There’s one common question I’ve been asked by clients during the last couple of years – What does our link building strategy entail in? Excellent question! A recent interaction with a client on SEO ended up refreshing my memory on link building especially considering their strong level of interest in such initiative. Well, I hate to be the barer of bad news but that particular tactic is sort of dead at this point. For legacy brands though SEO link building still remains a viable strategy.

The Politics of SEO Link Building

In the early days of SEO, link building represented a viable way of building online relationships. At least as seen in the eyes of search engine robots such as Googlebot. From a search perspective, your brand would experience a boost in visibility and potentially inbound traffic simply by having more links pointing back to it. Then, SEOs figured out how to abuse this privilege and this is precisely when Google made a change in SEO link building initiatives. Goodbye paid links and welcome organic connections.

Paid links as part of an SEO link building endeavor were quickly phased out. Any brand seen leveraging such initiative for an organic boost experienced a temporary boost but soon after a smack on the wrist. For the longest time though Google debated strongly around SEO link building in determination of the best approach without overly saturating things.

Build Links or Not To Build Links?

In the reality of things as it stands in 2015, link building is considered a spammy effort. Experienced SEO professionals will flat out admit that link building is a lost cause. As an agency, if you’re performing SEO link building services than don’t act surprised if a client decides to seek greener pastures. All around, link building simply doesn’t make sense. Largely due to the fact that marketers abused the privilege and saturated the area to the point that Google as a market leader felt it was time to put a cap on it. It’s done! Finito.

Reality Settles In, Heavily

For the traditional brands or agencies that still believe in SEO link building as a viable digital advertising method, I have some bad news for you. Link building is long gone. Way back there. You can’t even spot it in the rearview mirror. Back in February 2015, Google’s John Mueller made a statement that shook up the entire SEO community and brands equally. During a Google+ hangout as part of Google Webmasters series he stated the following in response to the following question – Is SEO link building viable for visibility and relationship building in any way?

Google’s John Mueller responded to the question by stating this:

That is a good question.

In general, I’d try to avoid that.

So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.

We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.

What a way to affirm the speculations revolving around SEO link building myths. Check out the video recording from the original Google+ hangout below and fast-forward to minute 55.

[iframe id=”″ align=”center” mode=”normal” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”750″]

Well, there you have it folks. A confirmation that SEO link building is a thing of the past. But, is it completed dead? Is there no opportunity whatsoever on the link building forefront?

I turned to Google and performed a variety of searches including the one below on on the search query ‘is seo link building dead?‘. There’s quite a few comical stories floating out there worth a good laugh. Typically, entrusting the insight of reputable online sources provides a clear indication into an emerging trend. In this case, the future of SEO link building.

Is SEO link building dead?
Is SEO link building dead?

The Future of SEO Link Building

The traditional method of SEO link building remains in the past. However, that does not directly indicate that any link building endeavor will be considered as a spammy initiative. A curve in the trend will revolve around semantic search. Google specifically is putting forth a stronger emphasis on the context value, anchor text, and interlinking. In essence, SEO link building is morphing into an organic/natural endeavor that strongly pushes the boundaries of relevance and authority.

Potential Penalties Brands May Incur

As SEO link building is morphing into a different realm there might be potential penalties incurred by Google and other search engines. If your company has invested in paid links initiatives with intent of building up authority than chances are you may encounter potential penalties. Irrelevant backlinks from sites on the interwebz are also to be considered as potential red flags. The best way to assess your backlink profile is to start with Google Webmaster Tools or Moz Pro if you have access to such tool.

Is your website struggling with a backlink profile issue? Are you questionable about the future of SEO link building? Contact me today for a FREE 1-hour consultation to chat about your brand’s SEO needs.