Link Building: Why It Still Matters in 2024

While early search engine optimization (SEO) focused on sheer volume, today's strategies emphasize quality, relevance, and ethical practices. But where does link building fit into the SEO-scape and does it really still matter? Well, Google’s latest Core Update seems to indicate that it does, just not in the way that you may think.

Robynn Farrell
Robynn Farrell
May 17th, 2024
Link Building: Why It Still Matters in 2024

While early search engine optimization (SEO) focused on sheer volume, today's strategies emphasize quality, relevance, and ethical practices. But where does link building fit into the SEO-scape and does it really still matter? Well, Google’s latest Core Update seems to indicate that it does, just not in the way that you may think.

Google’s March Core Algorithm Update was complex, aiming to reduce low-quality, spam, or unoriginal content by as much as 45%. This update involved various changes to its core system, many of which focussed on links. Here are three main takeaways from the latest update:

  • Less Emphasis on Links as a Ranking Factor: the word “important” was removed from guidelines, indicating that although not a primary ranking factor, links still indicate relevancy.

  • Emphasis On and Clarification of Manipulative Links: “Link spam” or links bought to manipulate rankings will be penalized.

  • New Expired Domain Signal: determines whether a repurposed expired domain is being used to manipulate rankings and offers no value to users.

That being said, it’s evident that although link building in SEO is not necessarily a direct ranking factor, it has benefits that extend beyond online visibility and awareness. 

Think of it this way: if you are a budding entrepreneur promoting your brand at a business convention, link building is the networking technique you use to connect with potential clients. Except, the business convention takes place daily and has a global reach. 

So, let's take a closer look at why link building is important and how link building and SEO outsourcing can help maximize your digital networking efforts. 

Why Link Building in SEO Still Matters

The role of links in SEO, although not the main focus with regard to ranking, is pivotal, acting as the connective tissue of the Internet's information architecture. 

As search engines, like Google, continue to place emphasis on quality content, backlinks, or inbound links from one site to another are fundamental in signaling credibility and relevance to search engines

Essentially, search engines use these links to gauge a website's authority and trustworthiness; the more high-quality links a site has, the more likely it is to rank higher in search results. However, it's not just about the sheer number of backlinks—quality significantly outweighs quantity. 

Links from reputable, high-authority sites carry more weight and positively impact rankings, while numerous low-quality links can be detrimental. This shift towards prioritizing quality ensures that link building remains an essential, evolving aspect of robust SEO and backlink strategies, focusing on cultivating genuine, valuable connections over mere numerical gain. 

Key Link Building Strategies in 2024

Modern link building techniques have shifted from the rudimentary methods of the past to more sophisticated, quality-focused approaches. Gone are the days of indiscriminate link exchanges and low-quality directory submissions. 

Instead, today's successful link building strategies emphasize acquiring backlinks from high-authority and relevant websites. This change not only aligns with search engine algorithms that prioritize user experience and content quality but also enhances the overall credibility and trustworthiness of the linked site.

In fact, if your content is really good, you may not even have to prioritize link building tactics, as high-quality content often receives links with little to no outreach required. These are known as earned links.

Link Building vs. Earned Linking

Link earning refers to when quality backlinks are earned naturally. This generally occurs when users discover exceptionally good content and link back to it. The types of content that usually receive earned links include:

  • How-to guides

  • Memes and entertaining videos

  • Content with informed opinions

  • Money saving tips

  • Industry trend infographics

Link building, on the other hand, is when acquiring links requires a more proactive approach known as link building outreach. In other words, it involves reaching out to relevant, authoritative websites and asking for a link back to your content to drive traffic to your website and, ultimately, improve search rankings. Popular backlink strategies and link building campaigns usually include:

  • Link exchanges

  • Guest posting

  • Niche edits

  • Broken link building

  • Infographic link building

This underscores link building importance and why high-quality content and effective backlink strategies are still a cornerstone of effective SEO today.

Importance of Relevance and Authority in Link Acquisition

In 2024, the relevance and authority of the linking site are important factors in the success of a link building strategy. Search engines have become adept at assessing the context and quality of backlinks, rewarding those from sites with high domain authority and content relevance

A backlink from a reputable, industry-specific website is far more valuable than multiple links from unrelated, low-authority sites. This relevance signals to search engines that your content is a trusted source within its niche, thereby improving your search rankings. 

Additionally, authoritative backlinks drive targeted traffic, which increases the likelihood of conversions and enhances overall site engagement.

So now that we understand the nuances of link building importance, let's unpack how to leverage content marketing for backlinks to expand your digital reach.

Incorporating Content Marketing and Outreach Into Link Building Efforts

Content marketing and outreach have become integral to successful link building strategies in 2024. Creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content is the foundation of attracting natural backlinks and should be your focus before initiating your link building outreach strategy. 

Your content should address the needs and interests of your target audience, encouraging them to share and link to it. Incorporating various forms of content, such as infographics, whitepapers, and case studies, can appeal to different segments of your audience and provide multiple link-building opportunities.

Outreach is equally important. Building relationships with influencers, bloggers, and industry leaders can significantly amplify your link-building techniques. Personalized link building outreach or link building campaigns, where you connect with these individuals and offer your content as a resource, can lead to valuable, quality backlinks.

Additionally, participating in industry forums, online communities, and social media groups allows you to share your content and establish your authority, further enhancing your link-building potential.

The Future of Link Building

As we look ahead, the latest Google Core Algorithm Updates indicate that we can expect a greater emphasis on acquiring high-quality, contextually relevant backlinks rather than sheer quantity. 

Search engines will continue refining their ability to discern link quality, making authoritative, industry-relevant links more valuable than ever. However, this evolution presents challenges, such as increased competition for premium backlinks and the need to navigate stricter search engine guidelines

Opportunities lie in leveraging innovative content marketing for backlinks strategies, fostering genuine relationships with industry influencers, and utilizing various tools to identify prime link-building prospects. This not only highlights why link building is important but also how great content works hand in hand with link building in SEO.

To stay ahead, businesses must prioritize creating valuable content that naturally attracts links, engage in strategic outreach, and continually adapt to algorithm updates. By focusing on quality, relevance, and ethical link-building practices, businesses can maintain a strong SEO presence in an ever-changing digital sphere.

Final Thoughts

In summary, link building in 2024 requires a strategic approach prioritizing quality, relevance, and authority. By employing modern link building tactics such as guest blogging, broken link building, and digital PR, as well as integrating robust content marketing and link building outreach efforts, businesses can build a strong, quality backlink profile that enhances their SEO performance. 

Staying ahead of the curve in link building means continually adapting to changes in search engine algorithms and maintaining a focus on creating valuable, shareable content. This approach not only improves search rankings but also drives meaningful engagement and growth in the digital marketplace. 

At blackbear we work with some of the best SEO minds in the business, offering greater insights into how you can grow and expand your reach through tried-and-tested SEO outsourcing strategies

Ready to start networking on a global scale? Schedule a free 15 minute introduction call (no strings attached) and we’ll give you a tour of our platform and answer any questions you may have.

Get news, insights and resources in your inbox

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter where we cover topics around workforce planning and management.