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There’s no doubt that link building is still important. After Panda and Penguin, there’s been a lot of debate about it. Many link builders have transitioned their business models to focus on content marketing instead, but is there really any difference?

Content marketing isn’t about building links. It never has been. It’s been about delivering a message. It’s easy to get the two confused.

I’m not saying that content marketing is bad for building links or that it won’t build inbound links to your website. What I’m saying is, if that’s your main reason for doing it, then you’re really just building links. Ask yourself if the content would be valuable without the inbound links to your website. Would your audience read it even if they didn’t know who wrote it or what website it was promoting?

That last question is very telling. If the answer is “no,” then you’re link building.

Good content marketing is about the content, not the links. What that means is, you take the time to develop a great idea, research it, publish it, then promote it. That’s what a content marketing strategy is. It’s a publishing model.

There’s nothing wrong with building links. Many SEOs, post-Penguin, would have you believe that link building is bad. That’s not the case. You still need a link portfolio, but it’s not more important to have 1,000 links than it is to have great content. You need a fine balance between the two.

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