Though Google and other search engines have made various updates to their algorithms over the years, one truth has held strong throughout – the more links you have pointing to your site, especially those from authoritative and trustworthy sites, the better your chances are at ranking well in the search engines.
The reason links are so important is that search engines use these as an indication of your popularity or “authoritativeness”. Links carry with them “link juice” which metaphorically “juices” up your website. The better and more well-known a site is that’s linking to you, the more “link juice” you’ll acquire as a result. The logic is that if many sites are willing to point to your site, you must have something worthwhile to offer that people like. This line of thinking, however, has also brought about frowned-upon practices.
As with any proven method, the importance of link building has led to spammy or “black hat” practices in the past such as “link farms” or the buying and selling of links. As search engines have improved their ranking algorithms, they’ve been able to weed out sites that have a lot of links from less-than-reputable sources. This has shifted the focus and value to acquiring links from sites that are reputable authorities in their respective industries.
The landscape for link building has changed a lot over the last year as a result of search engine updates, but this is for the best. Now, instead of taking links from anyone and anywhere, websites are being forced to produce valuable content that will naturally acquire links from the people and sites they want to attract. Add to that the fact that social media has risen as a prime source of links, and we’re looking at a newer more organic approach to link building. At the end of the day, these updates have upped the ante for quality content on the web as well as a more user-friendly landscape all around.