Link Building Mistakes to Avoid

29 July 2016

Link Building Mistakes to Avoid

A recent study by Stone Temple Consulting has reinforced what has been understood for some time: that backlinks still play a significant role in search engine ranking factors. But actually gaining more backlinks to a website has become a little more complicated in recent years, as Google has clamped down on some of the more spammy ways of building links.

This is, of course, a good thing. When backlinks are earned rather than automatically generated, they carry more weight and are more likely to indicate a high-quality website that is worth visiting and provides value.

But there are mistakes that link builders are still making, so follow our advice on what to avoid if you want to help your website to rank in the search engines without annoying the search engine powers that be.

Don’t over-optimise your anchor text

In the past, the anchor text of any given link (the words that are clickable) played a very important role in helping websites to rank for certain words and phrases. Website owners would seek many links to their site with identical anchor text so that Google really understood what the referral was about.

That became such an over-used tactic by spammy SEOs that Google ruled that anchor text should be varied if it was to look natural. So, if you have a choice in what anchor text a referring website will use, make sure it’s not the same thing every time. Sometimes, a simple ‘click here’ is appropriate.

Don’t just think in terms of numbers

A higher number of backlinks is not necessarily preferable; the quality of the backlinks plays a much more important role nowadays. A single backlink from a relevant, high-quality website can do you much more good than numerous links from questionable forum profiles and blog comment spam.

Don’t ignore relevance

A backlink from a relevant website is worth a lot in SEO terms. If you’re running a restaurant, for instance, backlinks from local city bloggers or recipe websites will count for more and look more legitimate than links from a beauty blogger on the other side of the world.

Failing to link to a range of internal webpages

If all of the backlinks to your site point to your homepage, this doesn’t look like a natural backlink profile. Aim to procure links that point to different category pages and individual blog posts, too.

Don’t obsess over do-follow and no-follow

While do-follow backlinks pass on ‘link juice’ to your website, in a natural spread of backlinks, some are bound to be classified as no-follow by the website owner. Remember, too, that paid backlinks must be no-follow, according to Google standards.

Don’t prioritise links over relationships

Building great relationships with bloggers, social media influencers and colleagues in similar industries is vital in modern-day link building. Don’t forget, when approaching somebody who may be able to link to your site, that your overall relationship with them is more important than a single backlink. Be respectful of their website properties and the work they do and backlinks will be earned.