They say that SEO is dead. At least, that’s the word that seems to be emanating from a variety of SEO experts who have been running around like chickens without a head trying to figure out what to do now. Certainly the old way of building links is becoming obsolete. You can’t simply spam the Internet with massive numbers of links anymore since Google now penalizes websites that engage in such practices.
Even some tried and true methods of link building, including things like guest postings are now considered no-nos by Matt Cutts. That said, if you want to rank well in Google, natural looking links are still vital parts of your SEO strategy. The trouble of course is getting those natural looking links in a world where they’re increasingly hard to create.
In point of fact, the fact that Google insists on penalizing websites for bad links can be a good thing for those who do SEO correctly, by creating relevant, high quality links from real websites instead of spammy garbage links. After all, in a world where junk links are a problem as opposed to merely worthless, the good links will stand out even more.
All this does make me wonder though why blogs I own continue to get hit by thousands of efforts at obvious spam links. Haven’t these guys gotten the message yet that such techniques are worthless? Unless of course such efforts are people trying to engage in negative SEO, either against my site or against other sites who have legitimate links from my site.
So What Works Now?
The things that work now are pretty much the same things that have always worked in the past even though people have always tried to find ways to create shortcuts. For example, links from relevant websites with good quality comments in the blog still work well. The trouble is that you need to get the links into the first few pages and you need to create a link only on blogs which are heavily edited to ensure that the link will count for you and not against you.
Even guest postings can still work if done correctly. They can be especially useful if you create them on websites which already have high levels of traffic because you get direct traffic from those sites. Matt Cutts even changed his blog post to reflect this fact. I’m also not convinced that the Google algorithm will ignore or penalize all guest post links. I have a feeling that guest posts on quality websites will still count for SEO purposes as long as both your site and the site you place the guest post on are high quality sites.
You Do Need to Be Careful Though
All that having been said, it is vital that you remain vigilant in ensuring that your links are done correctly. In this day and age, it is very easy to not just create worthless links but to actually damage your website’s SEO efforts if you are not careful. Thus, if you aren’t 100% certain of what you’re doing, it may be time to hire a pro to do the job for you.