We’ve been warned about the potential dangers of link building schemes for years. Most site owners are well aware of the threat of having their website blacklisted by Google and avoid such schemes. Natural, white hat link building is still OK, isn’t it? According to a recent Google+Hangout, it sure sounds like Google is telling us that link building should be avoided.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller was asked, “Is link building, in any way, good?” His answer was quite interesting:
“In general, I’d try to avoid that. So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.
We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.“
By specifically mentioning the importance of making sure your content is easy to link to, it appears Google is encouraging link baiting. If you’re unfamiliar with link baiting, it’s simply offering great content that other sites link to not because you submit your content or ask them to link to it, but because they want to link to it. Link baiting is great because not only does it drive more visitors to your site, but others are doing free work for you.
Link baiting doesn’t necessarily have to be articles either. Think of the items you link to on your site and social media profiles. Link baiting content can include:
*Lists (Top 5 or Top 10 etc.)
*Contest and Giveaways