Link building maintains its relevance for SEO

As expected, a lot of focus in the aftermath of a major Google algorithm update like Penguin 2.0 has been on links: the value of link building and what sort of links will still count as valuable in determining rankings. However SEO marketers seem to agree that links will continue to be among the most important ranking factors at least in the foreseeable future, even if content quality and social media visibility are considered to be gaining in importance.

The Moz Annual Search Engine Ranking Factors survey shows how SEOs think when it comes to links. What may be a bit surprising is that the reported presented by Moz shows a high degree of correlation between keywords in anchor text and rankings. Over the past year or so, a lot of discussion has been centred around the need for anchor text diversity and even calls for returning to the use of anchor text such as ‘Click here’. (We plan to do a separate, more elaborate post on our own views on the ranking factors).

The messages from Google can be deemed to be a bit confusing— or may be, it is just that the SEO community is over-reacting to everything that comes out of Google. For example, an update to Google’s tips on SEO to webmasters where the wording was changed from linkable content to ‘shareable’ content (not the exact words Google used, mind you) was dissected in a lot of detail by many SEO experts. It was interpreted as a sign that Google is lowering the value of links. However, in a very recent interview with Eric Enge, Google’s Matt Cutts said that : “Links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover that, and maybe over time social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that.” While Cutts’ statement that link building is neither bad nor illegal captured the headlines, we believe the above statement has greater importance in the current context.

So, where does that leave SEO companies who have to advise clients or even in-house SEO professionals with regard to link building? Our view: continue to create good content and build links from good sources. As long as one is discreet about where and who links are obtained from, one should be doing ok with a search engine. Simple and elementary, isn’t it? :)

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