Link Building 2019

SEO has become uncomfortably complex. New topics always seem to be having an influence on ones success in Google SEO be it user experience, page speed or mobile optimisation and there’s never a shortage of new things to consider. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could throw away some old tasks, like link-building perhaps? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Original post by Johannes Beuss in German. Edited, here, by Steve Paine

Johannes wrote an interesting post this week which highlighted something that I want to bring into the English-speaking community. It’s a topic that’s creating a lot of discussion, a topic that could affect some peoples SEO businesses and it’s a topic that spans the complete lifetime of SEO.

In a video from German SEO Julian Dziki last week we saw the, somewhat polemic headline “Link building is not worth it in 2019.” In the the video, Julian talks about the risk associated with links and, in summary, the high cost of any valuable links. He says it’s just not cost effective any more to have a proactive link building project and that the time and money can be better spent. Links themselves remain important, says Julian, but only when they are natural.

The video triggered a number of responses from SEOs in Germany including the post linked above from our founder, Johannes Beuss. I translate.

At the risk of repeating myself [Only idiots ignore link-building – 2016], not much has changed in this area in recent years. To build success with Google you need two basic elements.

  • My page must be considered acceptable for the related search query.
  • My page must, in addition meet the users expectations, over the long term, in order to retain a first-page ranking.

While user behaviour is increasingly dependant on the second point, the firs point is classic SEO as it has been for many years. Google needs to be able to crawl my page (technical SEO), the right words must be in the content (onpage optimisation) and Google has to trust it enough to try the page in the Top 100. It’s exactly this trust part that takes place in the off-page area.

Google is not going to sit and wait for you, the website, to decalare your authority on the subject, no, it’s going to make its decision on the recommendations of others and these recommendation come mostly in the form of links. It is sometimes said that a brand can create trust and there are also wild theories about Google Streetview cars that can read advertising, the core of this process is still links.

Of course, today Google is much better at identifying which recommendations (= links) are trusted and which are not. 2019 is no longer about links from universities, the PageRank doesn’t matter anymore and it’s not the quantity of links that are important, but links continue to be an important indicator of trust in Google’s algorithm.

An infallible sign that links continue to be fundamentally important has always been that Google has made massive public opposition to any link building. But then, just a few days, we had this

Your comments, of course, are more than welcome. Does link building remain an important part of the SEO process?

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