The controversial side of link building. Associated with search engine optimization or SEO, link building is a marketing tactic whereby construct links point back to specific pages of your brand’s website using external sites. Oftentimes, high-authority domains are the goal with link building as they can draw traffic to your pages almost instantaneously. Over a period of time, these links can also give your site increased domain authority, making it more likely to rank higher in terms of SEO.


So, what’s with the controversiality?

Since it first came about, Google’s search engine algorithm ranks sites according their high levels of reliability and trustworthiness, using PageRank. This method would simply calculate a site’s authority according to how many links lead back to it, as well as the authority levels of these sources. However, this has since changed and Google’s search engine can now detect the quality of links, penalizing where links are spammed or compromise internet users’ experience.

‘Black hat’ SEO professionals

However, the above hasn’t stopped unethical or ‘black hat’ SEO practitioners from using bad links to boost the rankings of sites. Methods include directly exchanging money or products for links or using automated systems in order to blindly create links; both of which Google deems violations of its service terms, among others. Unfortunately, it’s often easy to come by companies willing to using these kinds of unethical strategies to build links, leading to the false conception that all SEO professionals and link building companies operate in this manner. However, this isn’t the case and modern professionals are wary and cautious when it comes to link building because at the end of the day, link spammers and ‘black hat’ schemers do get found out and potentially penalized.

Link earning vs. link building

White hat link building in its modern approach relies on editorial links, as well as other kinds of links that come organically as a result of well thought out content that serves internet users. Link earners typically gain links through creating wholesome, informative content and promoting it via outreach, building relationships online so that people link back to the content organically.

Because there are so many different approaches to link building, there is certainly room for debate surrounding these methods. The ethics surrounding link building can be ambiguous – who determines these ethics? However, when built and gained correctly, links can be extremely valuable for everyone involved, resulting in increased website traffic and visibility. At the end of the day, links are a practical, necessary component of SEO and these days, it’s nearly impossible to achieve ranking status without a solid profile of backlinks.