big data seo

Link building is essentially the process of looking for websites that are willing to post links (also called backlinks) of your content. The aim of this undertaking is to get more traffic to your site and eventually boost its ranking. 

Once considered as a very effective SEO strategy, link building is now seen by some as a waste of time and money, something marketers should not even give a second thought to. To understand why this mind set came about, it is important to look at the history of link building.

Link Building’s Shaky Past

Once upon a time, SEO was rather simple. For a website to rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs), it only needed (somewhat) relevant content, keyword density, and meta tags. 

Then Google, the high and mighty search engine that it is, came up with the algorithm PageRank, which determined how good the content of a website is based on the number of incoming links it has. It seemed logical; if a lot of people referred to a certain website, then it must have helpful and valuable content, right? 

Black hat SEOs took advantage of this algorithm by buying low-quality and spam-like links, setting up link farms, engaging in link exchanges with non-relevant websites, and using article directories as a way of getting backlinks. This strategy worked; for a time, websites with a lot of inbound links lorded over the SERPs, even with subpar content. 

But Google was not to be outsmarted; it began releasing updates (Jagger, Panda, and Penguin, among others) through the years to improve search results and user experience, weeding out spam links and all other black hat link building strategies in the process. 

The algorithm updates allowed Google to determine which sites had voluminous yet low-quality backlinks. As a result, many websites lost their ranking and were even penalized. 

Why Link Building Still Works in 2021

Despite many naysayers, link building as an SEO strategy is not dead. It is still a powerful marketing effort that businesses should not discount altogether. Marketers, however, should bear in mind that a lot has changed since the early days of link building. 

Google does not care for the number of backlinks a website has. What it does care for, is the quality of these backlinks. A webpage with value-laden content and few but high-quality backlinks from reputable sources is guaranteed to trump websites with high volumes of low-quality links. 

Should you invest in enterprise link building? The short answer is yes, and here are reasons why:

  • High-quality backlinks establish your website as an authority. Backlinks from various reputable and trusted sites indicate that your website is trustworthy. This demonstrates that your brand is a leader in your chosen niche. Once you have reached this stage, you can expect even more backlinks, as people begin to put their trust in your website and your brand.
  • Building links help you expand your network. A legitimate way of building links is through outreach – this means pitching to relevant sites to promote what you have to offer, be it information, products or services. 

Over time, the connections you establish with other sites in your niche can help you build your reputation as a brand and open more opportunities for your business. 

  • Increased chances of ranking. Google – and other search engines – have high regard for authority sites. This means that authority sites rank higher than other websites. The more trustworthy your website is, the higher it ranks on the SERPs. 

Of course, there are other ranking factors to consider besides backlinks, but between two websites optimized the same way, the search engine would rank the site with high-quality links higher and the one without. 

  • Greater visibility and more traffic. The higher your website ranks and the more trustworthy it becomes as a leader in your chosen niche, the more visible it becomes to a greater audience.

As you rank higher in the SERPs, you get more organic clicks from people searching for information, products or services you offer. 

Backlinks from other trusted sites in your niche would also bring in more traffic. If people see that a website they trust links to you, they would most likely check your site out to see what it offers. 

  • More conversions and higher revenue. High SERP rankings and more traffic naturally lead to more conversions, or more people responding to your call to action (whether it is to download an app, sign up for a service, buy a product, and more).

Besides getting more sales, your website can also generate other income streams such as sponsorships, paid promotions and affiliate programs over time.

Link building is just as important a strategy today as it was before. They are arguably more difficult to build these days, but links are have never lost their value. To succeed, you must connect with your audience in a personal way. By engaging and building a relationship you’re your audience, you can earn their vote of confidence – and eventually those highly-coveted backlinks.