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The Current State of Link Building in SEO & What To Expect in 2016

Business.com / Business Intelligence / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Are you still doing the same link building you were doing last year, or the year before that? It might be time to rethink your strategy.

The definition of link building has always been the same, but the process of acquiring these links has changed vastly in the recent times, just like many other things have changed over the past few years.

Being able to explore an underground park or travel from place to place on the beloved hoverboard scooters are opportunities that have arisen in the last year alone, and among these changing times is the seemingly-endless world of link building in search engine optimization (SEO).

Are you still doing the same link building you were doing last year, or the year before that?

It may be time to rethink the strategies you have put in place to ensure that the significant changes in the world of link building will not put your website in the position of a possible penalty.

As we know, link building is the process of getting external websites to link to a page on your website. These links are then crawled, or seen, by a search engine and these links are factored into the search engine’s ranking algorithms.

Related Article: Why Links Will Always Matter in SEO Marketing

Thankfully there are a number of case studies and link building guides available to individuals seeking guidance in the SEO link building world that allow us to understand these practices, and apply them into our own websites.

However, I wanted to talk about how link building has evolved and what this year may look like in the world of SEO link building.

Link Building is Becoming Much More Personal

In the recent times we have witnessed the term “link building” take many forms.

Names such as: Relationship Building and Link Earning are hot topics that can be found circulating the SEO world, in fact Anthony Randall wrote up a rather interesting piece on the irrelevancy of these link building aliases, because in the end it is still just building links.

However, link building has come a long way over the past few years, and this is what we need to look at. With search engines, like Google, constantly changing the way they rank and de-rank websites in the search results, many old link building best practices should be avoided in 2016.

Simply filling the Internet with spammy, irrelevant links to your website will end up hurting your website more than helping, yet this is (sadly) still being done in 2016.

This has caused link building to have somewhat of a bad name to an onlooker with no previous experience, but link building is still a valid tactic within search engine optimization.

Actually, 93 percent of today’s online experiences begin with a search engine, meaning it is incredibly important for your website to be ranked within the search results.

The difference is that manual link building is becoming increasingly necessary for a link building campaign to garner positive results.

Since link building has shifted into a more legitimate SEO practice, search marketers have granted it the aforementioned names like “link earning”, because websites must be able to earn the links they desire.

Related Article: SEO Automation: Does It Really Work?

Your Website Matters Now More Than Ever

Due to the rise of personalization in link building in alliance with Google’s perceived ranking requirements, we must ensure that our websites offer linkable assets. These assets can be defined as a page (or many pages) on your website that serve as a value proposition for the website as a whole.

Ensuring your website’s content is a valuable resource within the industry you serve will drastically improve the outcome of a link building campaign. It is a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself, “If someone approached me asking for a link to this website, would I link to it?”

Aside from being sure your website provides value to the industry’s community, it is also equally important to ensure it is valuable to the search engines themselves.

There are a number of on-site search engine optimization best practices to adhere to when preparing a website for a link building campaign.

After all, building links to a website that is (for lack of a better word) useless to a user and/or a search engine will have little-to-no positive effect on the link building campaign as a whole.

Related Article: Successful Business Leaders Tell All: Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2016


In summary, link building has contantly evolved throughout its lifetime, and if the past is any indicator of the future, the next few years will be a wild ride in the world of link building.

It will be highly important to stay ahead of the curve and implement link building’s new practices as they are born.

Thank you for reading.

Are you currently involved in link building or digital marketing in any way? Please feel free to take this short survey covering the currently state of link building and what to expect going forward.


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