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Is Link Building a Good Idea for SEO?

Link building was once a universally acclaimed SEO strategy, but now its benefits are being debated.

Back before the Penguin update, a good link building strategy with lots of volume could easily get you to the top of the SERPs. Today, things are much less straightforward. Google can detect the “quality” and relevance of the links you build on external domains, and might penalize you if you don’t meet their quality standards. Even some of Google’s own team members have gone so far to say that link building should be avoided in general.

With that being said, is link building even a good idea or strategy for SEO?

Link Building Today

The short answer is yes, but there are several kinds of link building:

  • Direct, “traditional” link building. This method employs the use of comment-based link building, like constructing dedicated anchors with no contextual relevance.
  • Value-add link building. This method employs the use of guest blogs or other content to “frame” the link in question, making it contextually relevant and valuable to readers.
  • Viral link building. This method uses virally circulating content to naturally attract the links that matter.

First, understand that inbound links are necessary if you want to rank in SEO—without links, you’ll have no authority, and you won’t rank. It’s that simple. How you get those links is up to you.

Which Strategy Is Best?

Traditional link building is out. Building links wantonly, without a contextual grounding, is basically asking Google for a penalty. Avoid building links this way, no matter what, and avoid any SEO firms who recommend this strategy to you.

The other two forms of modern link building—value-add and viral—are completely appropriate. As long as you’re keeping your readers’ interests at heart, Google will have no reason to penalize you, and every link you build will add value to your site. To put it simply, yes, link building is still a good idea for SEO (and might even be necessary, depending on how many other links you can naturally attract), but only if you do it correctly.

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