James Agate of Skyrocket SEO has just released the results of his link-building survey. The details of the survey are available to view on Moz and they offer an interesting overview of the state of the SEO industry.
The survey considered which tactics are the most frequently used and the most effective, how much people are spending on SEO, and their investment plans for the future. The results were clear. Link building is still an important part of SEO, but it is getting much harder. There are no short-cuts that you can take to improve your online visibility. It takes a diverse range of link building techniques to achieve good results, and the best results are seen when link building is just one part of a broader SEO and online marketing strategy.
The old-fashioned, spammy link building techniques that were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s have finally been made obsolete. It took Google many years to build an algorithm sophisticated enough to kill off low quality links, but they appear to have finally managed to do so.
The webmasters who took part in the survey reported that the old shortcuts no longer work, and that SEO workers are now focusing on editorial links from sources curated by real people. Most webmasters are investing more time, effort and money into building links, and this is a good thing.
The Dangers of Investing in a Single SEO Tactic One thing that many webmasters report having learned the hard way is that it is dangerous to invest heavily in a single tactic. Some webmasters pushed too heavily towards directory submissions, or article marketing. Today, guest blogging is the flavour of the month. However, no one SEO tactic is guaranteed to work forever. Google’s Matt Cutts singled out guest posting as an SEO tactic that was considered harmful in one of his recent videos, and spoke at SMX Advanced telling people that it was easier to just be real than to “fake real.” Instead of focusing exclusively on one SEO tactic, Cutts encourages SEO workers to focus on making link building a part of a wider SEO and online marketing system that includes blogger outreach, guest posting, sponsorship, social media marketing and other techniques to increase your visibility online. Brand building is never simple, and the days of shortcuts catapulting websites to the top of the SERPs are long gone.