Lets face it, SEO is not what it used to be. The process of “search engine optimization” used to revolve around creating optimal code, structures, keywords, links and descriptions, as well as analyzing code for errors. The majority of SEO work once the site itself was cleaned up involved building links to the site, due to the fact that Google considered that if someone else was willing to link to information on your site, then that information must be good. Basically, because Google could not understand what the information was about and therefor could not understand if the information was good or not, it relied upon a crowd sourcing of verification of quality. The best method to crowd source votes of confidence was by counting the amount of links that went to a site from other sites. Naturally, as soon as this was discovered SEO companies completely abused the process by creating automated methods of gaining links.
The evolution of link building came as a result of Google figuring out how to determine if a site that links to you is only created in order to provide links, or if they are real websites with legitimate interests in providing information. Even more than that, Google realized that certain websites will provide information on certain subjects, and a link from them if your website is providing information on the same topic is worth far more than a link from a site that only provides generalized information. Google began giving more weight to links from specific sources that are within the same rhelm as your website, and discounting those links that came from sources that appeared as though they were trying to manipulate rankings. One of the main things that changed was the need for actual content.
A link from a website to yours is a good thing as long as it is not coming from a source that Google considers bad. That link has value and will ultimately help you go up in rankings to a certain degree. The art of SEO has become producing links that provide the maximum amount of this value, as all links are not valued the same. For example, if you get a link from a website that is in the same business as yours, it is going to provide you with X amount of value towards ranking higher for that topic. If that link has keywords in it that do not appear spammy or stuffed in for ranking purposes, the way that Wikipedia does it, then that link is going to have even more value. The best type of link that you can get on that same website is one that has the text phrase or a variation of it and also is wrapped by a lot of content on the topic. What this means is that SEO is now the process of writing articles on topics that you want to rank higher for. The process will involve writing articles on topics that are on your website, and doing the same thing on other websites that provide links back to you as the authority. This content must be well developed and provide quality information on the topic, as well as being engaging and useful to people who would be reading it. The purpose of the link to to send them to a place where they can find even more information on that topic, exactly the way Wikipedia does. The longer and more involved the article is, the better it’s value in the form of a link. Simply dumping links into websites that are designed to do nothing but present links literally does nothing for rankings. SEO is the process of sourcing areas where you can provide valuable information and providing it to people, then also providing them with a link back to your site where they can learn even more.
Naturally, it is going to be nearly impossible to find sources for excellent links continually, so SEO companies like ours will typically target sources of different values, then use the same process on all of them. There is a continually growing link base happening at all times, some are good and some are less good, but it is always moving and growing. That is the SEO process that works in 2017, and everything else is just wasting your time and money.