Why Linking Building Will Still Matter in 2016


Google’s 2012 Penguin update permanently changed the game. Some of the things that worked before abruptly stopped working. SEO’s panicked. Website rankings plummeted. Chaos ensued.

Lost in all of the chaos and the noise were the facts. People became very misinformed on what works and what doesn’t. Bad SEO practices sort of became the norm.

One of the assertions, of which we’re going to talk about today, was that SEO success no longer depended on link building. Links were dead, according to some experts, and you were better off looking to new strategies if you wanted to rank.

Well, nope, sorry.

Link building is still alive and kicking. Yes, the type of links that you need to build are very different than, say, five years ago. Linking building is, at the end of the day, still a viable strategy and a crucial element in being successful at SEO. We’re going to discuss some of the reasons why that’s still the case, and what it ultimately means for your business.

Backlinking: A simple definition

Let’s do a basic primer. Backlinks are a links that go to your website. Search engines value it because it’s an indicator that your site is valuable. Back in the day, the logic was this: The more backlinks you have, the more valuable your site should be. Pre-Penguin, sites that had the most backlinks had the best rankings and reigned. It was generally a numbers game. Build the most backlinks and then you’d get the best rankings. It was very clear cut, and very easy to game.

Now, backlinks are only valuable if they’re quality. The quantity doesn’t matter if the quality of the links is poor. Quantity is effective when you have quality.

What are “quality” backlinks ?

A quaility backlink is both relevant and trustworthy. Relevant means that it has some connection with your business or market. So, if you’re a plastic surgeon, would it be natural for the majority of your links to come from random websites that have nothing to do with plastic surgery? No, it wouldn’t. Your links should come from websites in the same niche as yours.

There are different metrics to determine if a link is trustworthy. For simplicity’s sake, you should avoid websites that come from obviously spammy domains. If a website has been penalized by Google, avoid it like a plague. Ideally, authoritative websites are the best to receive backlinks from.

What all of this means for your business

The face of backlinking has changed dramatically. Backlinking used to be automatic. You could use a variety of different software to generate mass links for your website, and you’d benefit from it by ranking higher. Now, that doesn’t work so well. Backlinks are personal now. Google wants you to provide value so that webmasters will naturally link back to you. Now it’s about hunting for websites who will link to you. Link building is both active and passive. It’s active because you need to search for those website who will link to you, and it’s passive because you need to build some sort of value (i.e. great content) to give them a reason to link to you in the first place. So, it’s a game of building and hunting.

You are building content, interactions and relationships in topically relevant places. This is how Google wants backlinking to work in 2016, and in some ways, it makes sense. The way to make it work is to constantly find new opportunities to place links on authoritative sites.

Backlinking isn’t dead; it’s just different. Use the current climate to your advantage, and outrank your competition.

Are you ready to discuss your next marketing project with the leader in digital marketing? If so, contact Zen Agency today! We are a group of digital marketing experts.

Want more digital strategy advice and insights?

Sign up for our newsletter.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on: Business.com, Redbooth.com, Kabbage.com, MaterialDesignBlog.com

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

More Posts By Joseph Riviello

E-Commerce Experts Thoughts on New Instagram Checkout Feature

By Joseph Riviello

Facebook is at it again, innovating the social media landscape … this time with its uber-popular platform, Instagram. In a March 19th press release, the company unveiled the new Instagram Checkout feature, an e-commerce extension of the app. Since it’s currently in beta with only 25 companies, not much is known about it, and businesses…

Why You Need a WooCommerce Store

By Joseph Riviello

According to a study published by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Department of Commerce, total e-commerce sales in the United States were estimated at $513.6 billion in 2018, a 14.2% increase from 2017. This data has been on an upward trend since 2009. Future projections globally cement e-commerce as the primary shopping method. Now, more than…

4 Tactics Marketing Automation Companies Use to Improve ROI

By Joseph Riviello

The most exciting part of doing business in this day in age is how much technology is available. This elevates the potential of what you can do with your marketing since it opens up a world of opportunities. While technology won’t be the magic button that will fix all of your problems, it helps accelerate…

The 3 Tenets of Lead Generation: How You Can Produce Sales On-Demand

By Joseph Riviello

Sales are the lifeblood of any business. Without a steady stream of sales, you don’t have revenue. And without revenue, you don’t have a thriving business. In today’s post, we’re going to look at the three tenets of lead generation, and how you can use them to exponentially grow your business. Tenet 1: You Must…

Zen Agency is Now a Sharpspring Silver Partner!

By Joseph Riviello

Zen Agency has earned the Sharpspring Silver Partner Certification from Sharpspring, a leading marketing automation platform. Why Does Marketing Automation Matter? The marketing automation tools provided by Zen Agency as a Sharpspring Silver Partner allows you to deliver the right message to the right leads. Track your content, who is seeing it, and craft an…

How to Create a Successful Law Firm Marketing Funnel

By Joseph Riviello

If you were to go back 20 years, you would see that law firm marketing was starkly different than it is today. You would see more billboards, late-night infomercials, neighborhood flyers, and newspaper ads. These days, we have websites, SEO, pay-per-click ads, and social media marketing. The options available to lawyers today give them countless…

What Is Content Marketing? How You Can Get Started Today

By Joseph Riviello

Almost every successful website has one thing in common: Great content. You can have an extremely beautiful website with all the bells and whistles, but if you don’t have content, your web presence is woefully incomplete. You must learn how to start content marketing the proper way. There are no shortcuts: You need good content.…

5 Steps for Creating a Successful Marketing Strategy

By Joseph Riviello

Many businesses jump straight into marketing without a plan. This is a big mistake. Going into battle without a strategy will leave you with a poorly spent marketing budget and lackluster results. Often enough, the difference between companies who dominate the marketplace and companies who fail to get off the ground is simple: A clear,…

The 5 Step Cheat-Sheet for Using Youtube for Your Local Business

By Joseph Riviello

If I were to ask you, “what’s the #1 search engine?”, you would automatically say, “Google”, and you’d be right. But what if I were to ask you to state the #2 search engine? Some would say Bing or Yahoo, but the truth is that Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world.…

Why Call Tracking Is Critical for Local Businesses

By Joseph Riviello

Let’s say you’re a business that’s running different online and marketing channels like SEO, PPC, email marketing and direct mail. You notice a remarkable uptick in sales, but you’re not precisely sure where they are coming from, as you’re using a variety of different marketing methods. If many of your leads contact you via the…