Link Building has long been one of the pillars of quality SEO work. In the early days of search engine optimization, practices like link farming, or purchasing links were standard and many companies employed them to help their website build authority and drive traffic. In fact, many companies still admit to purchasing links in order to help boost their site’s rankings. However, Google has cracked down on practices like these, and have penalized users and sites who employ these strategies in order to gain traffic. If you’ve been wondering how much links matter for your SEO and what you should be doing to maximize the potential of link building, keep reading to learn more!
Webmaster Hangout Notes
John Mueller recently set down in a Google Webmaster Hangout to answer questions from search engine optimizers about Google’s practices. One user asked John about the value of link’s and what they can do to help increase their site’s rankings using them. His answer to the user who asked is that oftentimes when people come to the Google forums wondering why their site has stopped ranking and he looks at it with his team, they find that the content on the site is not up to par in terms of containing unique, high-quality content. He said that often he finds that the users who find that their sites aren’t ranking well don’t even mention the content they want to rank for on their pages. He stressed that it’s important to monitor the search queries for your industry and try to create content that revolves around the popular inquiries that you want to be found for. As far as link building is concerned, he mentioned that while links are a ranking factor, they are far from the only one, and if you focus too heavily on trying to build links, you will allow creating quality content to fall to the wayside, which will hurt your site’s rankings far more than building links would help it. With so many ranking factors to consider, it is bad practice to focus too heavily on any one aspect of optimization.
The Continued Value of Link Building
While John wants to make sure users don’t focus too heavily on a single aspect of optimization, it is important to remember that link building is still a very important factor for your site’s rankings. If you have the capacity to network with other people within your industry and work together to create inbound-and-outbound links, you could give your site a leg up on the competition. The problem with focusing too much on link building is that often the best practices happen organically, from two parties that have something to gain from the interaction. For one party, linking to a piece of quality content may be relevant and useful for their reader-base, while for the creator of the content, the link helps drive traffic to their website from users who otherwise wouldn’t have known about the content. In these interactions lie the best kind of link building; the kind that happens completely organically, without any need to pay a company to farm links for you. If you have the capacity to build these relationships within your industry, it will certainly help your site to grow. However, if you cannot devote time and energy to trying to build links with outside companies, focusing on creating great content will take you a long way on your journey to the first page!