In the field of search engine optimization (SEO), link building revolves around attempting to increase the number of incoming links to a website or web page. Basically, a link from one website to another.
Search engines see links as the streets between pages and in the past, determined authority based upon the number of backlinks, or incoming links alone. Over time, determining authority on a given search engine became much more sophisticated.
Quality Over Quantity
SEO professionals used to be able to manipulate search engines by purchasing spammy websites and flooding their sites with links. With Google on the forefront, complex algorithms were devised by search engines that measured trust, spam and authority within backlinks. Now, webmasters must focus on the quality of backlinks and carefully acquire them.
How Relevant is Link Building Today?
Just last week, Google’s John Mueller gave an interesting answer to a question on the importance of link building in a Google+ hangout.
He was asked, “Is link building in any way good?” Here is his full response:
That is a good question.
In general, I’d try to avoid that.
So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.
We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.
That’s straight from Google. He just kind of shrugs off the practice of link building and lumps it in as an one of the many important factors in achieving PageRank.
The Importance of Content and Social Shares
As Mueller mentions above, quality and easy-to-link-to content is very important. Although, the end result of attracting high quality links is important, the process involves creating relevant, informative content on your website. That is the first step. Any SEO company that obsesses over link building before a content strategy is stuck in the past and probably has spammy practices up their sleeve.
Since roughly 2011, the rise in social media and social sharing has had a profound impact on search. Although the social media results don’t always appear on Google’s first page, there is no doubt that a brand with a large social circle is more likely to be seen as authoritative on search engines.
Social shares still aren’t as superior as a quality backlink, at least in the eyes of a search engine. But, the influence and reach content can achieve on social media platforms has skyrocketed.
To summarize the question, “how does link building affect SEO?” – A link building campaign, if done correctly can increase your website’s authority on search engines. However, the strategies of creating high-quality content and an influential social circle now have just as much power as backlinks and should be implemented first, as a means to achieving more links.
Contact our SEO experts at Thoughtwire, 800-367-2470, for a content and Social Media strategy that will help you become authoritative and achieve high search engine ranking.