Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, what next for 2014? Well, many commentators have been suggesting the end for link building and that 2014 will be the year in which link building will end, but we wish to warn marketers that it will not.

We believe that a number of agencies will be changing their tune, using scary news of algorithm updates as an excuse to avoid link building practices, and therefore trying to devalue the practice.

However, Google’s algorithm is built in citation, and links is one fundamental way of validating quality content. Therefore how can link building cease to exist? How can a car exist without an engine? These are the “votes” that Google use to verify content.

The thing that has changed is the quality of the links. I am surprised today looking back at 2008 how easy it was to spam the Google system just based on high volume of low quality links. Today it is about quality of links, which is why metrics such as page authority, domain authority (both from Moz), citation flow and trust flow (both from MajesticSEO) are hugely beneficial statistics in link building metrics.

We say, let’s get back to basics. You need good quality content and good quality communications to generate links.

Don’t buy links, as these are invariably poor quality, or run the risk of being over monetised that they eventually get picked up in Google’s system as spam.

Rented links, where you pay a monthly fee for the placement of the link to your website, should be avoided also. It’s also very unprofitable to do this. Say for example that you a renting three links all costing $40 per month. That $120 per month could easily be used for a high quality press release submission through one of the better PR networks online, in turn generating much greater exposure and opportunity for you to build more natural links. Also, more important, this creates much more brand exposure than any rented link is likely to create.

Your link building strategy should not be about channelling PR authority from one website to yours, think about your communications, your exposure and your network. Link from websites that have visitors that would also be interested to read your content.

My top tip however, increase your exposure and linking through multiple techniques: over the 8 years of managing SEO campaigns the best rankings we have achieved for clients are from highly varied strategies with multiple linking techniques. Over optimising using one or two linking techniques can be unnatural and minimise your ranking performance.

Best of luck for 2014!