As you may know, backlinks are the foundation of SEO, and your website can’t rank well without them. However as you also may know, active link building goes against Google’s guidelines. So what is an ambitious webmaster to do?
To be honest as someone who has been battling Google now for over a decade, the real answer really comes down to what your goals are. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to active link building, it just depends at the end of the day what you’re trying to do.
I feel like there are two camps when it comes to link building, those that swear by it, and those that are vehemently against it. However in my opinion the answer isn’t so cut and dry, and there are valid arguments for both.
So here are my thoughts on situations that you need to consider when it comes down to whether or not you should be link building for your websites.
What Are Your Goals?
I think the most important factor when it comes to whether you want to engage in link building or not are your goals. Are you trying to make cash quickly or are you trying to build a long-term asset?
If you’re trying to make money quickly, then of course you’re going to want to build links. Generally speaking it takes a long time to “earn links”, so if you need money ASAP or want to make money quickly then aggressive link building is the way to go.
However if you are building some sort of authority site that you want to earn you money for years to come, then I would definitely stay away from active link building and just put all my efforts and budget into creating content.
Is Your Site Able To Earn Links?
Another thing we need to consider besides the previous point is whether or not our website can even naturally earn links. Some websites just aren’t great candidates to earn links on their own, so you need to figure out if this applies to your website portfolio.
For example if you have a blog, this is the type of site that can naturally earn links because of its informational nature. However if you own say an e-commerce store that sells car parts, you’re probably not going to be able to readily pick up links as generally people don’t naturally link to these types of sites.
Furthermore e-commerce type sites tend to be heavily SEO’d due to the commercial value of the keywords targeted, so again if you have this type of site and want to rank well you’re going to probably have to actively link build because that’s exactly what your competition is doing.
That being said consider if you own a site like this, maybe something like Google Ads and other types of paid traffic is a better option for you. Buying the kinds of links that can rank these types of sites can get pricey real fast, so perhaps pay per click advertising would offer a better return on investment for your marketing dollars.
Even Your White Hat Site Can Tank
Many advocates of active link building will often say “Well your website can be white hat and still get hit by Google” and yes this is true. When you’re trying to create an algorithm update to sort trillions of pages on the internet, sometimes some websites fall through the cracks.
However I think these “white hat sites” that get hit from my experience usually come back with a subsequent update, and I also feel like they are more the exceptions than the rule.
As someone who has been tracking websites for over a decade, I can tell you that some websites just never seem to move no matter what Google does.
I also think that these people that cry “my white hat website got hit” aren’t really true non link builders. They do “white hat link building” which of course is not really a thing.
A website where the website owner has done no link building, actively creates new content regularly (important), and is ranking completely based on earned links are very stable websites.
Current State Of Link Building
As I mentioned in a previous post on private blog networks it seems like active link building is alive and well. Again this article is not to dissuade you from actively link building for your site, it’s just to get you thinking about whether or not you’re making the right choice for your internet marketing goals.
If your goal is to have the website you currently own be around for years, then I would highly advise against active link building. If you’re ok with just “churning and burning” websites that’s fine too. At the end of the day it’s about profits, so do what you gotta do to fill your bank account.
Now I’m not saying that if you’re actively link building that your website can’t rank well for a long period of time, because it definitely can. I’m just saying if you do link build, you’re probably living on borrowed time.
It’s only a matter of time before a trillion dollar company and their team of computer nerds figure out how to weed your site out. Whether that’s a month from now or a few years from now, nobody really knows.
For me personally I own both short-term and long-term assets. I have websites that I’ve built over years purely based on content (no link building) that never move in the rankings (but obviously took a lot longer to get going), and I also have websites with rankings that bounce around like a rubber ball.
Both can be profitable, you just have to have a mindset that if you take shortcuts the earnings can be short-lived as well. Like for my “churn and burn” websites, I don’t expect them to last longer than a few months, and that’s ok with me. If they do, that’s all gravy.
I just hate seeing webmasters whine on forums like Warrior Forum or Black Hat World every time Google makes a slight tweak, and it blows my mind that they are shocked they got completely wiped out. Like come on man you knew this day was coming.
Anyway just make sure that you fully understand the risk vs reward situation, and then build your websites accordingly. That’s all I’m saying.