Although Google has only been around since the end of 1998, ranking websites in regards to how many other websites are linking to it is a system that was based off of a concept that has been around since the 1950s. Because incoming links have played such a significant role in a website’s rankings throughout the ten year history of Google, one of the primary roles of SEOs has always been to build new inbound links.
While it would be foolish of me to make a statement such as “linkbuilding is dead,” we can all agree that the field of SEO is evolving, and as a result of the evolution of this field, individuals and companies who are involved in the search engine optimization field must be willing to adapt. Therefore, while I still think that linkbuilding can be an effective investment of money, resources and time (when those three factors are devoted to more than blog comment spam and directory submissions), I want to look at a variety of techniques that will generate inbound links without relying on the traditional definition of link building (note that I emphasize the “traditional definition of link building”, because SEOs who are on top of their game have already been integrating these methods into their link building arsenal for quite some time):
Write an Awesome Piece of Content: OK, before you flame me for writing something that has been said a million times, just take a look at Google Trends and you will see that there are webmasters who are still interested in article directories. While one of the key components to the old mindset of link building was to write a decent piece of content, submit it to article directories and then shot to the the top of the rankings as a result of the backlinks that were dropped in the footer of your article, those days are gone. Instead of writing a decent piece of content and giving it away to other sources, the new way to build links is to spend a little more time writing a great piece of content, publish it on your own blog/website and then market it to others so they will link directly from their blogs/websites to the original location of that piece of content.
Become an Authority: In the past, people viewed directories like DMOZ as the authorities of the web, which is why they went to such great lengths to get their websites listed in these locations. While the topic of whether or not Google still views these sources as authorities is hotly debated, the point is that instead of wasting your time trying to get included in these “authority websites,” you should invest your efforts into becoming an authority in your own niche. If you don’t know where to start, Dosh Dosh has eight great tips to point you in the right direction.
Leverage the Social Web: Although it may still work in some smaller niches, the days of creating an HTML badge for other users to put on their blog are rapidly disappearing. However, this doesn’t mean that the days of leveraging the social nature of the Internet have come to an end. I realize that you may not have the programming skills necessary to create a viral “application, game, widget, etc,” but if you are serious about creating a successful blog/website over the long-term, I think spending as little as $1,000 to $2,000 is a pretty minor investment for something that is going to continue building links for you without requiring you to lift a single finger.