To Build Links Or Not To Build Links – Is That Actually The Question?

A close-up view of several thick, metal links

In the world of SEO today, mention the term ‘backlinks’ and you’re likely to get one of two answers.

The first is people explaining that backlinks now have no place in SEO.  Once an integral part of any strategy and an almost guaranteed way to get onto the first page of Google should you have had enough links pointing to your website and used your keywords in the anchor text, these people will explain that links are simply no longer of use.

In fact, they might say building backlinks actually harms your SEO efforts.

Then you have the second group of people who are still strong advocates of backlink building.  Not seeing any real penalties handed out by Google, they’re continuing to build backlinks as much as they ever have done, reaching out to every resource and platform possible to get a link pointing back to their website.

Two very clear camps, it instantly makes you start to question which is right.  Both seem convinced that their way is, but they can’t both be correct can they?  So which is the right way to look at backlink building today?

Simply put, they are actually both right, but also both wrong at the same time – when it comes to backlinks in 2014, yes, they do still have an impact on SEO, but you need to be gaining the most relevant backlinks that are of the highest quality you possibly can.

And generally speaking, this comes from not focusing on backlink building directly, but content production.

If you reach out to a website owner and ask for a link, every now and again they’ll give you one.  But it’s an old, outdated method that doesn’t often result in you being able to gain high quality, relevant links.

Instead, you should look to create unbelievable content.  Blog posts that are several thousand words long and which answer a burning question from your audience.  Or whitepapers that give an insight into a part of the industry that your potential customers may not have seen before.  Even things like infographics; visuals that are so eye-catching and engaging that people want to share them on their own websites, blogs and social networks.

And every time someone does, you’ll get a link back to your website – which, if the content is audience-specific enough, will generally be from a  high quality, relevant source.

Backlink building is vital to SEO success today, but you need to almost not think of it as just that.  You need to focus your attention on content creation instead and develop the highest standard copy you can, as when you do this, not only will people visit your website to read it, but they’ll link to it time and time again.