Link building ain't easy

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What links are good ones is easy for most people to see, but how to get them is harder - especially if you only see black or white.

I thought that this article was pretty interesting - Link Building: No Longer About Manipulation.

Andrew Dennis wrote:
Google is becoming increasingly adept at recognizing links built in an attempt to game search engine rankings, and they are discounting the value of those links (sometimes even penalizing sites with large numbers of these “unnatural links”). There simply is no sustainability in trying to manipulate the algorithm.

It's partly a history and partly an expansion and commentary on Eric Ward's old mantra of "build links for people rather than search engines."

What do you think? It's got commentary on guest posting, resource link building, directories, blog/forum commenting, etc. Whenever I see people saying that directories and blog/forum spam are the be-all-end-all of off-page SEO I have to take a shot of whiskey...but it is true that, when done in the right way they can have advantages. Do you use any of these otherwise crappy techniques in interesting, creative, effective ways?

Ol' Eric Ward dropped by in the comment section to add his thoughts, too.

Eric Ward wrote:
Understanding WHEN a specific tactic has gone from legitimate to manipulative/spammy is the key. This is one of the big challenges causing so much confusion, and ultimately what has driven me to stop writing public columns here and elsewhere. People didn't seem to want want real advice, they wanted the "next trick that Google didn't know about". I got telling of yelling into the wind. When I would show them my process, they'd look at me like I was crazy. Maybe I am, but what I do works because it isn't based on trickery.

Another interesting debate between Samuel Scott and Dennis is in the comments, about how to get links. Scott says that the best links are "by-products" of good marketing, while Dennis says that you're missing out on opportunities if you don't pursue some links.