Link building can be confusing, exhausting and just plain boring. For those that have been at this for a while, Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have all but killed your original link building strategies. Some have gone so far as to start insisting the practice of link building is no longer needed.
Let me start by saying, as difficult as it may feel, link building is still an essential practice. Matt Cutts of Google, states, “Links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover (how relevant or important somebody is) and maybe, over time, social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that.”
When creating a new link-building strategy, it is highly important to understand what Google views as link building versus link scheming. It is very important to Google that websites grow organically, which means link scheming is highly frowned upon.
In their effort to curb scheming, Google is penalizing websites they find to be breaking their link building rules. Rap Genius just learned this the hard way after their received a 10-day penalty for offering social media exposure to bloggers in exchange for links back to their website. During that 10-day penalty, Rap Genius was unsearchable on Google.
Here are things Google views as scheming:
- Buying or selling links
- Using automated services that will create links for you
- Creating link networks
- Creating press releases with optimized anchor text
- Linking to a website just to get a backlink to your website
Now, here are things that Google views as building:
- Publishing consistent high-quality content
- Include external links that add to the overall value of your content
- Build links that are relevant to your readers
The bottom line is that Google wants webmasters to grow organically as a result of producing a high quality website with great content and helpful tools.