Seriously? Sometimes I really hate what the world of SEO and SEM has become. In a recent Google “hangout” [just threw up in my mouth a little], dude asks “is link building in any way good?”. The response from John Mueller is pure Google:
That is a good question.
In general, I’d try to avoid that.
So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.
We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.
Everyone knows that the biggest ranking factor is links. That’s why SEOs have been preaching links for the past decade or so. Unfortunately, in the eyes of Google, if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, than it is obviously linkspam. Seriously, it’s starting to feel a bit like William Bligh with Google being the HMS Bounty.
This just exacerbates the entire problem with SEO. If you reach out to people and ask for links, you’re seen in the eyes of Google as a spammer. Never mind the fact that this is the core responsibility of any PR department. That’s right folks. Google has taken an entire industry and told them that they are nothing more than a bunch of black hat spammers. Which of course is funny considering the fact that Google has over 40 job listings under the category of PR. He who has the gold makes the rules I suppose.
Full disclosure on this – I haven’t been actively reaching out for links in years (personally or professionally). We build pages that we feel have good information. If people link, so be it. If they don’t, so be it. And yes, I actively review, prune and manage by disavow list. I no longer have the patience to try and decipher the cryptic “instructions” that the PTB at Google provide. Penalties suck and Penguin penalties super suck, so SEO has turned from a game of trying to improve your rankings to trying to avoid penalties. Awesome.