Why Is Link Building So Controversial?

It’s loved. It’s hated. It is promoted and criticized. It’s also misunderstood and misrepresented, according to me.

Link building is, in general, a marketing tactic closely linked to search engine optimization. It is easy. Use external domains to create links that point back to pages on your website. These links should be used to direct traffic to your pages as soon as possible. These links will increase your domain authority over time and help you rank higher in search engines.

SEO is simple and straightforward for anyone to grasp.

Hence, why is it so controversial.

An unresolved past

Link building is a complex process with a rocky past. Google’s search engine algorithm favorably ranks sites that demonstrate high trustworthiness. This is done using a system called PageRank. PageRank was initially a simple tool that calculated authority for websites based on the number and authority of referring sources.

To take advantage of this opportunity, aggressive practitioners rushed to spam links in order to quickly improve their rankings. Link building was a problem in this era.

Google has been taking protective and evasive actions since then. Google now has algorithm improvements and modifications that detect link quality and can penalize spammers or those who compromise the user’s experience. Only “good” links get rewarded these days.

Schemers and the modern black-hat ring

However, this has not stopped link schemers or other “black-hat” SEO professionals from using poor links to increase rankings. Google lists a number of link schemes that it considers illegal. These include exchanging money for hyperlinks or blindly building links using automated systems.

You don’t need to do much research to find companies that will build links cheaply and aggressively without regard to content, context, or overall quality. Many people believe that this is the only way to go for link building companies and possibly all SEO professionals.

However, this is not the case. Modern SEO professionals are extremely cautious when it comes to link building and preserving the user experience. All link spammers and schemers eventually get caught and punished.

Link building vs. earning links

The debate over persistent link building vs. earning links is also a contentious issue, even though both sides have the ethical constraints of “white-hat” SEO as a priority.

Modern white-hat link building involves relying on editorial links and other links that are a natural result of user-friendly, well-written content. Writing content and making users happy are priority one and two, respectively.

These link earners believe that these methods are not enough and prefer passive income. This usually means creating great content on the internet, sharing it, and building relationships that allow people to link to it.

Both approaches are effective, ethical, and natural in reality.

Are the controversy justifiable?

Is the controversy justifiable?

Here is my position. The controversy around link building is not always justified in some ways. There are many ways to approach linking building and there is always room for debate.

Take a look at these facts:

  • Link building ethics are often ambiguous. It’s difficult to say what’s ethical or not. Is it ethical if it offers something to users? Is ethics determined only by what is eligible for a Google penalty
  • There is a large gap between the best and most effective link building strategies. All link building techniques fall somewhere in the ethical spectrum. Some have a bad reputation while others deserve to be promoted more. There is a wide gap between the most spammy and passive techniques.
  • When done correctly, links can be valuable for everyone. Link building can benefit everyone involved if done correctly. Websites are more visible and get more traffic. Publishers are more visible. Users receive more information. Everyone wins.
  • Link building remains a necessity in SEO.

Link building is a must if your site wants to be more visible and get more traffic in this modern age. Link building shouldn’t be viewed as a matter of partisanship, since there are many ways to approach it. Link building can be beneficial to all involved if done properly.

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