webLink building has gotten a bad name for itself over the last couple of years. Actually unruly SEO practices by black-hat digital marketers have earned link building a bad name.

As a result Google launched Penguin and the algorithm does not take any prisoners. Consequently, online business owners are put off by the idea of inbound links. It’s hardly surprising. Google is very clear about the rules:

“Do not buy, sell, exchange or ask for links that may violate our link building webmaster guidelines!”

Big G’s declaration strikes terror in digital marketers. Some SEO agencies even go as far as saying link building is dead. That doesn’t come as a surprise either.

You probably don’t believe that link building is not dead. It’s not dead really…

You just have to be more creative, and if you stick to Google’s webmaster guidelines (like every good white hat agency has done from day one), you have nothing to worry about.

Not only that but you can reap the rewards – especially now most of your rivals have been put off inbound marketing.

And we are not alone in recognising there are still merits in building links; some of the most prevalent SEO thought leaders agree that online business owners should not be too quick to dismiss the idea of link building.

The difference between the old rules of link building and the evolution of earning links means you have to be publishing excellent content and promoting it through the right channels.

Why you should Look To Gain links

Inserting links on your own site and directing them to third party sites gives you creditability – providing the link is to an authority site and the page you are linking to provides additional information readers will find of value.

Essentially this is the idea of link building anyway and helps search engines determine which sites are producing quality content. Although setting outbound links does not earn you the high ranks inbound links do, search engines still recognise you are acknowledging quality sites.

It helps therefore if you are also publishing quality in-depth content search engines crawlers consider also offers value to readers.

Providing that links are natural, you will earn creditability with search engines. What I mean by natural is that you have chosen to direct your readers to a third party site so they can either find more information or verify a point you made in an article.

On the flip side, an unnatural link is if you accept a request from another website owner or charge money to embed an inbound link on your website.

The second point is an absolute non-no and if you do it on a regular basis, links will look unnatural and you will be pecked by Penguin.

Attracting natural links

An organic link is essentially a passive activity. You have to rely on other site owners finding you web pages and linking into them. And for that you need to be producing excellent content on a regular basis that is finding the right audience.

And that means you have to actively seek an audience of web owners that are also producing quality content and have a genuine relevance to your business.

Look for sites you admire and follow them on social media. If you are stealthy enough and produce content that is worth sharing, you increase your chances of attracting inbound links.

Likewise, whenever you link to a third party site, let them know and share your article with them. They will probably share your article with their audience, which again increases your chances of earning links.

At the very least, by sharing on Twitter you will be awarded ranking points for people sharing your article.

Link building is a high risk activity and if you purposely pursue an inbound marketing exercise you are asking for trouble. An inorganic number of links coming into your site sets of a Penguin alert. However, with a solid content marketing strategy you will earn natural links that are rewarded with higher ranks.