The question of whether link building still works is one that we keep hearing again and again. And in some ways, it makes sense. Both SEO in general, and link building more specifically, have changed quite a bit since the early days. But despite going through huge changes, the answer is still: Yes, link building still works in 2021. However, it must be done the right way.
In Google’s early days, all you had to do to get a high ranking in the search engine’s results was to make sure you had lots of links from around the internet pointing back to your website. It mattered little where the links came from, or whether you had earned them naturally from the owners of the various websites or placed them there yourself.
Read more: What is link building and why does it still matter for SEO?
However, today, in 2021, things have certainly changed. Although links remain one of Google’s primary ranking factors, it’s no longer so much the quantity of links that matter, but rather the quality.
Article submission sites that exist more or less solely for the purpose of selling links will no longer help you. The same goes for link directories, and link spamming in comment sections and forums. All of these link building techniques were easy and used to be popular back in the day, but may now in fact get your site punished by Google.
Instead, “white hat” link builders in 2021 have no choice but to focus on quality. The perceived authority (often measured in terms of Moz’s Domain Authority) of the website linking to you is more important than ever. And so is the quality of the content into which the backlink is incorporated.
Among the questions you should ask yourself (and make sure you can answer yes to) before you set out to build links to your website are these:
With that said, however, it’s clear that the quantity of links is still important, as long as the links also are of a certain quality. This has been confirmed by studies such as this study conducted by the SEO software provider Ahrefs in 2020, which clearly shows a correlation between the number of referring domains to a website, and that website’s organic traffic from searches:
In conclusion, we therefore believe it’s safe to say that link building still works in 2021, as it has done since Google first revolutionized how internet searches are done. But, it’s more important now than ever before that you do your link building the right way. This means going completely “white hat” with manual blogger outreach and quality content creation.
So-called grey or black hat techniques may or may not offer a boost in the short-term, but most SEO professionals nowadays would agree that the long-term effect of such techniques is almost surely negative.
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