Link building remains an essential component for SEO and one that continues to stand of critical importance. Unfortunately, for brands and marketers equally the last couple of years have been extremely hectic due to shifting contingencies and changes in Google’s algorithm. Certain algorithmic updates during the last 24 months or so have forced SEOs and brands to think that link building may have become illegal. Before jumping into any serious conclusion about the state of link building, let’s spend some time to evaluate the current situation and explore a few varieties for SEO link building.

Assessing the Current Environment

Several current media outbursts are indicative of a shift in link building. Some simply imply that link building can now perhaps be considered as an illegal initiative but let’s hold the phone on that one before we make additional assumption.

1. On January 20, 2014, Google’s head of web spam team Matt Cutts published an article titled The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO sending a tremor in the SEO community. In his thorough explanation of the situation, Matt elaborated in further detail about guest blogging. Guest blogging used to be classified as a respectable thing to do in building relationships on the web however over the course of time turned into nothing more than a spammy initiative. And, that’s it, Matt Cutts publicly announced the following:

Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.

Additionally, in part of his statement the following context seems to have deeper merit when it comes to future SEO endeavors.

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a link building strategy.

Now those are a strong selection of words projecting a huge shift in the SEO landscape. For many, it was a sign of discouragement and even a stab in the back from the big G. Nonetheless, the new paradigm of SEO link building now has SEOs and brands scrambling for new solutions to stay ahead of the curve.

2. As if that was not enough for the SEO community causing an outrage to the big G, let’s take a deeper look back at the shift in SEO. Back on August 12, 2013, Matt Cutts advised on yet another change in the industry. This one pertained specifically to a video discussing the usage of widgets and infographics within a holistic search strategy. In this particular video recording, Matt Cutts emphasized upon the importance of diverting attention on such endeavors as means for acquiring a stronger hold on SEO back links.

Ok, so a couple of significant determining factors in SEO link building occurred during the past year. The fact that guest blog posting particularly is no longer deemed as a viable source for link generation creates plenty of frustrations for SEOs and brands equally. Now that we have additional insight into the shifting pattern of link building it’s important to put in place precautions to avoid any potential penalties moving forward from the big G.

Potential Penalties for Poor Link Building Endeavors

The big G has always focused on quality and relevance when it comes to content inclusion within its index. After all, as the world’s largest search engine dominating nearly 70% of the search market share, it’s in the company’s best interest to protect what matters most – its users. Therefore various changes are in need of implementation to improve upon the quality of search results and websites within the index. Engaging in poor link building strategies may create a tailspin of repercussions that can potentially hurt your brand as a whole in the long term.

Ethical Link Building Initiatives in 2014

As discussed above in short detail, the evolution of SEO link building will continue to shift and as SEOs or brand owners its imperative for us to adapt to this shifting pattern accordingly. Rest assured that link building stills remains a viable search strategy for increased brand potential on the web, however its core principles have changed drastically.

In 2014, SEO link building is all about brand development on the web. It’s all about creating or leveraging relationships with other entities that compliment your brand as a whole. Relationship building as part of an link building strategy has always been at the core however segmentation with deeper focus on specific industry or niche has become a key ingredient for increased authority, trust, and relevance in 2014. Building solid brand reputation remains at the forefront of a successful link building strategy.


For those skeptical of the shifting paradigm in SEO link building, rest assured that it has not yet been deemed as a spammy initiative in its entirety (yet, anyway). Therefore, consider utilizing such initiative as part of your brand’s search marketing strategy but keep in mind that all endeavors should wrap around your entire brand. Focus on building relevant relationships on the web with other like-minded entities or ones that can potential compliment your brand. Steer away from link farms, paid links, irrelevant sites, and obviously avoid guest blogging as part of the link building strategy.