Since the many Google updates of 2011 and 2012, SEO has changed dramatically. While unique, fresh content seems to be the top priority now for improved search engine rankings, building links is still important, although the way to go about it has changed quite a bit. It seems like the focus now where Google is concerned is to take a “natural” approach. No purchased links, or hundreds of links coming from one source such as article directories. The secret to effective link building in 2012 is to attract links naturally, from a variety of trusted sources. In other words, your content should be so good that other sites naturally want to link to your page, article, blog post, etc.
It’s also important today to vary the anchor text you use in links pointing to your pages. Once upon a time, if your target keywords were “web design,” nearly every link pointing to your page would include those words as anchor text. Now, Google looks at links in a different way; if every link pointing to your page is exactly the same in terms of anchor text, it may be overdoing it – this is almost considered keyword spam. It looks forced, one thing Google doesn’t like. Vary your anchor text; in this case, you could use “web design,” “website design,” “web design company,” and occasionally, just your basic URL.
Social media has earned a place in link building as well. As search engines (Google and Bing, in particular) use a number of signals from social media to determine how relevant a website is, links propagated through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do matter, and count when it comes to determining rank.
To be successful with the link building aspect of SEO today, remember that diversity is key. When you attract links from relevant blogs and social media, combined with links from trusted sites such as article directories, ezines, press release sites or even guest posts you’ve authored and placed on highly-trafficked blogs, you will experience greater success in your link building campaigns.
Overall, links that are acquired naturally rather than “forced” will help greatly in your SEO efforts. Remember to diversify, and to vary anchor text for the best results!