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Is lovely. He is hated. It is promoted and criticized. And in my opinion this is misrepresented and misunderstood.
Link building in general is a marketing tactic closely related to search engine optimization (SEO). The idea is simple. Build links that refer to specific pages of your website using external domains (preferably those with high authority). Allow these links to drive traffic to your pages immediately. Over time, take advantage of the increased “domain authority” these links provide and increase your chances of ranking high in search engines.
It is simple and easy to understand even by a person who is not an expert in SEO.
A checkered past
You could say that link building has a checkered past. Right from the start, Google’s search engine algorithm preferred rankings for sites that showed a high level of credibility using a system known as PageRank. In the early stages, PageRank simply calculated the authority of a site based on the number of referring links and the authority levels of the referring sources.
Aggressive practitioners worked quickly to take advantage of this, essentially spamming links to improve their rankings quickly. In this era, link building should be called a scourge on the web.
Related: The 7 Best SEO Tools To Help You Rank Higher On Google
But since then, Google has taken evasive and protective measures. The search engine now comes with algorithm changes and enhancements that can detect link quality – and penalize anyone who spammy links or jeopardizes the average user experience. Nowadays, only “good” links are rewarded.
Schemers and the modern black hat ring
Of course, that didn’t stop link schemers and other black hats, unethical SEO specialists from using bad links to raise their rankings. Google provides various link schemes which it considers a violation of its Terms of Service, such as direct exchange of money for links or the use of automated systems to create blindly links.
It doesn’t take much searching to find companies looking to build links aggressively and cheaply, no matter the content, context, or overall quality of the links. For this reason, many people have walked away with the false concept that all link building companies – and possibly all SEO specialists – are engaging in link building this way.
Related: 7 Reasons SEO Matters for Every Startup
It is not so. Most modern SEO professionals are extremely careful about link building, keeping the user experience as comfortable as possible. And all link spammers and schemers end up caught and punished.
There is also controversy due to the constant debate about earning links versus link building – even with the ethical constraints of white hat SEO as a priority in both camps.
The modern approach to white hat link building is to rely on editorial and other links as a natural byproduct of well-written, user-relevant content. In other words, writing content and making your visitors happy is priority one, and links are priority two.
Link earners suggest that these resources are still not enough and instead prefer to cultivate links only through passive earning. Typically, this means writing great content on the website, promoting it, and building relationships so that people connect with them naturally.
In fact, both approaches are natural, ethical, and effective.
Is the controversy deserved?
Here is my position. In some ways, the controversy is not deserved as link building is not always a bad strategy. But since there are so many different approaches to link building, and since there is always some confusion when it comes to the ethics of digital marketing, there is sure to be room for criticism and debate.
As far as I am concerned, link building is not a requirement if you want your website to have any chance of increasing its visibility and inbound traffic in the modern era. And since there are “good” and “bad” ways to approach link building, the link building itself shouldn’t be a target of one-sided resentment. When done properly, link building can be honest and beneficial to all parties involved.