A lot of strategies for building links can backfire, causing more harm than good doing. Use a holistic SEO strategy and avoid certain link building tactics if you want to improve your ranking in the long term. I’m going to talk about some link building DON’Ts in this post: tactics you definitely should NOT use. You probably already know about some of these; I’m going to cover those first. Then, let’s move to 5 DON’Ts, less known–but equally important.
You should check out our all-around SEO training before we dive in if you want to learn more about link building strategies and other essential SEO skills! Not only does it tell you about SEO: it ensures that you know how to put these skills into practice!!
Link building in the old days meant putting links on as many external pages as possible, often through purchasing or trading links. Those tactics have become a risky SEO strategy since Google Penguin. If spamming is included in your link building tactics, your site risks a Google Penalty and could be completely banned from the results of Google. Placing a lot of links can help your site’s ranking for a short time, but not in the long run.
I suspect most of you will already know some of the obvious link – building tactics you definitely don’t have to apply:
- You are not supposed to buy links.
- Do not exchange links.
- For links, avoid automated programs.
- Don’t do guest blogging very thin and off-topic content.
- If your only purpose is to leave a link in the comment, don’t comment on blogs or forums.
- It’s not a good idea to over-optimize your anchor text.
- You should not have links unrelated to your website’s topic.
- Do not have links from sites that do not contain any real content. You should not have links from spammy sites to advertise for gambling, viagra, or porn (unless your site is about gambling, viagra, or porn).
So, let’s move on to some lesser known link building DON’Ts since we’ve covered these.
1. Linking only to the homepage? Don’t!
You should make sure that you have links on your website to different pages and not just to your homepage. If you receive links to your homepage only–or mainly–your link building will look spammy. Of course, a link to your homepage is appropriate if someone writes about your brand. But when a website writes about your company’s products or news, they usually link to your product, news or blog pages. That’s just the way people connect to other pages naturally.
You should ensure that your strategy for building links resembles the natural way people connect to websites. Extra benefit: linking to a specific page on your website will probably lead to a better conversion! For important product pages, or for your cornerstone content pages, you should work on obtaining links. Get links to the pages that close the deal! It will create a trustworthy link profile for your website and at the same time increase the conversion!
Another DON’T for link building is buying links. You probably all know that buying links from companies that claim to get you ranked fast in large bulks is not something that Yoast would recommend. But what about a single company link? From a website of high quality right in your niche? Is it wrong to purchase such a company’s link? How is Google ever going to find out?
Google won’t know about a single company link you’re buying. We would still recommend not to do that. If a link was sold to you by this company, they could sell more links to more people. And while one link won’t alarm Google, as the number of questionable links on a website increases, it also increases the risk of being hit by Penguin or a manual penalty.
3. Recycling your content on different sites? Don’t!
Writing articles about your company or your products and trying to get these articles published on other websites is a way to get links. Beware, however, of not publishing the same content on various sites! An article that switches some sentences and paragraphs and alters a few words still remains duplicate content to the original article. Especially if several times you repeat this trick.
In short: content recycling does not create new content. It’s a trick to build links and it might be backfired. Write the articles to the website audience that you are sending to. Yes, it’s a lot of work. Nobody said the building links was easy …
Do not leave social media outlets out if you’re building links! In your link building strategy, social media should definitely be included, even if it is not entirely clear to what extent social media links actually help in your ranking. If you all of a sudden receive a lot of links from other websites, it would be extremely strange if you didn’t get any links from social media sites. That doesn’t add up and in Google’s eyes might make you look spammy. So, in addition to your attempts to get links from appropriate websites, invest in getting shares, tweets, and also loves on social media platforms.
5. Faking it? Don’t!
It shouldn’t look natural to your link building strategy, it should be natural! Make sure that the building of your link is not fake. Links should be placed because a website user might benefit from the link. They should fit the content of the page to which they have been added. Ideally, your strategy for link building is part of a marketing strategy aimed at telling people about your business, your website, or your products. It should never aim solely to have as many links of quality as possible.
Links should be useful for a website user from a holistic SEO perspective. A link should be there because it means something; because it refers to that specific page in the text in which the link is embedded. If there’s a link for Google alone and there won’t be any clicks, the link might not be there.
Links should be clicked on. Therefore, the creation of links should be about creating links that are useful to a website’s audience, so they click! Keep that in mind, it should be well underway with these DON’Ts and your link building strategy.