The 2016 State of Link Building Survey – Results & Analysis

Link building is in an odd spot. Some people swear by it still, others pull out the pitchforks and want to burn it to the ground it seems. The past year has been a bit of a calming down period as some are starting to see the value in link building done right, and others are starting to see they need more content to drive the links and to create the links off of now.

As much as we like to say content is king, at the end of the day without any links going to that content it doesn’t really have a huge impact. We need to be making great content, creating good links back to it, and driving as many eyes to it as we can to keep our content at the forefront of the keywords we want it to focus on.

Are you using a mix of tactics or sticking to your guns and just using one? How has link building worked for you over the past year?

[Estimated read time: 18 minutes] SEO futurists have predicted the death of links as a ranking signal for years on end. That hasn’t happened yet , and I’m happy to say that link building as a practice has greatly evolved. But rapid change often creates confusion, and there doesn’t yet seem to be a strong consensus on how link building teams should be constructed, where they fit in the marketing plan, and how much ought to be invested into link acquisition. To bring more clarity and transparency to a complicated pillar of SEO, I’m proud to present to you the 2016 State of Link Building Survey results! Let’s be frank: link building has had a volatile history filled with spam, tricks, and get-rich-quick schemes. When Google introduced the first version of Penguin in April of 2012, the practice of link building received a severe shock to the system. “Google Trends analyzes a percentage of Google web searches to figure out how many searches were done over a certain period of time.” – Trends Help In the minds of many, content marketing has been the modern replacement to link building. To me, this is a flawed perspective, as content marketing has many goals beyond links; link acquisition is a highly ancillary product amidst the primary goals of content marketing. Links also serve a different set of goals than content marketing. The process was supposed to look something like this, from Rand’s Search Love deck . The manual promotion, the deliberate intention of earning all of the links you deserve via manual outreach, is what seems to have been missing in many marketing strategies of late. If you’re interested in learning about how we promoted this survey, check out the methodology section below. Otherwise, hit the jump link to get straight to the questions and results. You can access this year’s raw data sheet here . I encourage you to create your own graphs/analysis with Google Sheets (Insert > Chart…) and share them in the comments! First make sure to create a copy (File > Make a copy…). Methodology I have immensely enjoyed the fascinating data presented in the 2013 and 2014 annual link building surveys. 2015 passed without a survey, and I felt compelled to gather updated data from the industry at large. It’s interesting to note we had 435 responses to this year’s survey, as compared to 315 total […]

Cy SearsThe 2016 State of Link Building Survey – Results & Analysis