Link building is certainly changing – as is who the link builders are.
Back in the 90′s and even up until a few years ago, I used to spend a lot of time in building links; whether it be through directory submissions, article distribution and such – but steering clear of link spamming.
However, even the way I pursue the “legit” link building has changed and I spend little time on that now; preferring to dedicate it to building decent content so others can do it for me.
Who are these others? People like you, your neighbour or anyone else who knows how to click a ‘like’ button.
While Taming The Beast isn’t a good example of this (poor, neglected site that it is these days), one of my other sites is about to hit 10,000 likes. All of these are very legitimate “likes”; all I do is provide the buttons.
It’s entirely up to the reader as to whether he or she feels whatever they are reading is worthwhile enough to merit that finger movement on the mouse button that will up the count and expose people they are associated with via social networks of that particular piece.
A really good article on the topic of the changing face of link building and link builders is by Eric Ward; it’s well worth reading.
Eric points out that in the noise that are like “likes”, +1′s and such; search engines such as Google have to try and make some sense of it all; and part of how they may do that is based on the profile and activity of the person doing the liking. Makes sense to me.
Eric also provides a timely reminder about the importance of authorship in terms of Google (which Google itself is pushing), something on my “todo” list that has now climbed up in terms of priority a little more.