Every webmaster now knows that link building is vital for making a website findable. Once, around the turn of the century, that importance was much smaller. It was the pre-google age and the search for online content was drastically different than today. Over the years, link building has become a profession in its own right. The rules of that course are written by Google and implemented during major Google updates, formerly called Google Dances.
From Google Dance to Core Update
A gigantic platform such as Google distinguishes itself from normal systems and programs in countless ways. One of the most important differences with other systems is that downtime cannot be accepted, not even one minute. Where many computer systems can be taken offline for major maintenance, a search engine like Google must always remain online. Updates are therefore rolled out while the service is simply available.
Until 2004, these moments of updates were known as the Google Dance. During such a Dance, Google's algorithms were rewritten, while people could simply use the search engine. For example, it could happen that search results changed drastically if you repeated a certain search term a few minutes later.
Since January 2004 there is no dancing anymore, but the updates from Google are smaller and more frequent. Almost daily changes are made to the search engine algorithms. From time to time, however, relatively large updates are still being made. The Panda update became known because about six to nine percent of all websites lost their place in the ranking during that update. In March 2019 there was one of the biggest updates in years, afterwards by Google itself March Core Update called.
In fact, the Google Updates - and subsequently the way in which webmasters respond - can be seen as an eternal battle. People try to understand how Google works and try to make clever use - or in some cases abuse - of that operation. Because Google mainly looks at the coherence between your website and other websites, link building has become a true sport in recent years.
By having a website frequently linked to other websites that Google finds valuable, Google will also rate your website as valuable. Google itself recommends that frequent linking - link building - is done in a completely legitimate way. Google's only advice if, after an update, it appears that your website has fallen in the rankings, it is: ensure better content. See this explanation of Google's Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts:
On the other side of the coin we find websites that are full of hidden links - invisible to visitors but effective for Google - or even spam links. With subsequent updates, Google will again try to build in intelligence that recognizes and eliminates shortcuts, so that search results remain 'clean'.
Effective link building do you do with content
If the past few years of Google updates have taught us something, then it is that as a webmaster you can invest your time and energy in actually providing a website full of good content. Shortcuts, hidden links, spam links, it's all nice and nice, but eventually Google finds an antidote for it during a major update. And once your Google ranking has plummeted, it is difficult to recapture it.
You can do effective link building by asking your customers for reviews, by collaborating with colleagues from the professional field through guest blogging, by blogging actively and interestingly and by being visible online. That may cost you the necessary time and effort, but Google will appreciate it much better. Now and in the future.