In recent years, there has been a shift in the nature of link building on the web that has ended the "meritocratic" system that rewarded high quality content with high quality links, according to one expert.

Writing on Search Engine Land, Adam Audette said that the increase of "noise" on the web through blogging and social media means that content publishers looking to use link building as part of their search engine optimisation strategy have to work harder than ever before to rise above the competition.

Mr Audette said that natural link building can still work if marketers are prepared to invest the necessary time and effort in it and think long term.

"In 2001, it was about building great resources. In 2007, it was about creating influence. In 2010, it’s about creating great resources, creating influence and intelligently promoting the hell out of your great content," he commented.

Justilien Gaspard of Search Engine Watch recently said that writing blogs for other sites is one of the best ways of attracting inbound links that can boost site traffic.

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