Some people would say Google Panda and Google Penguin effectively killed link building. But did they? Or is it that they simply killed an inefficient and spammy type of link building?
You can’t really exist on the Web without inbound links. How will the search engines ever find your website? How will you get indexed if you don’t have at least one inbound link? Furthermore, where are you going to get your traffic from?
Inbound links are far more valuable for traffic than they are for SEO benefits. Even if you were to build a solid link portfolio that pushed your website to No. 1 status for a few of your keywords, could you be sure you’d get traffic from that status? There’s no guarantee that a No. 1 ranking is going to deliver traffic. You can’t force people to click on your link.
Link building is an activity that is necessary and is effective if done properly. At best, if done improperly it’s ineffective and very inefficient. At worst, you could get penalized.
True link building is any activity you undergo for the purpose of promoting your best content by legitimate non-spammy means. That could include press releases, social media, some types of guest blogging, certain link requests, and even some traditional types of link building exercises. It’s hard to identify any particular link building tactic as good because the search engines are in the business of judging intentions and effects. No one else is in a position to make those judgments. Not even you or me.