Is your Link Building Strategy Damaging Your Site’s Ranking?

Link building – it may seem like an easy task, but in actual fact it’s a bit of a minefield! Filled with dos and don’ts and ever changing rules to keep on top of un-deserving spammers, it’s without a doubt a particularly tough one when it comes to SEO

The worrying thing about link building is that it’s not just a ‘stick them in there and hope for the best’ sort of system anymore – there are correct and incorrect ways of doing it and getting it wrong won’t only not help boost your website’s SEO, but it could actually damage it. Not such a pleasant thought, after all your hard work!

It’s true, that the glory days of link building did exist. There was a time, not that long ago, where simply submitting your website to a directory could get you an abundance of links in a very short space of time. However, since the introduction of ‘follow’ and ‘no follow’ links, developed to block those SEO black-hats, things aren’t so easy.

It’s not all bad though – no follow links certainly have their plus side. It may make life a little harder when trying to create effective link building, but this does at least limit the amount of spammers, making room for those of us with genuine input and intentions.
It’s a tricky one to get your head around, but very worthwhile when it comes to creating effective SEO that works. To find out whether your link building technique is having a positive or a negative effect on your SERPs ranking, you need to know which bad link building habits to avoid.

Forget PageRank

PageRank is Google’s system of counting links like votes, to determine a website’s importance and reliability as a great source – a source worth boosting up the rankings to offer to their search engine users. This all sounds great for link building and it is, but not unless the site you are exchanging links with is one that is reputable, with great content authors and a positive web presence.
It used to be that many website owners would buy links from high-ranking websites, but this is now seriously frowned upon by Google and they can tell!
Rather than focusing entirely on PageRank and how to get those links, regardless of where they come from, consider the overall quality of the websites that you are hoping to get links from. This takes more time and effort, yes, but it is much more effective in the long-run and will keep you clear of any possible SEO penalties that Google might land you with.

Stop Trying to Build

The very term link building sets you off on the wrong track from the get-go. Pitching to companies for a link swap, spamming blog posts with link containing comments and even guest blogging (with a view to gaining links to your website) are techniques that are now dead in the water.
The truth of the matter is: there is no real way of short-cutting getting the links you want. You should forget about ‘link building’ and instead, start thinking of it as ‘link earning’.
The only way to secure genuine links that will give you the best possible ‘link juice’ is to have fantastic content that people actually want to link to. It takes time, yes, and it is tough, but this is the only way to secure excellent quality links from the right target audience, for the right target audience. When it comes to link building, it should always be quality over quantity.

Keep it Relevant

Any links that you do get coming in to your site must be from a blog or page where the content the link is placed in is relevant to you. Getting yourself links pointing at your site here, there and everywhere just doesn’t work anymore – Google will immediately flag it as suspicious if it’s systems deem the two pages mismatched, meaning points knocked off your SEO.
This also applies to comments in blogs, so be careful with those too. Chatting on forums and blogs is a great way to make contact and form genuine links, but don’t just throw them in for the sake of it.

Having quality backlinks to your website continues to be an important, if not the most important, ranking signal and if you want more information I created the Ultimate Guide to Backlinks and How to Get Them published over on the Huffington Post, which goes into much more detail on the link building basics as well as giving you 24 insanely actionable ways to attract high quality backlinks to your website.

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