There have been many articles and comments about the practice of link building, with some SEOs claiming that link building is dead, while others clinging to it. While links remain one of the most important factors for earning high ranking positions, whether or not link building is dead is not the question: link building is not dead.
In fact, if you follow up the point they’re making, they’re mostly referring to the practices of yesteryear of link building, rather than the technique in its entirety. Also, some argue that since there are many other signals that go into ranking factors relating to links, the term ‘link-building’ is restrictive and limiting.
Link building has a bad past
While this is true, the term is merely just a term, and its definition has changed with the algorithmic changes. The definition ten years ago is vastly different from its definition now, but it is still significantly important to high rankings on organic search results.
It is also valid that link-building has a negative connotation owing to the practice of spamming and unnatural building that was rife in earlier years before Google’s Penguin algorithm came to tighten the ship. This however does not make link-building synonymous with spamming any more than having thieves on the earth makes all humans thieves.
Link building is continuously evolving
There are webmasters that were building links properly even before Google existed. What is to be said of them, if we were to kill off the term? Building high quality links is still necessary, and what users and webmasters need is to be educated on the new meanings of link-building, to remove the subjective stigma surrounding the term.
Rather than talk about its death, it our job as SEOs in today’s world to redefine it to our clients by providing methods that are in line with correct application of the practice for SEO purposes. The answer does not lie in changing its name just to get rid of the shadowy past, which many people no longer associate it with. Rebranding at this point would only create a mass of confusion for clients as well as users.
It’s accurate to say that links will always be an important part of Google’s factors for site relevance assessment. With this in mind, what we need is to keep updating our definitions of the term with the currently acceptable definitions. Link building is not its past – it is what it is at this point.