There is much debate about whether link building is an essential SEO strategy. Part of the debate arises from Google’s stance about link building, and in previous comments has advocated to forego link building strategies entirely. The reason for this stance is related to how Google and Penguin updates have drastically hurt website search result rankings over the past few years.

In the past, organizations would create external links without much thought or concern simply to increase their rankings. They would purchase and sell links with other organizations. As a result of this practice, Penguin penalized such organizations for using unsavory link building practices. In addition, even requesting links or exchanging links is considered a violation of Google’s guidelines. The effects of bad link building, even in cases where a website only has just one, results in a drastic reduction in search engine rankings.

However, there are proponents on the other side of the fence, so to speak, that strongly recommend using link building as part of SEO strategies. These advocates recommend utilizing natural link building methods, in place of unacceptable methods of purchasing and selling links. Natural link building is employing methods where website content is shared between other websites and social media to create natural external links. This practice is entirely allowed and does not violate Google’s guidelines.

For instance, you compose a well-written, original piece of content and post it on your website. You allow others to share the content as a means to have it linked back to your original site. This is an effective link building strategy. But a word of caution, posting an external link in the comments section of posted content should be avoided as it is a risky behavior and could have undesirable results to your search engine rankings. Additionally, social media content strategies should be combined with your original website content strategies. Effective management of both strategies can help extend the reach of original content and increase the number of acceptable, natural links.

For the naysayers, who are staying away from link building strategies completely, consider this: A recent study by Moz suggests that it is possible to establish rankings for noncompetitive keywords and key phrases without the use of any links. However, for the majority of organizations adapting this strategy, they will not see any noticeable changes in rankings on Google. In order to see any improvements, there must be naturally strong, and effective external links present and tied to the content. The Moz study also established a direct correlation between the quality and number of links and how utilizing effective linking strategies did eventually improve the rankings on Google.

What does this mean? Even though Google tends to discourage link building strategies, since it opens the door for unsavory practices, in the end, link building is an essential strategy for SEO if your organization desires to achieve top rankings in search results. Although, you do need to be concerned about potential penalties imposed by Google for not using the right linking strategies. If you are worried about getting dinged, it is best to obtain professional assistance from a well-established SEO company In Toronto. There are several different options for effective link building you can incorporate into your SEO, such as peripheral link building and carefully implemented, broader link building strategies, both of which, do not violate Google’s guidelines.