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Forget about link-building and focus on great content

Patrick Nelson
Tools

The original Google search engine was unique amongst its peers. Whereas they ranked web pages based on how often a particular term or keyword phrase (such as 'web design') appeared in the page, Google's original algorithm took into account the number of other pages around the web that linked into to it.

Their theory was that if a lot of other websites were pointing to a site, then that site must be important, or interesting or valuable in some way.

As a result, many businesses focused on link building campaigns to increase the number of other sites linking into theirs. Techniques, strategies and software that focused on the fastest and cheapest way to 'cheat the system' began to appear in abundance offering ways to get to the coveted #1 spot for any keyword phrase.

Google's response has consistently been to invest heavily in constantly refining and improving their engine to identify these automated link building schemes and penalise websites that use them. And today, their technology is sophisticated enough that automated link building has largely become worthless.

Getting people to link to your site is still important though: Google still want to know if people genuinely find your content and your website useful, engaging and informative. 

You can still write bland boring content full of obvious attempts to sell something with no useful, engaging information and you might still rank highly quite quickly by using an automated link-building system, but chances are your ranking will be short lived and you will probably run the risk of disappearing from the search engines altogether.

Alternatively, you could write something that is interesting, that is engaging and that is useful. If it is, people will link to it anyway, in their blogs, their tweets and their Facebook profiles. They'll bookmark it and comment on it and share it.

Those links will be genuine. Google will know that they are and they'll reward you accordingly. 

Bottom line: forget about forcing links to your site and focus on producing genuinely useful content.