Is link building still relevant to SEO? Benefits & drawbacks

Hi, I am Praneeth.

In this blog, you will learn 10 pros and cons of building backlinks.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Here is a 30000-foot view of the blog.

What is link building, what’s its importance?

pros and cons of building backlinks

Backlinks are links that are pointing to an external website from one website.

For example,

You have a website A and your friend has a website B,

An external link from website B to website A is called Backlink to website A.

The practice of building links to a website from other websites is called link building or building backlinks.

Google which is the largest search engine on the planet uses this formula to identify the content’s quality and uses it as one of the top 3 ranking factors in search engines.

Google uses backlinks as a voting system,

If many people or websites are linking to a particular website as their source or anything in form of backlinks then Google looks at it as the content is good quality as more people linking to it and ranks it high on google.

Ultimately more backlinks pointing to a website, the higher the chances of the website ranking high on search engines.

10 pros and cons of building backlinks.

Here are 10 pros and cons of building backlinks for your website in 2020,.

Let’s see advantages or pros of building backlinks for your website.

5 pros.

Here is a quick overview of the 6 pros of building backlinks for your website in 2020.

  1. Higher Rankings.
  2. Rank for more keywords.
  3. Increase Credibility of the website for users.
  4. Establish to EAT.
  5. Build new Relations.

Let’s learn each reason in detail,

1. Higher rankings and more traffic.

how often should you blog

This is a very obvious thing about building backlinks for your website.

By building backlinks to your website and your content actively, google notices the change of websites linking to your website and blog.

Google sees this as an upvote to your content and website as a whole and starts ranking your blog higher on the search engine results page.

You know with building backlinks to your website actively, you are not just building links rather, you are creating a channel of targeted traffic to your website.

Those who ever click on your website from the backlink you build on other websites, the beauty about it is,

  • It drives targeted traffic to your website.
  • It helps in your website recognition.
  • It can even lead to more sales on your website.

People obviously click on the link if they want to know more about you and your business, so you have a new opportunity to hook people to your website.

You not just will have the benefit of higher rankings in search engines rather you can also take advantage of the targeted traffic you get from the link you created.

2. You will rank for many other keywords apart from your target one.

With backlinks,

When you build them for your content and your website or blog.

You obviously want your blog to rank higher on search engines for your targeted keyword.


By building backlinks from relevant websites of your industry, You can potentially rank for many other related keywords and queries higher on google.

This not just brings more organic traffic to your website from the targeted keyword in your blog but you will get higher rankings for similar other terms and keywords in google higher.

You can get additional traffic to your website by ranking for several other terms on search engines.

3. It increases the credibility of your website for users.

blog without domain & cms

When your website or your blog’s content is ranking higher on google and if people can see that your blog is ranking higher on search engines.

It increases the credibility of your website for users.

They start believing in you and what you speak.

They start valuing you for what you talk about in your blog.

You know it is simple,

Stories backed with evidence and facts Are much more effective than just stories without any proofs.

When people can find your website ranking for keywords higher in google,

It obviously increases your credibility.

You can influence people to take some actions on your website like generate sales or increase revenue from your blog through leads.

Building backlinks not just increase the credibility of trust for people with you and your website,

If the website is useful, people are most likely to get hooked on your website.

Higher rankings of your website increase brand awareness of your website.

Other people will start recognizing and noticing your website faster.

It helps in free marketing of your blog online, it can also generate some traffic through social shares of your blog or website.

Well, the most important thing in the world right now is people’s attention and if you grab people’s attention by ranking higher on google and build a level of trust in people about you and your business, there is no stopping you online.

4. It establishes the EAT of your website.

expert in podcast

Google is very strict right now.

Google’s main focus is on providing the most relevant and correct answer to its audience queries in search results.

If your website or blog falls into niches and categories which influence people’s health and money or life in general.

Google is going to be extra careful with your website in search engines.

Google calls this YMYL which means Your Money Your Life.

Topics mainly related to categories such as,

  1. Medical health.
  2. Exercise and fitness.
  3. Investment and buying and selling things.

If you are blogging on these topics, google wants the websites which blog on this topic to show its EAT.

Basically, EAT means Expertise Authotritativeness & Trustworthiness.

It all combines and boils down to the credibility of the website or the author of the website and is the information present on the website credible for users and for Google.

If the information is not credible and trustworthy mainly in the categories I explained earlier, it might hurt people’s lives as they read and act on the information.

If people’s lives money and health are affected negatively, they get a bad reputation from google which google does not likes to have.

An interesting thing to notice here is that Google is expanding its EAT requirement from websites that talk about YMYL to many other niches like,

  1. Sports.
  2. News.
  3. Niche websites.

Because you know if there is any process of the transaction on your websites like an exchange of credit card numbers or money for buying things which comes under YMYL.

You as the website owner have to show your EAT of your website to google.

And the best way for that is,

  1. Building links.
  2. Getting no link mentions.
  3. Hooking an audience on your website for a long time aka increasing your website dwell time.

Through building backlinks to your website from highly authoritative and relevant websites to your website,

It sends a signal to Google that the website is trustworthy and the information is credible because other relevant websites are linking to it.

Getting a no link mention is about getting your website name mentioned in other relevant authoritative websites without being linked to,

It is a great way for google to know that people are discussing you so it is worth it.

There are many other ways you can establish EAT for your website but building links is the number one thing you should do for your website.

5. It helps to build new, helpful, & long-lasting relationships with other webmasters.

pros and cons of building backlinks

Building backlinks actively is all about getting in touch with the website owner directly.

Be it through different strategies you build a link such as,

  1. Guest post.
  2. Broken link building.
  3. Cited as a resource.

It is a direct contact between you and the other person.

Meanwhile, through link building, you will end up having a helpful and long-lasting relationship with the other website owner and it is simply worth it.

Through all the strategies and links you generate to your website, it is not just about driving links to your website for only traffic and rankings, and authority juice.

You build an evergreen and long-lasting relationship with the website owner.

The most important thing in life is not money or fame but the connections and network you have with people.

If you have good relations with people that form through building links, you can double or triple the revenue by getting together on a common goal.

You can find new link opportunities with the existing relations you build with people for your website.

It is just endless to what you can do.

With that said there are 5 cons of building links for your website actively, let’s learn them in detail.

5 cons.

Here is a quick overview of 5 disadvantages or drawbacks or cons of building backlinks for your website in 2020.

  1. Time-consuming.
  2. You might have to pay.
  3. Google penalty risk.
  4. You have less content on your website.
  5. It is not all about backlinks today.

Let’s learn each reason in detail,

1. It is the most time-consuming process in SEO.


You can create a blog post of 3000 words in 2 days with good research and graphics but if you are building backlinks for your website.

You might end up investing your time like 2 or 3 days for a single link by mailing hundreds of people.

Irrespective of which strategy you use like,

  • Broken link building.
  • Guest posting.

You might have to mail to hundreds of people and website owners with personalized emails begging for link replacement to your blog.


There are thousands of people who know and follow the exact rules and strategies you are following for building the links.

So most website owners are going to ignore, block, and delete your mails even though your blog be of high quality.

It is just a very hard thing to crackdown.

Even if you send hundreds of email outreach for links, it takes around 8 days to get a link back.

So you know that it’s the most time-consuming and difficult task in SEO.

2. You might have to pay money for a link.

pros and cons of building backlinks

When you are in desperate need of links mainly from highly authoritative and relevant websites if you are in a serious niche like health and money,

People use your need for links as their chance of making money.

In your desperation of link building, you might have to pay some serious amount of money to the website owner to get a link back to your website.

Because you know the volume of people who are looking for a link is so vast.

It becomes impossible for you to ignore the opportunity of thinking you can earn much more money later than what you invest in today for links.

You might end up either paying for a link monthly or on a yearly plan to keep that link there all time.

It is very bad to see how the established website owners use this opportunity of new bloggers and webmasters and ask for money in return for link mention.

3. You might get a google penalty.

penalty in google

The very essence of link building approach is building links to your existing blog or website to rank high on search engines for more traffic and visibility.

This very approach is against google’s rules.

Google does not want you as the website owner and content creator to build links for your blogs to rank higher on search engines.

Google wants your backlinks to be naturally linked by people rather than being done through work and money.

When you are building links without focusing on the most important thing which is the content of your website or blogs correctly, you are actually trying to manipulate search engine results for higher rankings.

You should know that you are practicing a method of tricking Google for higher rankings.

Google hates bloggers for doing this,

Another thing is that when your website is very brand new and is not that old or does not have much content on it but has plenty of links pointing to it,

It appears unnatural for a new website with less content but some links pointing to it, like google senses something fishy happening on the website.

It sends a clear signal to Google that this website is here to manipulate me and search results which is bad.

And google will send you a manual action and penalty to your website.

It is very risky when you are doing this link building thing artificially trying to trick Google for higher rankings, you might gain rankings higher but if you overdo things and not care about other factors like content and age.

You might get a penalty from Google if your website might get de-indexed from google which means your website is banned from google.

So it is very much a risky operation of building links to a brand new website that does not have much age and content to it or any website which suddenly has a lot of websites linking to it.


Backlinks to a website must appear to be in linear growth, not exponential one as it appears unnatural and leads to a penalty.

4. You have less content on your website & fewer opportunities for people to stay on your website.

pros and cons of building backlinks

Another big problem with actively building links to your website is that,

You are obviously violating what google does not want you as a content creator to do which is building links.

You are spending more time trying to trick Google that your content is more authoritative and better and good than what it actually is compared to its age.

You are spending so much time in process of tricking google with building links.

You are somehow wasting so much time which you could invest in creating more content pieces.

Obviously, if you are spending 60% of your time creating content and 40% of your time billing links to it.

You have less content on your blog to the person who spends 95% of their time creating content and 5% of the time building links to it.

With more high-quality content you have more reasons for people to visit your website,

You have more reasons for people to stay on your website.

You have more chances for Google to rank your website.

Google sees this website is actively maintained with regular posts so faster blogs indexation.

Even if you get a google algorithm update or change, your blog traffic will not sink because your blog or website traffic is not dependent on a single or a bunch of blogs rather you have so many pieces of content to rank on google and get traffic to your blog.

With building links, you have,

  1. Less content.
  2. Less traffic oppurtunites.
  3. Overly dependent on few articles for traffic.
  4. One algorithm changes and traffic is gone as the blog rankings are gone.
  5. Fewer chances of monetization of the website.

So, this is what I feel to be the biggest disadvantage of building links actively for your website.

You have less content, more links, more risk, and fewer opportunities.

5. It is not just about links today.


Back then in the 2010s if you want to rank high on google, get a 500 words blog post with a lot of keyword stuffing and a lot of links pointing to it, and you are done.

Times have changed my friend.

Today, of course, backlinks are still the top 3 important ranking factors but the most important thing for higher ranking in Google is,


It is search intent,

Which is what the searcher is looking for when typing the phrase or keyword in Google?

Irrespective of how many links are pointing to your website and how many words you have on your blog if you fail here,

Your rankings will sink to the bottom.

Google is getting much smarter with its algorithm and it launched currently google has its 3 most important ranking factors,

  1. content.
  2. Backlinks.
  3. Rank brain.

Obviously, we know the top 2 but there is an algorithm change in google called Rankbrain.

What rank brain does is it has the capability and power to tweak the algorithm rules and factors.

The rank brain is a machine learning algorithm that constantly monitors user experience signs on the search results page.

Here is a graphic image of the rank brain.


It observes the following things,

  1. Which page on search results got more CTR.
  2. Which page users spend more time on.
  3. Which page got more bounce rate.
  4. Which page users stopped pogo-sticking.
  5. Which page is performing well in user experience.

Ultimately Google wants to show the most highly relevant and correct answer for users.

If users are sticking on a website for a long time after clicking on search results then,

It sends a positive signal for Google that this page is good for users so the rank brain will rank it up to be easily found irrespective of how many backlinks there are to it.

The rank brain will manage and tweak the rules of google factors like,

  1. Content quality.
  2. Backlinks.
  3. Content freshness.

Well what does it has to do with search intent, you might be wondering?

Let’s take an example here,

For example here is a keyword

Bluehost login.

When the searcher is typing this phrase in google, what is it is he looking for in google?

Obviously to logging to Bluehost.

But if you write a blog of 1000 words on this keyword and build a ton of backlinks let’s say 1000 backlinks to your blog.

Your blog will not rank.

Simply because your blog is not matching search intent.

Users who want to sign or login to Bluehost account not read your 1000 words blog on how to login to Bluehost.

When Google takes a chance of ranking your blog in search results if the keyword is the low difficulty.

Your website will suffer from,

  • Less ctr.
  • Less dwell time.
  • More bounce rate.

The rank brain sees this and downranks you because the user experience on your website is not good.

Here are some screenshots of blogs ranking in SERPs with fewer backlinks but better user experience and outranking sites with more links.

Here are keyword SEO, the Best keyword research tools, and google 200 ranking factors its SERP analysis in the Moz keyword tool.

seo only

best keyword research tools

google 200 ranking factors

Here, Rank brain is working.

Read more about the rank brian algorithm here.

Should you build backlinks for your website?

Well to answer the question straight forward,

There are a few factors involved.

If you want to start building backlinks to your website make sure that your website or blog has some content, like a good piece of content to it.

Let’s say at least 15 to 20 good blog posts.

Make sure your blog is at least a couple of months old because it clearly shows that if a brand new site has even 2 or 3 links to it without much age and content on it.

It sends google like something fishy and you might get a penalty so don’t play things risky here.

And the answer to whether you should start building links to your website or not is completely dependent on yourself.

There are people who put more time on building backlinks than on content and are very successful in it and some people who put more time creating content than worrying about links and are equally successful in the field.

Choose which one’s the best for you.

But never forget that backlinks are not everything, rather.

Search intent is everything in GOOGLE.

Is it good to buy backlinks?

It is okay to get backlinks paying but there is a level of risk involved with it.

As I said earlier,

New sites with many links bad idea.

Less content & more links bad idea.

Links must appear natural and trustworthy not like spam.

Many people start building links through PBN.

But you should know what google hates PBN.

If Google finds your blog practicing PBN and which they will, your website will be penalized very badly.

But if you approach paid links strategically considering their quality and relevance to your niche, they work better.

Ending remarks.

There you go, I have answered everything there is to know about the pros and cons of building backlinks to your website or blog in 2020.

Comment down what you think about this blog and backlinks in the comments section below.

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I will catch you next time,

Till then, keep learning and keep growing.