start you’re probably going to stay where you are or worse fall lower. I write fantastic content but if no one sees it then what’s the point?
Whichever way you look at it you need to invest in some form of back linking to get your website seen and enable a rise in rank or to gain a boost in another area of one of many of the new search parameters such as rich snippets and AMP. You can still focus on social for short term and online magazines for medium term traffic. By far the best way to get traffic long term is still ranking high in search engines and those links will outlive any short term gain from a social frenzy. It’s the reason why some quality twenty year old websites have held their positions for twenty years, you’ve some catching up to do but it is a target that can be reached.