Is link building bad?


There was an interesting discussion on Twitter yesterday on the subject of backlinks and disavowing low quality links to a website. At Artemis we haven’t disavowed links for clients for several years now. Google discourages using the disavow file as you may unwittingly tell Google to ignore links that are actually helping your website rank. Google is much better now at determining which links should and shouldn’t count towards rankings, so there’s no need to disavow anything anymore, not unless you’ve been hit with a manual penalty.

In yesterday’s conversation, John Mueller from Google said that “these agencies (both creating and those disavowing) are just making stuff up”. That’s quite a statement. Disavowing I agree with, but not when it comes to creating links. A fundamental part of Google’s algorithm (PageRank) relies on links to understand the reputation and relevancy of a website. Without links it’s very difficult to get a page to rank, unless it’s for an ultra-low competition search term. If you don’t make an active effort to get links to your website, it’s never really going to make much of an impact in search.

Of course, getting low quality links is pointless, but actively working on gaining high quality links is absolutely key for SEO. The proof is in the pudding. No links generally means no ranking improvements, despite the quality of the content on the pages. Link building isn’t bad, low quality link building is (pointless).

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