I've always been a proponent of discussing the bad way to do things because by avoiding the bad ways we are inherently focused on doing good things.

I applied this methodology to link building in order to compile this list of the 5 worst ways to link build, along with some actionable techniques to focus on instead.

Here it goes:

cancelBad Link Building Idea 1... Posting Worthless Comments For Backlinks

Every blog owner is familiar with the barrage of spam comments that seem to come after putting a new post live. You know, the ones that look something like this:

Example Of A Bad Comment

Not only is this annoying for webmasters but it has to be the WORST way to build links. You aren't adding value anywhere and you certainly wont survive Google's algorithm updates in the long term.

okBetter Alternative... Post Thought Out and Meaningful Comments That Add Value To A Conversation

Yes, blog commenting can actually be a great strategy for growing your blog when it's done the right way.

Here is an example of a thought out and meaningful blog comment:

Good Blog Comment

Nate has the right idea (Cheers Nate!) in posting a thoughtful comment that will advance the conversation.

For more information on best practices with blog comments, check out a recent Search Engine People post on the subject.

cancelBad Link Building Idea 2... Spinning Articles And Submitting Them To Article Directories

If anyone is doing this still... stop! I am not going to go into a whole lot of detail on the negative aspects of this because Claire already wrote a great post here about it.

Instead, lets look into a better idea.

okBetter Alternative... Write unique articles and submit them to legitimate article directories

Although still a bit borderline, you would have much greater success by writing quality content and submitting it to a place like Ezine. However, in the scheme of things, you wouldn't be too far off if you avoided article submission altogether.

cancelBad Link Building Idea 3... Using Private Blog Networks To Submit Guest Posts

Another technique that really lost all of its effectiveness with recent Google updates. If you are using a network that is still working, chances are that it wont for long! Combine article spinning with this and you are really wasting your time.

okBetter Alternative... Contact Real People That Own Real Blogs

Yes, I said it. Contact real people at real blogs with real communities that accept guest posts. Do a search on Google for things like:

guest post + your niche

guest post guidelines + your niche

guest author + your niche

This Google search will yield a ton of great places to guest post at.

There are many benefits to guest posting, including:

  • Meeting a new audience.
  • Getting a link to your site.
  • Meeting other bloggers and building REAL relationships.

Guest posting remains my favourite form of link building (in case you didn't notice by this post.)

cancelBad Link Building Idea 4... Using Directory Submission Software

Another technique that took a big hit with Google updates. Although the ability to get tons of links in a few minutes may SEEM appealing, you need to understand that these links are of VERY low quality.

As you may know, as a pages value goes up, it receives exponentially more value in Google's eyes. For example, a PR 3 link is more than a hundred times better than a PR 0 link.

Thus, even though directory submission software might get you 1000s of links, are they really worth the chance of getting penalized by an algorithm update? NO!

okBetter Alternative... Submit your website to legitimate directories.

If there are legitimate high quality directories in your niche, by all means, submit! However, stay away from any directories that mention link swaps or paid links. These are targets for Google's spam protection team.

cancelBad Link Building Idea 5... Rely Solely On Systematic Approaches For Linkbuilding

You shouldnt only rely on processes like I have explained above. While they can be very effective, they shouldn't be your only link building methods.

okBetter Alternative... Create Content That DESERVES Links

Yes, eventually you are going to have to sit down and create content so great it just beckons for someone to link to it. It isn't as hard as you would think!

Look at other pieces of content online that have received large amounts of links and mimic what they have done


Yes, that wraps up the list. Now go out there and link build!

I look forward to connecting with everyone in the comments section below

If you like this post you might also enjoy 4 Ways to Link Build Without Asking for a Link 

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8 Responses to “The 5 Worst Ways You Can Link Build (And Some Better Alternatives)”

  1. Ross says:

    I would say anything that can be automated or is know to be a spammy way of buildings links will soon die out if it has not already. The world of links has been turned upside down. Besides guest posting look at web 2.0 stuff as a means to get traffic and links.

    • Jason says:

      Absolutely Ross,

      If a link building method seems like it is too easy or too good to be true, there is a good chance that it is.

      Google is only going to get better at detecting and penalizing spammy link building.

      Thanks for the comment Ross, and I look forward to connecting in the future.


  2. Magnus says:

    I might have to disagree with the directory submission part, ok, submit to dmoz but I wouldn't bother with anything else.

    • Jason says:


      Thanks for the comment. In general, I agree that directories are not the greatest way to build links.

      However, there certainly are legitimate directories that are still available, and I wouldn't say that DMOZ is the only good directory to submit to.

      I get your point though… There are much better ways to spend your time when it comes to link building.


  3. Marlon says:

    I might be doing exactly what you've mentioned in point no.1, but this is a great post! I really don't have a lot to add to this, apart from the fact that it is always a bad idea to post spun content on thousands of sources, or use directory submission software. Google's algorithms are getting more smarter with the passage of each day, and while it may have been easier to fool Google before, you will almost certainly be penalized for blackhat practices. Besides, why use such methods when you have many perfectly-safe, Google-friendly methods of building links available at your disposal, right?

    • Jason says:

      Great thinking Marlon,

      I especially like this point:

      "why use such methods when you have many perfectly-safe, Google-friendly methods of building links available at your disposal, right?"

      The fact is that many people are looking for shortcuts that are only going to harm them in the long term.

      If everyone stuck to the mindset that you lay out here, we would have many more successful and valuable bloggers!

      Thanks for the comment and I hope to stay in touch in the future.



  4. I guess after all this time content is still king. No matter how many people tried to find a work around it(getting spuned articles, or by creating their own blog network with lousy content etc), it turns out that if you don't take care of your blog, there is no way you can rank good.

    Especially after Google's Updates, mainly Penguin. For me it's difficult to make something out of it. I have seen sites that even if they did provide quality, they really dropped. What is your input on this topic?

    • Jason says:


      This is a really tough dilemma for Google. They have to balance both the quality of the on page factors (content, media, keywords, etc) with the quality of the off page factors (social media mentions, links, anchor text, etc).

      Penguin took a strike at manipulative off-page factors. Many of the penalized sites were using manipulative anchor text and linking techniques. (ie – using too much exact matching anchor text)

      I think it is still tough to determine whether this update was beneficial or not on a large scale…