Links may still be the streets that get you from web page to web page, but in the past couple of years, the way that we use them has changed. At the end of 2017, Gary Illyes, one of the leading figures at Google told attendees at a search engine optimisation conference that publishing good quality content will still prompt Google to find it, even without the presence of any links.

This is a stark contrast to what was said a year earlier. In 2016, Illyes told another marketing conference that “ranking without links is really, really hard.” While this demonstrates just how much link building can change in 12 months, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still be practising it.

What about Google’s algorithm?

It’s commonly known that Google regularly updates its algorithm. The most recent update allows it to detect how popular a web page is without any presence of links, meaning that many businesses are starting to instead switch their SEO focus to what links really mean to people. Here’s why.

Users click on links, not on search engines

The reason you put a link in place is so that a real human being can click on it. In that case, why would you have links that are aimed at search engines? Now that search engines no longer need links to pick up on your content, you want your links to prompt people to take action. As an example, one of the most clicked on CTA’s is simply ‘click here’.

Don’t get links for the sake of it

Link building in 2018 is no longer about links, but about gaining quality references to your content. Spending a great deal of time and money finding links for SEO purposes is now better spent on content creation. SEO now depends a lot more on the quality of your content than how many links you’re producing to your website.

Share your content on social media

Don’t underestimate the value of social media when it comes to growing your business. This has proven to be one of the most effective ways to build links whether it’s through sharing content or including links in social media profiles.  

Build backlinks with videos

66% of SEO experts find link building with videos to be effective. Self-hosting videos on your website or sharing them on social media can be an excellent way to get your content seen by your target audience. Good video ideas include product reviews, industry-specific interviews and FAQs.