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The web was built by links. In fact, you could say the Internet itself is a system of, for, and by links. You can’t get traffic to your website without links. And for the longest time, you couldn’t get search engine rankings without links. But link-based SEO is changing.

Google made link building necessary by telling people that their reputation and authority were based on the number and quality of inbound links pointing at their website. As soon as Google said that, they guaranteed that search engine optimizers would chase links for a long time into the future. But post-Panda and Penguin, that’s changing.

Links are still important, but they aren’t as important as they once were. Today, SEO is about more than building links.

The Web goes through a cycle of evolution. Before Google, people found information online by going to Yahoo! or searching one of the few search engines that were popular then (Excite, Alta Vista, et. al.). But those search engines were very primitive compared to Google and Bing.

Google came along and link building was born. The SEO industry was born. Link spam was born.

When link spam began to outweigh legitimate SEO rankings that were beneficial to the searcher, it became necessary for Google to change the rules of the game. That’s why they focused on destroying content farms and re-ordering the ecosystem of search. That’s why link building via link spam strategies had to die. Going forward, if you want to rank in the search engines, then you need to build a solid content marketing strategy that isn’t wholly link-based.

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