Link building is essential to achieving true, sustainable success in the SERPs. But building the wrong types of backlinks — or with the wrong strategy — can do you more harm than good.
Here are 6 major link-building mistakes that you must avoid if you want sustainable online success.
1. Creative backlinks from shady sources
Low-quality websites seem like the best target. They are by far the easiest to generate backlinks from. However, “easy” isn’t always a good option.
If that website is involved in shady, black-hat SEO practices, links from that source will also damage your SEO reputation. You don’t want that.
It can take months to recover from a backlink penalty. The best way is to avoid those shady resources altogether.
2. Generating backlinks from irrelevant websites
What if you generate lots of backlinks from high-quality and well-established websites that are not related to your niche in any way or form?
That’d be suspicious.
Backlinks coming from unrelated websites do not send a very positive signal. In fact, Google Penguin specifically targets websites that generate a lot of backlinks from websites from drastically different niches.
Take a look at the following chart and see the correlation between the two factors.
As you can notice, websites with 100% relevant links (coming from the same niche) weren’t penalised at all by Google Penguin.
3. Building too many backlinks too quickly
Having too many backlinks seems like a good problem to have, right?
The rate by which you earn links matters. It is something that Google keeps an eye on. As you know that your link profile must be natural, you should take it a bit slowly — especially in the beginning.
Logically speaking, a fresh website should not have thousands of links pouring in. It takes time to build a natural backlink profile. Therefore, to avoid any possibility of a backlink penalty, you should take it even and slow.
As guidance and a point of reference, it’s fine if you generate 5-10 backlinks to a web page per day. On the other hand, 100+ backlinks are not a good idea.
4. Spamming the anchor text
SEOs tend to spam anchor text when they are creating backlinks and trying to rank a web page for a certain keyword phrase. While this may help you optimise for that specific keyword phrase, it is unlikely to help you in the long run.
Spamming anchor text — just like generating irrelevant links — sends the wrong signal to Google.
Look at it from Google’s perspective. If all the backlinks were 100% natural, those anchor texts would be significantly different than each other. And that’s how it should be. Your backlink profile should have a variety of anchor texts.
Use a mix of your brand name, main keyword, LSI keywords, related keywords, and different phrasing to diversify the anchor text and make it look more organic.
5. Treating guest posts as a cheap, quick fix
Guest posting, while a viable technique to build powerful and relevant backlinks, should not be treated as a cheap, quick fix.
Writing poor quality blogs for guest publishing isn’t a sustainable method. You will not get a lot of good, warm traffic from that post, and your credibility will also take a hit.
Remember that a lot of content marketers treat guest publishing as a spammy practice. If you follow that route, you will end up with some really bad company.
6. Not diversifying your backlink profile
Maintain a good link diversity, and you would do just fine in the short- and long-term. However, unfortunately, not many SEO professionals care about this important factor.
Again, the idea is to build and maintain a natural-looking backlink profile. It means having a variety of backlinks that would be of varying quality, come from different sources, and be of different types, e.g., article backlinks, blog comments, Quora backlinks, profile backlinks, etc.
If you just have a single type of backlink, your profile would look shady.
According to Market Position:
“As with monetary investments, putting all of your eggs in one basket is not usually the best idea. But diversifying your link portfolio can help protect your site against search algorithm updates, the closing of sites that have linked to yours and other changes that can derail your link building efforts.”
Generating backlinks can be tough — especially in today’s competitive digital marketing landscape. But that does not mean that you should completely avoid the best practices and take whatever links that come your way.
You need a solid strategy to help you avoid possible penalties and a bad reputation. The above-mentioned 6 tips will help you with that.
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