Some years back external links were thought to be the most significant ranking factor in search engines like Google. External links were the first criterion used by Google to determine the authority of a page. But, things seem to be changing now. Link building is important, but how long will it remain this significant? What will be the importance of link building in 2018?
Link Building In 2018
According to some, external links used to be important in the past and they will continue to be important in the future. There are 3 key ranking factors: the quality of the content, the relevance of the page, and the value of external links.
There is a difference between the 2017 link building campaigns and those of the past. Google had to fight spammers between 2002 and 2012. During that time, it was a piece of cake to manipulate the results on search engine by getting links through comments on blogs, directories, and private blog networks. This could help a page reach the top position even if it was of poor quality.
When the Panda anPenguinin updates were released, things started getting difficult for spammers and beneficial to people and companies that relied on quality SEO services, i.e. White Hat SEO. So, the relevance of links stay the same but now you have to make your page relevant to keywords and come up with quality content.
To sum up, link building in 2018 will be as important as it was in the past. Links will not be helpful if your page is not of quality and is not relevant. However, links will still be the most detrimental factor, provided you come up with quality content.
But, what about social media signals? Would link building in 2018 be more important than social signals or will it be the other way round? Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, have witnessed a strong growth in recent years. That is why Google now pays attention to social media signals such as shares, likes, and comments. Some SEO specialists have done studies, that have been confirmed practically, which show you can replace links with social media signals. So, the number of likes, shares, and retweets of your articles or blog posts on Twitter and Facebook can help boost its ranking on Google even if there is no external link.
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But, if you consider two pages on the same topic, and do a link building campaign on the first one on high authority niche sites, and do a social media campaign for the second page, the first page will have a better ranking then the second one! So, social media signals are still not more significant than good quality links. If you combine the two, you can really improve your rank on Google.
How important will be link building in 2018? Google cannot really exclude good quality links as a ranking factor. But, what about the fact that there are tools available to generate automatic comments on Twitter and Facebook? Guess it all comes back to Penguin, Google’s ranking algorithm.
So, link building in 2018 and beyond will still be important, but the focus will be on quality content and relevance.
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