Google has always looked at back links as a key indicator of site quality and relevance, so it has always made sense to develop back links in order to give your site more clout. However the Penguin algorithm update has made everyone stop and reconsider this because Google are to start penalising sites that use “manipulative link strategies” to build their links.
Matt Cutts has confirmed that link building is not illegal and that back links are still the best way for Google to evaluate the relevance of a site. So Google are not against link building in principle they just want to cut out link-farms and spam. Link building can still make a legitimate SEO contribution but what is important now is to take care over the way it is done.
Organic link building is acceptable to Google and as valuable as ever. But when link building it is now essential to ensure good link building tactics; choosing related sites with relevant content. This can be a difficult challenge and one of the safest and most successful means of achieving this is through blogs and social media, that you control.
This also has another advantage. Google is now starting to look at social signals to evaluate the relevance of a site in the search results, so it’s a win, win situation.
There was a time when link building was one of the main off-site SEO activities and today, if done in the right way, it can be as effective as ever.
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