Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites in your niche to drive traffic and boost the SERP ranking. There are many link building strategies to win Google’s ranking scheme. This article gives you a glimpse of what not to do in link building that would invite the wrath of Google.
In general, there are three types of links: Internal links – hyperlinks that lead from one page to another within your own website; External links – hyperlinks that lead from your website to another resource; Backlinks – hyperlinks that lead from another site to yours. They help the user and the Google search engine navigate from one page to another.
Google’s search engine algorithm – the PageRank algorithm, gives importance to the links on your webpage. These links are the votes that tell the search engine that the webpage is worthy enough to be linked.
A better rank by Google definitely brings your webpage to the top of the Search Engine Results Page, aka SERP. When your business website appears at the top three pages of SERP, it gives you more visibility, and the audience will find you easily. There’s more probability that they will become your customers.
When link building can do so much for your business, some site owners employ black hat techniques to build links so that their website ranks on top of SERP. Some of the strategies followed on the websites to gain backlinks may not be legal, ethical, or follow Google’s guidelines. Websites following such malpractice will be penalized by Google.
In this Article
- Do Not Over-Optimizing the Anchor Text
- What To Do And Not To Do In Link Buying and Selling
- Avoid Link Spamming
- Link Farms and NoFollow Links
- Avoid Low-Quality Blogs and Low-Quality Link Directories
- Avoid Link Exchanges
- No Private Blog Network (PBN) Links
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Closing Thoughts
- Related Reads
Do Not Over-Optimizing the Anchor Text
Anchor text optimization is important to search engines, as it is one factor they use in determining the relevance of a link in relation to search queries people might make for the page to which the link points.
Search engines use anchor text as a factor to determine the relevance of a link with respect to the search queries that your users search. An effective SEO practice is that anchor text links to your page from authoritative websites emphasize the keywords for which you want to rank.
However, anchor texts can be over-optimized to manipulate the search results. Some site owners try to place such links deliberately on other sites, sometimes even by paying the other site owners to create exact-match anchor texts; that is, the anchor text matches exactly a valuable keyword.
What Is Anchor Text, And How Does It Influence the Search Results?
Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a hyperlink. The HTML tag to create an anchor text is <a href = “https:// www.linkdoctor.io> linkbuilders </a>”. Here, the anchor text is link builders, which would appear in a different color when the mouse hovers above it. The anchor text conveys relevant and contextual information about what to expect when the user clicks on the text.
The search engine also learns from the anchor text the content of the linking page. If your web page contains relevant and useful information, many sites will link to you for that keyword you used. For instance, there’s a blog, How to care for your skin during winter? on your website that ranks well. There’s an external blog that links to this page. The anchor text variants that can be used are; winter skin care, skin routine, healthy skin during winter, etc.
You can have internal links to your website with these anchor text variants. Use descriptive anchor text to describe your web page accurately as a good SEO practice. Do not over-optimize by relying on repetitive and keyword-rich phrases.
Why Must Over-Optimizing the Anchor Text be Avoided?
After the Penguin algorithm update, Google started looking more closely at keywords in the anchor text, and if there are many sites that contain the exact same anchor text, Google suspects that the links might not have been acquired naturally.
Instead, strive to get a variety of more natural anchor text, phrases, and variants for better results. Always use keyword and topic-specific anchor text that is SEO friendly, relevant to the page, and has low keyword density.
What To Do And Not To Do In Link Buying and Selling
Having more links on your web page signals that it is a trustworthy and credible source. That’s the reason Google considers links to be a ranking factor. But, this has led to malpractice in gaining links to a website.
However, with the release of the Google Penguin update in 2012, spending money to buy links can penalize you and your website. Buying links to boost ranking can damage a site’s SEO tactics and credentials.
You must ensure you buy links from highly reputable sites that follow Google’s advertising and webmaster guidelines. Be cautious whether these sites use best practices with their paid links; if not, it is better to avoid them.
You can buy links for your niche when you have difficulty ranking organically. Paid links look no different from earned links, and Google won’t penalize you for paid links unless it is seen as obvious as a black hat or gray hat technique.
Selling links is not a good practice, as it is like gambling with your site’s traffic and rankings. There are other ways you can make your business work through affiliate marketing, lead generation, AdSense, and content marketing, the best choice to get targeted traffic.
You can learn how to do this yourself or hire a content writer to create information within your niche. Either way, make stellar content and post it on blogs and social media platforms. Design landing pages, the pages your customers go to when they want to learn more about your product or services, create internal links and external links, research and choose appropriate keywords, and have backlinks within your niche to get a higher ranking in search.
Promote your business by placing the links of your blogs in newsletters, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook posts, and so on. It’s a very effective way to bring visibility to your business. When you have a stellar article with great information, your audience will be likely to share it. This brings organic traffic to your site; your rankings improve on SERP.
Avoid Link Spamming
Link spamming is short, pointless comments on blogs and websites that include a link. Link spamming will not help in rankings because Google picks up footprints left by such actions websites and penalizes them. Link penalties can be overly negative for website rankings and might even remove your website from search indexing resulting in a significant drop in organic traffic.
There are different types of link spamming that you might come across. One is spam posting, a black-hat link-building strategy that posts links in public forums or guest books. These types of web fields are common targets for link spammers as there are hardly any restrictions for them to spam. These spam links are easy to identify; readers easily ignore them and will almost never click them.
Another type of link spamming is hidden links in which a site hides hyperlinks across its posts where the audience cannot easily identify them. Generally, spammers hide hyperlinks by changing their color to match the background. Some might be hidden in images or codes that an algorithm can only find out. Make sure that your website has none of this.
Link Farms and NoFollow Links
Link Farms involve the cooperation of the site owners, and they collaborate with each other to link for the sole purpose of building backlinks and boosting each other’s website ranking. It is an authoritative linking; the link farmer’s backlink profile is not affected by this practice and will not flag the farmer’s entire site as spam.
But some link farms may be automated programs that spew large quantities of nofollow links on a page. These automated link building programs use randomized nofollow links to improve the page’s backlink profile so that Google might see the links coming from an authorized source. Sometimes they go undetected by Google’s spam detectors.
After the Penguin update, it is now difficult for the automated system not to go detected by the algorithm. Now, the links are evaluated in terms of quality and relevance rather than quantity. Therefore, do not invest your time and money in link farms. The nofollow links in the link farm will not add value as they will not pass the link juice to the pages they link.
Avoid Low-Quality Blogs and Low-Quality Link Directories
Link-building works. But, if you stuff your content with links for quantity, it will put you in trouble. While building links, look for quality and relevant links. Low-quality links will not help your sites and will cause penalization because you will lose value in Google’s search rankings.
Create quality content that your audience will want to read. There’s no point in creating a ton of articles that nobody wants. The content must align with your business goals and also add value to your users. Research and find what your user is looking for and do keyword research using SEO tools.
For good quality content, think about how to differentiate it from other articles that cover your niche and the same keyword. Look for facts and data and present them in your blogs that would be useful for your audience.
Low-quality links are from low-quality sites that are irrelevant and not authoritative and will not get you the desired results as these websites do not follow the guidelines set by Google.
Such link directories are reviewed as being low-quality as they are filled with links from spammers. It’s very evident that Google does not favor links from link directories whose link profile is full of spam links from low-quality directories.
Avoid Link Exchanges
A link exchange is an agreement between two sites to share and exchange links with each other for mutual benefit, often known as reciprocal links. When the exchange of links happens naturally without any former agreement, it is known as a natural reciprocal link.
But beware of a variant of link exchange called the three-way link exchange where site A agrees to link to site B with site C on the condition that site B agrees to link to site A in exchange for the link from site C. The purpose of a three-way link exchange is to make Google see these links are one-way links and not as reciprocal links.
These kinds of link exchanges are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and they result in manual penalties from Google. If these links don’t provide direct traffic, Google’s bot ignores them.
How To Choose Sites For Link Exchange
The first thing to consider is reputation and trustworthiness. These can be found by checking on the site and looking at the users’ feedback. The users’ feedback will tell you straight away whether the site is trustworthy or not. Then, you can check on the other SEO metrics, such as
Site rating and traffic are the next to consider. Look for sites with a similar or higher rating and traffic to yours so you can predict how much traffic to expect from the link exchange. If you exchange with a site with a low authority rating, site rank, or poor traffic, it will not benefit your link building strategy.
The next thing to consider is to look at where your links will be placed, how many links will be placed in one blog, and whether the blog is of good quality. You must also consider whether the exchange partner advertised link exchanges. Some sites might and some might not, and you need to be cautious if a site advertises link exchanges too much.
Another factor that you must consider during link exchange is the number of outbound links a site has and whether or not those links are to a reputed and trusted site. If those links connect to sites that are of poor or average quality, it is not a good idea to exchange links with that site.
Your ideal link exchange partner will feature your link in a good spot on a high-quality page that gets traffic so that you gain visibility. The site would also not have too many outbound links, so you will lose importance.
No Private Blog Network (PBN) Links
Search engines like Google ban the use of PBNs for SEO rankings as they increase the likelihood of penalties, spam-related issues, and bad user experience. PBNs are considered black hat SEO techniques to improve rankings quickly, and many people still use them to rank better in search engines as they provide quick-fix solutions.
Private Blog Networks (PBNs) consist of websites and blogs owned and managed by a single person, and the content on such sites is not meant for the public but just for SEO ranking purposes. They post original and quality content on these sites with a backlink to a primary website. Backlinks from such websites with high domain authority help the primary website to get the desired rankings.
If they can improve the rankings, then what’s wrong with using this strategy? It’s because Google’s Link Scheme guidelines say that any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link schema and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. PBN clearly falls in this category.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is link building difficult?
Link building is a manual process because you need to put in the effort to make sure your campaign works. Link building needs the help of content writers and SEO experts. Most businesses outsource this work to link building agencies and invest that time in bringing leads for their business.
2. What is email outreach?
Email outreach is creating and sending emails to individuals to promote a piece of content, request a backlink, or request a partnership with an influencer, build relationships, and generate leads for the business.
3. What are the link building strategies that would work?
A good link building strategy would be to have content that conveys the needed information to the user. In addition, an email outreach campaign and fixing broken links on your web page.
Link building is a daunting task and takes much effort. It might be tempting to use the above-mentioned tactics to win in Google SERP, but in the long run, it would not help you. Google penalizes such websites by reducing their rankings, which might impact your traffic and sales.
Even if it takes a long time to see the fruits of your labor, it’s worth sowing the seeds with tears (white hat SEO tactics) and reaping the rewards with joy. It builds your reputation, trustworthiness, and authority.