Link building is essential to placing well in the search engines. There is no denying the importance of link building but it is becoming more difficult to obtain links. Webmasters are finding it difficult to find relevant links and as a result, struggle with effectively being able to promote and have their sites rank well within the search engines.
It leads one to ask – What has happened throughout the web that has limited link building?
From where I sit as a novice SEO and somewhat seasoned webmaster, I have to think that link building has become more difficult primarily because of the stance that Google has taken towards “paid links”. First evident with the creation and introduction of the “NoFollow” tag, Google has made it known that sites buying and selling links will be penalized or banned from its search index. It does not take a genius to realize that this would effectively destroy any online company dependent on organic traffic from the search engines.
Google has created an atmosphere among webmasters that has caused many to either limit their links to other sites, or to “NoFollow” the links they include in their articles. This in my opinion, counters the entire concept of “natural link building” where other webmasters elect to link to an article or a website because they see the link as adding value.
With the possibility that Google may arbitrarily class a link a “paid link”, webmasters are becoming more and more cautious about linking to other sites. It has caused many sites to automatically “NoFollow” all links, making it much more difficult for SEOs to create link building campaigns for their clients and for webmasters as a whole to find relevant links. Plus, it does not prevent paid links that Google can’t detect.
Some webmasters are revisiting content pages and converting links to “NoFollow” links. This has the potential to affect the link building campaigns of many webmasters throughout their existence. Effectively, this could effectively lower the ranking of many established websites.
This has meant that many link building techniques traditionally used by webmasters and SEOs have disappeared. The demand for custom link development has increased. Search engines have started lowering the value of non-relevant links and penalizing sites for other link building methods.
What does this mean for link building in the future?
There is no simple answer to this question as no one is certain what will happen next in the link building world. As the cat-and-mouse game between the search engines and webmasters continues, link building will definitely become more difficult.