Link building as an SEO tactic has been around for many years, which is a rare occasion for the Internet industry, where such longevity is uncommon. Ever since the first Google crawlers started analyzing citation rates for sites, SEO marketers began to artificially add up to the site quote count in hopes of getting higher SERP results from Google.
Of course, since then, link building has evolved, and today, it is as different from back then as a tiger is from the first animal that crawled out of the water. Google’s rank evaluation mechanism has become just as sophisticated, and the penalties for abusing it are as strict as ever. One thing remains the same, though, and it’s the fact that your website’s place in Google’s SERP still depends on how many reputable sites cite you. It’s the tactics of obtaining such citations that have changed drastically.
What do link-building trends say?
Let’s take a look at a few trends that have formed recently and prove that link-building as an SEO tactic is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Well, first and foremost, even though PageRank results are hidden now, it is glaringly obvious that Google still uses the quality (and, to an extent, the quantity) of backlinks as a larger factor in its evaluation of where to place a web page in its search results.
For example, according to Ahrefs, about 50% of top-rated sites use reciprocal links, a means to pass equity as old as time in Internet terms. It shows that it has stood the test of time, and so far, nothing points to this change. At the same time, again, according to Ahrefs data, about two-thirds of websites are not using any backlinks at all. This tells us that there’s still a huge share of the market that is not covered by SEO efforts.
Aira’s resource states that 90% of marketers still create digital content with the singular aim of obtaining backlinks and that over 60% of businesses believe that buying backlinks is a way to increase their Google rankings. This tells us that they have used the strategy before, and it worked for them. All of these are very solid signs that link building in 2023 is not just afloat but is an actively developing trend.
Another trend is the advance of automation. This is different from buying packs of backlinks. Modern tools for the automation of link-building processes are a huge leap ahead. For example, tools like Serpzilla.com allow you to streamline the placement selection process and automate payment processes. They also provide you with means of monitoring and controlling your placement in a centralized way, saving a lot of time and automating a lot of manual tasks.
Various market research and forecasts suggest that the price of high-quality backlinks and influencer integrations is expected to rise in 2023 and 2024, so it’s safe to say that businesses are willing to invest in backlinks, and it remains a working strategy to improve your SERP position.
How will the link-building strategy change in the coming years?
As Google still considers anything that is not a spontaneous freely given link to your content just because someone likes you as something that goes against its Webmaster guidelines and heavily penalized for the abuse, link building is getting more and more sophisticated.
Passive vs. Active Link-Building Strategies
According to Google Webmaster guidelines, a perfect link-building strategy is to do nothing passively and hope that people just link to you. Passive content strategies are getting increasingly popular as Google continues to crack down on link spammers. Of course, creating top-notch content and having it gain popularity on its own is the perfect scenario, but the competition is so high that your awesome content can get easily lost in an ocean of equally awesome content, and let’s face it, creating something unique regularly is rarely possible. So, while content marketing and sky-scraper link building will be a thing for a long time still, they are slow, and even genius content creators do not produce the same level of masterpieces all the time. This is to say, more proactive link building, when you take action to obtain links, will still be in high demand. All doors are open for link-building methods such as guest blogging, influencer integrations, taking up HARO information requests, increasing outreach, collaborating with review aggregators, and broken link reclamation.
Manual vs. Automated Link Building
You can acquire backlinks manually by reaching out to various resources and negotiating placement by doing continuous content marketing and generating organic links. The process is painstaking and time-consuming. It requires the work of marketers as well as content creators. Despite that, many businesses invest in it, not only because it works but because it fulfils many other functions. It becomes an integral part of a company’s general PR activity, a bigger marketing strategy and even part of the brand.
However, when it comes purely to raising your ranks with Google, while most effective, it is often just not enough. Statistics show that some of the most effective link-building profiles demonstrate a highly diverse combination of backlinks from a huge range of sources and feature both purchased and automated backlinks and naturally obtained links.
However, just as Google’s ranking mechanism has become more and more complicated over the years, link-building automation has reached new heights as well. Modern link-building platforms have a huge pool of resources that can backlink to you and provide organic-passing links in just a few clicks.
Doing More with Less
This is a typical tendency for any domain with high competition and rapidly developing tech. While the technique improves and the competition grows, the budgets sadly lag behind. SEO marketers will be expected to provide higher-level results but work with the same level of resources. This means that link-building strategies will continue to become more refined and complicated. Relying on AI, automation tools, and anything that helps you to streamline the processes in a way that doesn’t overstep and bring about Google’s punishing hand will continue to grow.
Setting trends in 2023 tells us that doubt marketers may, but link building as an SEO tool is still relevant. Most thriving businesses with top results in Google’s SERP employ this tactic. However, as in any highly competitive domain with strict regulations, link building rapidly becomes more and more sophisticated, so if you want to be successful, you need to watch out for new trends, try out emerging tactics, constantly monitor and analyze your backlink profile and adapt to a quickly changing environment.
Diversifying your backlink profile and not relying on a single tactic is the key to success here. Combining several backlinking approaches, such as different means to acquire quality backlinks, natural and automated backlinking, and optimizing your strategy to spend fewer resources while getting better results, will be the essential parts of any solid backlink strategy in the future.
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