I’ve been amused to follow the world of link building over the last ten years. Getting links to your website has always been important, as it’s always been one of the primary ways by which search engines rank pages in their results.
Unsurprisingly, over a decade ago, a small industry built up to provide link building services. Originally, the most effective exponents were the companies who knew where to ‘place’ hundreds or thousands of links, seemingly naturally, in a short time. The search engines soon got wise to all this, and worked out ways to ignore the spammy links (not that it’s stopped people selling them, even today).
Smarter ‘link building consultants’ then moved on to working out ways to generate genuine links in large numbers. Their services were worth employing. But again, the search engines decided that the patterns of links being created were artificial, and the worth of these large numbers of links was devalued.
Nowadays, things have moved on to become all about generating real, quality links from well-regarded websites. And the role of the ‘link building industry’ has become something quite familiar. Today, if you search for articles advising you on best practices to generate quality links, they read exactly like a PR handbook from 25 years ago advising you how to get magazine coverage. The authors have just replaced ‘editor’ with ‘website owner’ when talking about the person you’ll be approaching.
I think that if I was a long-established PR consultant in the business-to-business sector, I would unhesitatingly add ‘link building’ on to my list of services. To a large extent, ‘link building’ is now just ‘getting you mentioned on good industry websites’. It’s funny to see a new generation discovering press coverage as if it’s something new.