Although SEO also consists of content optimisation, meta data manipulation and various other tricks and techniques, link building is arguably the most important aspect of modern-day search engine optimisation.

Link building is of course a benefit from the users’ point of view, as many people spend hours trawling through sites, blogs and forums looking for companies like yours. The internet is, after all, an information highway, and users need to be pointed in the right direction according to their needs. Back-linking is also known to contribute to the authority and reputation of your site, though, which is why companies are willing to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds in order to acquire great quality links that will (hopefully) boost their SERPs.

Many web experts are hoping that the algorithms are revamped in the near future to such an extent that link building won’t be necessary anymore. This is because the process is notoriously time-consuming and frustrating and is built on the flaky foundations of trial and error. Various different theories, ‘breakthroughs’ and authoritative opinions have been thrown around the web for the last decade or so and it has become difficult to know who to trust. It’s only in the past few years or so that SEO consultants have begun to understand the algorithms behind the major search engines in great detail, which is why several myths of the industry have recently been expelled. Add to that the continuous alterations and updates that firms such as Google are making to their search systems and it really can become hard to keep up.

Unfortunately for such optimists, link building is the sole factor that will make or break your SEO campaign, so you need to learn how to backlink effectively and efficiently if you’re to stay ahead of the game.

Thankfully, even if you’re relatively new to SEO, you can teach yourself how to back link, no matter how limited your current experience in the field. You may not achieve stunning results straightaway, but over time you will come to understand which methods work for your site and which black-hat practices to avoid. However, bear in mind that it’s likely to take a good few months of in-depth research if you’re going to get your head around the tricky bits. You may benefit from signing up to platforms that will aid your learning, such as seobook and seomoz, but to use their resources you’ll often have to pay a sign-up fee or on-going subscription charge.

So the question is, why bother? Plenty of businesses outsource their link building work to a specialist SEO company that promises success for just a few hundred pounds per month. A fresh opinion could do wonders for your site. Establishing solid relationships with webmasters and identifying which sites are truly going to influence your campaign draws upon your time and resources. If you employ an SEO consultant, you can concentrate on running your organisation and leave the marketing to the experts. Bear in mind that this can become a costly exercise, especially for smaller businesses, and that there are no guarantees that you’ll reach great SERPs, but you’ll benefit from the specialist knowledge of your chosen service provider and will appreciate regular reports on your site’s progress (as long as your SEO company deals with your campaign honestly, of course).

Aside from the financial arguments for and against back-linking, many people choose to carry out their link building themselves purely to remain in control of their marketing strategy. No-one can understand a business quite like its owner, and if you’re particularly fussy about your company’s online reputation you may prefer to manage each link yourself. You need to ask yourself whether you can throw enough time and energy into your link building campaign and which approach will result in the best outcome for your website.