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The Tell-All-Truth Guide to Modern Link Building
Link building IS one of the most effective SEO strategies. But do you have the courage to admit this?

For years now, we've heard Google saying SEOs should stop building links. And while it's a commonly accepted truth that in the post-Penguin world you can no longer use "manipulative" link building practices, Google's propaganda gave birth to a radical idea:

"Backlinks are no longer important in Google's ranking algos, and link building can be safely ignored"

But is there any truth to this? Let's dig deeper to dot the i's and cross the t's!

1 Backlinks in Google's algorithm and SEO
Can your website rank high without link building?
2 The Penguin-proof disclaimer
The do-not-ever-do's of link building
3 Building links for YOUR website
6 link-building techniques you can still rely on

A little bit of backstory

In my 7 years of marketing the SEO PowerSuite software, I've come to accept the fundamental fact: the only way to make our tools a success is to build them not the way we think is right, but the way you want them to be.

And that is why every single day I look through your comments on our news pages and social networks, learning the way you run SEO and how we can better serve your needs. However, the comment I came across last week made me stop in amazement and even spurred me to write this article (thanks a LOT for sharing your thoughts, Reg! ☺)

Backlinks in Google's algorithm and SEO
Can your website rank high without link building?

"If you build links, they are only going to hurt, not help" says Reg.

I'm sure you've heard this opinion before. And, no doubt, the idea that link building is risky has some legitimate roots: Google Penguin algorithm and manual link penalties have forced SEOs to re-think the concept of link building (link earning, link acquisition, content marketing or whatever you like it to call), making the process sophisticated and very time consuming.

But the undeniable facts tell us link building is not dead and is far (if this will ever happen) from dying.

Fact 1:
Yes, backlinks are still a major ranking factor

While doing their best to frighten SEOs off link building, never has Google ever told us they no longer rely on backlinks and PageRank.

And on the contrary, every now and then they have admitted that backlinks and PageRank (the algorithm Google uses to score websites based on their backlink profiles) are very far from being substituted by any other ranking factor.

"We have run experiments… and the quality looks much, much worse."

"It turns out backlinks, even though there's some noise and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really really big win in terms of quality for search results."
Matt Cutts

Even though the "public" PageRank scores aka Toolbar PageRank haven't been updated for a couple of years now, internally Google hasn't ever stopped to use PR in their ranking algos. (And well… if Google issues Penguin updates to protect PageRank from being manipulated, isn't it in itself proof that PageRank is an important and vulnerable part of their algo? ☺)

More to that, even the most recent studies show the number of domains linking to a page correlates with rankings more than any other factor.

Fact 2:
No, your backlink profile won't grow on its own

"Build a great website and backlinks will come…" Does this phrase also make you smile?

While this may be true for large brands and popular websites (that already have a huge readership and can rest assured their awesome content will get in front of the eyes of the right audience), this is absolutely not true for a small and young site.

If there is no one to see your website, appreciate how good it is and link back to you…

You need to work hard to build each of your backlinks.

And while many SEOs now choose the easy path of saying "Link building is dead now, so I don't need to sweat over backlinks", you — the one who has the courage to admit that building a strong backlink profile is still the key to SEO success — get an unbeatable advantage over your SEO competition.

The Penguin-proof disclaimer
The do-not-ever-do's of link building

So, backlinks matter and they require your hard work. However in the post-Penguin era, link building plays into your hands only when done right.

And before proceeding with "what we can do" to build quality backlinks, let's talk about low quality links and how they can hurt your site.

1. Manual Link Spam Penalty

Manual penalty is issued by Google's webspam team, after they have reviewed a site's link profile and found it spammy. The review could have been triggered by:

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