As always, there are a lot of different opinions about link building across the web. There are still those who offer ways to “dominate” links with schemes that push the boundaries of what Google allows and some who are beginning to completely write off link building as a practice.
It is a bit hasty to completely do away with your linking efforts, as they are certainly still a consideration by the search engines. But, we also live in an entirely different linking climate than that of just a couple years (or months) ago. Moderation and quality are the key words in the link building discussion these days, and it is important to know when someone is giving bad advice.
If only you explicitly knew what link building tactics you should just not do, right? Erin Everhart from Search Engine Land offers just that with her article from last week laying out exactly what linking techniques we can just cut out of our routines, and how to pinpoint when people are trying to give you bad advice.
Of course, it all starts with discussing that special word “quality,” which is now the most important factor in all your link building efforts. Google no longer cares if you have countless links to your site, if none of them are reputable. Actually, they do care. They will penalize your site for trying to use bad links to boost your profile. Natural, quality links from sites people actually read are the only way to get positive results from your link building, and anything else is just as likely to hurt you.
In the vein of quality over quantity, mass article submission is almost as bad as farming huge numbers of shoddy links. Its the obvious successor to the new “content is king” mantra everyone is espousing now, as those who were directly gaining scores of low quality links turned to submitting the same weak article to hundreds of different sites.
Of course, there are other link problems aside from link farming in various manners. Though it has become less popular after Penguin, there are still backlink profiles out there with higher exact-match anchor text percentages than their company name. Anchor text is still very important, but there is no reasonable scenario in which you should end up with that high of a percentage. You need way fewer exact-match links than you did a couple years ago, so just follow the rule of moderation.
Guest blogging is even becoming a problem. There are so many sites hiring “article writers” who churn out 10 to 15 articles a day that the tactic has become yet another link building scheme. Instead of outright buying links, they are buying writers to build them cheap links. Guest blogging can be great when done correctly, but you have to take the time to ensure they know a lot about the industry they represent and will provide value to your site.
There are even more link building tactics still happening right now despite Google’s best efforts to shut down the more spammy efforts. Everhart covers a few more in her article, but the main point is that any good-natured SEO tactic can be corrupted and used to try to trick the search engines, the problem is Google and Bing have gotten much smarter, and they will almost always catch you if you try to outwit them. Play be the rules, and give your sites the attention they need, but don’t try to play the system.