Link building certainly isn't a new process; in fact, it's been around for a couple of decades now and still remains an important factor in the Google (and other search engines) algorithm. If you can attract the right links for your website, chances are that you'll rank highly for related keyword terms and obtain targeted traffic for your website. The thing is, link building is a complex process and to anyone who isn't a ranking-obsessed SEO, it can all seem like a bit of mystery. What's more, it's a process that constantly changes. Link building tactics seem to come in and out of fashion and tactics that once worked perfectly well will lead to a penalty a few months down the line. So, what does link building hold for 2014 and what tactics should you be making use of when actively building links to your website. A Brief Overview In the past, link building has been quite a 'spammy' process. For years, it was possible to rank for competitive search terms by using tactics that were a little manipulative. Luckily though, link building has grown up a lot over the years and now, search engines favour websites that put time, effort and money into legitimate value-creation tactics that lead to a better visitor experience. Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing, over-optimised anchored links (although anchor text is still an important factor) and $20-a-month link building packages. This is generally good news as it means that high quality websites will typically be favoured by Google. On the other hand though, it also means that typically, link building is much harder and more expensive in 2014 than it has ever been. Creating something of genuine value (whether it be written content, infographics etc) will require monetary investment that not everyone has access to. But what types of links should you be building nowadays anyway? What You Should Be Focussing On As discussed briefly above, link building is all about creating something of value these days. If you can create something that people find genuinely intriguing, useful, funny etc, you'll stand a good chance at naturally attracting links to your website. For example, if you were to create a useful tool or infographic that appealed to your target audience and offered genuine value to visitors, you'll probably be able to attract some high quality links. However, just creating an infographic for the sake of link building probably isn't going to be enough these days. Thousands of infographics get created every single day and truthfully, the majority of them offer nothing more than regurgitated information presented in a rather unappealing format. In 2014, it's all about quality. One high quality link from a highly authoritative website in your industry/niche will be a lot more beneficial than thousands of low-quality directory submissions. Link building can be likened to PR in the real world. Getting a link from a highly-authoritative news website is the online equivalent of getting featured in a well-known magazine or newspaper. The golden rule is quality over quantity. What You Shouldn't Be Focussing On So, we've talked a little about what you should be focussing on in 2014 onwards, but what about the stuff that you should avoid at all costs? Strangely, there are still a lot of mixed messages in the world of SEO. People are still offering link building packages consisting of directory submissions and other low-quality kinds of links but even though these are on offer, you should stay clear. Quality link building is costly, so anyone offering $20- a-month services probably won't be doing much for your website. If you see anything along the lines of directory submissions, submissions to article directories or even excessive guest posting packages, you should be aware that they'll probably do more harm than good. Yes, guest posting is still a legitimate link building tactic and when done well, it can lead to some pretty good results, but it shouldn't be used as a primarily tactic. It might be beneficial to do two or three high quality guest posts every month (even just for the referral traffic alone) but anything excessive will likely have a negative effect in the long term. Conclusion If we were going to sum link building in 2014 up into just one sentence, it would be: focus on quality rather than quantity. Don't try and take the easy way out and build links through and automation process or a low-quality package. You need to focus on creating something that people will actually care about and that actually provides some benefit to visitors. Yes, you still need to do outreach for any linkbait (or linkable assets) as the whole "build it and they will come" mentality likely won't work on the modern web, but you need to be creating something great in the first place.