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This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >     
Is link building dead?

 10:32 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do the risks now out way the benefits from link building?



 11:15 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

That's a good question. I know several that have been link building since January 2011 and have not been touched by Panda or Penguin.


 11:19 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Using that logic, is content creation also dead because the risk of keyword stuffing out ways the benefit of good content?

Google's algorithm still relies on backlinks. If you disagree then try to get a website to rank without developing quality backlinks for it. What has changed is that you can't be lazy with your link development. Today you need to be much more creative and provide more value in order to gain quality backlinks.


 11:50 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think @goodroi is right on that point. Link building isn't dead but quality matters as always. Imagine two competing sites for widgets and site #1 gets 600+ links from anywhere EXCEPT sites about widgets while site #2 has less than 150 from sites about widget accessories (we are seling widgets, not accessories; they sell accessories but not the widgets). If site #1 and #2 are equal in all other ways then it's more likely #2 is gonna outrank #1.

There are a lot of little factors that go into that, a few being the link target pages, number of pages in the site and terms used in the links. The description above is a real example and it works well for the work at home webmaster competing with official and corporate sites; 10 years ago I thought it was cute to add a line to the bottom of a site "Powered by Widget coffee" and linking to the official Widget brand coffee homepage - OUR site wasn't about widgets and today that link would probably be fairly worthless to the coffee company site. As your site gains popularity it will be important to get the quality links to counteract webmasters of unrelated sites linking to yours because they like "you".

One last thing, do your link building as evenly as possible: don't send out 500 link requests at the beginning of one month then not do it again for a couple months, be consistant.


 12:37 am on Dec 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree consistency is the key but i've found if you are too aggressive in the number of links you get in relation to the size of your site you will run into problems. The size of the site and the number of backlinks you already have both seem to be factors in how quickly you can grow links. When I start link building fora site i start small and work up to a target number of links

varying anchor text is key too - don't build all your links for "blue widgets" mix it up. Add some non-anchor text links as well.

You can (and should) do link building safely. I don't see that changing for quite some time. Google is built on links and i don't think it's something they can easily shift from


 2:13 am on Dec 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Incoming links matter, bigtime. It's not about bulk, it's about the steady acquisition of good links on a consistent basis in my opinion.


 4:35 am on Dec 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

No way. Not even close. Link Building is still the number one factor in determining search rankings.It has evolved over the years Absolutely.I am sure that spammy link building is dead


 5:16 am on Dec 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think that G just got better in sifting through links. How much better, I will not comment on that because I don't know.
I truly believe there is nothing better than links from good websites that are earned without asking for them. Few of such from trusted sites can do miracles, I'm pretty sure. Plus, such links can prevail over bad internal stuff.


 8:11 am on Dec 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

The risks of link building are certainly high if the process is abused.

Better to have a brand strategy that reaches out to people of authority who in turn will link back. Relationship marketing. Folks you can shake hands with. When your site sings, then it's possible to do that more easily.

[edited by: Whitey at 8:15 am (utc) on Dec 22, 2012]


 5:00 am on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sh*t, way to ask a great blunt question...
Yes, or dying and on the way out at the very least.

That's all you get, but seriously, if it wasn't 'that time of year' I wouldn't even give you that much by any stretch ... Great question again & Merry Christmas


 6:00 am on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone know if press release links count or help with seo to a website, or is that dead.

Slightly Off Topic - From my experience lately: I know press releases rank fast in bing and on top for good keywords for a certain period of time, google however not so good. The trick with bing is to social bookmark the PR a few times.


 9:06 am on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Link building is evolving, still a factor IMO. Logically though, Google would be trying to remove algo factors that can be manipulated to falsely improve rankings so it stands to reason that any type of link that can be 'influenced' will, over time, get less and less useful - from an SEO perspective at least.


 2:07 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Links have been the primary seo factor in google for a long time. Today we still see a search market dominated by links both negative and positive.

But business is moving to social, will I wonder these social signals far out way links in the coming years? The answer is they already are. There is a shift to social marketing that can not be ignored. Yet the primary SE is ignoring it because no one wants to join their party.

Whats trending on Google + and does anyone care.................?


 2:58 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think it's productive to think in terms of who are giving citations and what form those citations are being given in.


 4:08 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Link building is not dead, nowhere near dead. I would focus on links that stand a chance of generating clicks. I would not pursue a link that will not bring any traffic.


 4:39 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I would focus on links that stand a chance of generating clicks. I would not pursue a link that will not bring any traffic.

That sounds quite a bit like 'overall traffic generation'. How do you think that helps with Google SEO specifically? IOW: Why do you think there's more of a benefit to optimization for Google from a link that will get a click than any link whether it gets clicked or not?


 6:10 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've never seen this said explicitly, but it's always been part of my thinking. A link that gets clicked is a link that is relevant within it's context on the web page it resides on. A link that gets clicked is also topically relevant to the site visitor, which makes it a kind of vote for the link. A click can be thought of as a positive signal of topical relevance. That is the kind of link search engines aspire to award 100% link pop in a citation based algorithm.


 6:32 am on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

How are you thinking they are getting the data? Chrome, Analytics, Where? I must be missing something, because I keep thinking they've stated repeatedly they don't use that data in the algo, so how are they knowing what links on someone else's site pointing to another someone else's site get clicked and which don't or do you think they're using those data sources and not telling (IOW: lying to) us?


 3:09 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Specific click data doesn't scale. Aggregated click data is probably enough to create a statistical model to predict the kind of link that gets clicked. They're already doing that for detecting paid links (low quality links). If that is the kind of link the search engines aspire to reward, then my thought process is that a link that gets a click is the ideal kind of link.


 5:23 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Okay, I see what you're saying better now. Thanks for clarifying ... It's like the difference between a footer link and contextual link, and maybe contextual links placed in areas of the page/context determined to be more likely to generate a click could be awarded more weight than a 'regular' contextual link.

So, going a bit further and more along the lines of link building, which is the topic of this thread, let's pretend (for argument's sake) I'm in a niche and have successfully built links for years, but now I'm running out of places to acquire new links from.

Do you think the links already built will 'carry enough weight' to keep rankings intact or do you think the declining growth rate, likely flat to negative churn rate, lack of 'freshness' passed, etc. will be a negative, which would seem to indicate I should have let the links 'happen naturally' rather than building them, because natural is sustainable and should likely continue at a stable rate, while 'forcing the issue' means if the building stops the site tanks?

IOW: If an unsustainable growth rate is set and it's to the point where growth stops, does the site have a chance considering the other factors involved and relating to links?


 6:25 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do you think the links already built will 'carry enough weight'...

To a certain extent. But there's the Link Rot thing going on in the background. I think the average site battles against Link Rot. That's the concept of constant attrition and diminution of links (websites disappear, articles get buried, etc., etc.). There is also a concept not applicable to many sites where a site reaches a level of popularity where the backlink growth becomes automatic or viral. Site visitors and web publishers independently create citations. So in some situations, link rot is more or less cancelled out as a factor. Otherwise, I think, you're on a treadmill where you have to engage in some kind of outreach, either to keep your name out there or more proactive by creating link opportunities/projects.


 7:11 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Otherwise, I think, you're on a treadmill where you have to engage in some kind of outreach, either to keep your name out there or more proactive by creating link opportunities/projects.

Yeah, pretty much my thoughts ... I think 'link building' is on the way out, just because making a site 'appear hot' by 'self link building' means as soon as you stop your churn rate, growth rate, freshness, etc. have a peak and then start to drop off, where if there's a sustainable consistency or growth at the 'natural rate relative to the niche you're in', over time you're better off.

If we look at the historical data patent application (I think that's the one anyway) it gives a very specific example of two sites each having 10 links, where one site's were acquired a period of time ago possibly being ranked differently than a site that had it's 10 links appear in the last month...

I guess the short version is: Go ahead and link build, but over time you're really likely only hosing yourself, because when you do it, rather than allowing it to happen naturally, eventually you're very likely to go from 'hot' to 'not'.

I think it's much better long-term to build a site that 'encourages' natural link building and other 'positive signals' on it's own, rather than trying to 'push things too fast', because when you stop pushing the site slides back. (I wonder how long it's been since WebmasterWorld went on a link building campaign? Hmmmm)


 9:19 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I like the idea of encouraging links without actually requesting them but most small business owners barely have the time to keep their site updated with current information, let alone growing it hoping for new links. I know I blog a lot, writing what I think are useful articles and blog posts but they don't generate much in the way of extra links.

And this shows the basic flaw I guess you could call it of link building - if we relied solely on "natural links" (forget building links artificially for a sec) all you'd see are the bigger companies that can afford to build brand awareness and encourage links. you'd never see the mom and pop store because they are too busy running the store to think about their website.


 9:59 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm... Not necessarily, because some of that would definitely have to do with whether a 'bulk of links' is more indicative of 'hot' or if a percentage based growth is ... The more links you have the more people see you (or a reference to you) and the more growth you need overall to sustain a visibility-to-new-link growth rate.

EG If you have 100 links you need 10 new ones to sustain a 10% visibility-to-new-link growth rate, but a site with only 10 links only needs 1 new one to exhibit a 10% visibility-to-new-link growth rate and 2 new links puts them ahead of the site with 100 links already as far as visibility-to-link growth goes.

I think too much emphasis is place on 'links as the answer' and assuming the people at Google would ever only want to show 'brands', because it eliminates them from coming up from the 'one right answer' for the people who would rather buy from Mom & Pop ... I think they have a much 'bigger picture' view than many webmasters understand, because so many webmasters can't figure out what they're doing, so they assume it's all about the links and being big and how many they can get, but to do the 'one right answer' Google is aiming for they have to put quite a bit more thought into it and how they arrive at their conclusions.

The 'one right answer' is more often 'bigger businesses with brand recognition' (but that's not only true on the web), so they're not completely wrong to show bigger brands more often, but to do something that eliminates Mom & Pop from the equation means they're leaving some pretty big holes in trying to find 'the one right answer' for everyone.


 10:28 pm on Dec 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think too much emphasis is place on 'links as the answer'

I totally agree with you. I'm just not sure what would replace links? Social signals have been around a while and don't seem to have much impact in Google, although I noticed my articles rank more quickly and for longer with authorship, but outside of that social doesn't seem to be the answer yet either, at least so far.


 1:05 am on Jan 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think that I should clarify. I use clicks as a relevance test. If I don't think that readers would ever click the link or that there are no readers to click the link that the link has little value. I don't know how Google uses this or how they could, but I have a pretty good feeling that there is something to it.

However, I would never turn down or ask that a link on a relevant site be removed even if there was little to no traffic to click it as I do think that it helps in creating a link profile just not the immediate boost that everyone is looking for from links.


 12:50 am on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ok this is going off topic with the magical mystical link idea. Google ranks links according to weight of site giving the link. Simple as that. It does not measure click through rate, it does nothing else but crawl the link. OK! Lets move on.....


 1:57 am on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google ranks links according to weight of site giving the link. Simple as that.

In 2003 perhaps, but not in 2013. Not as simple as that. Even in 2003 they were talking about depreciating links which coincided with a dramatic change in the way links were counted, causing a lot of pain in the web world. Update Florida, sandbox, etc. Google has been tinkering with how links are counted ever since.


 2:34 am on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Emphasis Mine
Google has been tinkering with how links are counted ever since.

Hmmmm ... Do you mean "devaluing"? LOL

You're awesome MB ... Love your posts and the insight they provide ... The level of info here at WebmasterWorld is second to none, and posts like yours really make this place what it is. Thanks, seriously, thank you for all your contributions to all of us, I for one definitely appreciate them.


 4:44 am on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Depends how much link building you're doing. The key though is to have such great content that people link to you without you even knowing.

This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >
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