Link building can seem like a bit of a jungle when it comes to knowing which approaches to take and which strategies to avoid like the plague, so we decided to clearly lay out the first 5 aspects of link building that today’s SEO gurus need to avoid completely. Some of these tactics can be extremely tempting as they often generate quick positive results, but if you want to rank highly within Google, and more importantly keep those top positions, these outdated methods simply won’t do.
1. Quantity over Quality
Quantity over quality is the first DON’T of link building. When have you ever heard someone say they prefer quantity over quality? It never happens, so why apply this method to your link building? There is no getting away from the fact that generating hundreds of poor quality links may benefit you for a short period of time, but Google is now smart enough to declare war on these underhand methods, and eventually this bad move will result in Google penalising you through one of its many algorithm updates.
Let’s say there are two people going for the same job (let’s call them Candidate A and Candidate B). Both were asked for character references and candidate A strolled in with ten character references from the people down the pub. Then candidate B rolls up with only one reference to present to the interviewer. At first you’d think, pfft, candidate A has this in the bag, but then you soon discover that in fact candidate B’s reference is from the town’s mayor. There is no doubt that candidate B’s one quality reference beats candidate A’s ten rubbish references, hands down. The same applies in link building.
2. Mass Article Submissions
It is far too easy to submit an article many times to various syndication websites and sit back and wait for the results, but as the saying goes, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Google’s clever little updates will crawl right through these links and will quickly identify that all you’re doing is adding masses of duplicate content to the web.
The conclusion from Google’s perspective is that all of this duplicate will be of no use to anyone. Once it’s seen through your naff link building tactics, your website will plummet all the way down to the murky depths of the search engine listings, never to see the light of day again. Well, maybe you won’t be floundering around page 30, but where you end up will be of no use to you and your business as you won’t be getting the traffic you need to make money from your website.
If you do get hit by this kind of penalisation, all is not completely lost – there are always ways to bring your website from out of the shadows by cleaning up your link profile. This can be a very lengthy and time consuming process and there are certainly no guarantees you’ll rank anywhere near as high as previously once all the clear-up work has been carried out. So I guess what I’m getting at is that submitting your article to endless amounts of directories DOESN’T work.
3. Content Spinning
The consequences of spinning content are exactly the same as mass article submissions. Content spinning is simply taking the same post, changing a few words here and there, and submitting it as new content. This is by no means ‘new’ content – this is content that says exactly the same thing with a few synonym switches that often don’t even make sense. Here’s an example:
Google is smart enough to see through content spinning and will penalise you for using this method.
Google is canny enough to see through content spinning and will scold you for consuming this method.
Article two makes no sense, and this is usually the quality of the result of a content spinning software that does it for you, adding a whole new level to lazy link building.
4. Obsessing over Anchor Text
When it comes to the kind of anchor text you use to link back to your website, it is incredibly important to not obsess over using the same targeted keywords over and over again. You may think “hey, this is another easy way to rank for my keywords”. Well I have some surprising news – Google knows when you are trying to manipulate it and again will drive your website into the shadows.
Let’s say you own a company called ‘Debbie’s Discount Jewellery’ and your website domain name is:
Now, when you’re writing content for external websites with a link back to your website, the majority of your anchor text should be over your brand name, or generic phrases, for example:
Debbie’s Discount Jewellery
This is what Google wants to see, nice, natural anchor text links. If you have a main keyword that you desperately want to rank for, in this case perhaps Discount Jewellery in Essex, then you can use this for some of your anchor texts. As a general rule, as long as the total percentage of anchor text links used doesn’t exceed 5%, Google should not penalise you for it.
5. Publishing ‘No News’ Press Releases
Online press releases have become a means of building links, but you can’t commit to a certain amount of press releases a month. Press releases should only be used when a company genuinely has something to announce to the world, and relevant news about a company happens when it happens.
Make sure your press releases are written naturally and full of worthwhile information about the company, not full of drivel. The same applies to your linking – make sure all links are inserted organically into the text and are not there purely for the sake of it.