There are many factors that Google takes into account when determining where a website should be positioned in the SERPS. However the most important variable, by a long way – is the number of backlinks a website has.
What Is Link Building – A Definition
At the risk of sounding obvious, link building is the term used to describe SEOs creating backlinks to their website. It is almost an art form and that can be done in many different ways, and some ways are more effective than others. To give you an idea of what we are talking about – Let’s take a look at a 2 real world link building methods.
Link Building with Guest Post Outreach
Guest post outreach is one of the most Whitehat methods of link building that an SEO can have in their arsenal. It can result in a website obtaining several relevant, high powered links (but it is also difficult and time-consuming).
The process starts with an SEO curating a list of websites with a quality backlink profile. They then find the contact information of the editors of the website and store them in a spreadsheet.
Once the targets have been identified, the SEO will then create an excellent, super high-quality article on whatever vertical the target website is in (viral topics usually work the best). Within the article, the SEO will have slipped a backlink to their own site somewhere. They will then email the article to all of the targets they found in the first step, and hopefully one of them will publish it.
It sounds simple in theory, and admittedly it is very easy to do… badly.
The issue with guest post outreach is that there are thousands of SEOs emailing the same people trying to get their article published. The difficult part is separating yourself from the 100 other emails the editor has received that day asking for the same thing.
The world’s best SEOs have devoted their life to establishing a rapport with a huge list of editors and authors. They have perfected their email pitches over many years and have a very high placement rate.
By now you are probably thinking that this sounds like a huge amount of hard work. And you’re right, it is.
So can’t SEOs just automate the link building process?
Automated Link Building
There are a wide range of automated link building tools on the blackhat SEO market, each with their own method – but the principle is the same.
They find websites that allow user-generated content in some form or another and then automate the entire link building process. Examples of the kinds of websites that these tools target are:
- Blogging Platforms (Eg. Tumblr, WordPress.com, Live Journal)
- Website Guestbooks
- Blog Comment Sections
- Wiki Sites
- Bookmarking Sites (Eg. Stumbleupon, Digg)
Automated link building tools are often easy to use and most people can be proficient in operating them within a few hours of testing and experimenting. They can generate thousands of links every day, automatically.
Now while this might sound like great news, don’t start celebrating yet. Automated link building was unstoppably powerful around 10 years ago, it was a new concept that made people millionaires within a year. But these days, things are different.
Automatically built links are almost always very low power, and 1 high-quality guest post link would improve your rankings more than 10,000 automated links.
Google is arguably responsible for the vast amount of spam links generated by these tools – They were the first people to give links value.
So needless to say Google hate people that build automated links and punish them severely when caught. To make matters worse for automated link builders, Google has become incredibly efficient at detecting them. They will mercilessly deindex or penalize a website they suspect of creating them.
Automated link building is certainly not a tactic you should be using on any website you care about. Sooner or later Google will catch you, and punish you.