Link building is one of the most important aspects of any SEO strategy. But this doesn’t mean that you should have inbound links at any cost. Google hates any form of manipulation and trying to cheat Google can land you in big trouble. Many people continue to make costly link building mistakes that can cost them their sites.
Link building is a critical part of off-page SEO. When Backlinko analysed over 1 million Google search results, it found out that backlinks affected search engines more than any other SEO ranking factor.
As you know, the number of backlinks a website has determined, to a large extent, its popularity in search engines. In effect, Google will consider sites with more quality backlinks to be more relevant than those with fewer backlinks when it comes to a search query.
Having a high number of quality backlinks will:
- Increase your search engine rankings
- Improve your website search traffic
- Increase your conversions
It is not sufficient to only concentrate on having many backlinks to your website; they have to be quality links. As a matter of fact, having many low quality links linking back to your website will have a negative impact on your SEO efforts. Focus on quality over quantity.
How does Google determine the backlink’s quality?
Every incoming link has an individual quality score known as PageRank. So, links from credible sites such as government sites, popular websites, educational sites etc., carry more weight compared to little-known websites. By having many links from different quality websites, your link score increases. Remember that you cannot afford to have spammy links. It is also important to note that having many links from the same domain carries little weight because Google will probably count only one link from each domain.
Crucial Link-building Factors You Need To Know
Apart from the number of backlinks pointing to your website, other factors determine your backlink’s success story. They include the following:
1. Relevance: Your backlinks need to be relevant to your website. For example, if your website is about losing weight and you get backlinks from websites that are not related to weight loss or health, Google may suspect that you did not earn your backlinks the proper way.
2. Anchor text matters: An anchor text is a specific text used in the link pointing to your site. The anchor text should ideally be based on relevant keywords. It is advisable to mix your anchor texts throughout the pages of your website.
3. Have good content: Content is king. If you do not have good content, then it will be difficult to attract quality links from authority sites. Moreover, publishing quality content will increase your trust factor in search engines.
Having said that, links aren’t going away any time soon and will continue to be the litmus test for future Google ranking signals. Even though that Google continuously updates its algorithms, around 600 times a year, link building has remained unchanged.
8 Mistakes To Avoid When Building Links
Although links are playing a critical role when it comes to search engine rankings, many people are still making serious mistakes unknowingly. Below we are going to discuss some of the mistakes you could be making when building links which can negatively affect your rankings.
Mistake #1: Linking Out To Low-quality Sites
If you link out to low-quality sites, the chances are that you will get reciprocal links from those low-quality sites. Show me who your friends are, and I will show you who you are. Including outbound links to low-quality sites is a signal to Google that your content is not quality either, hence, will not treat your site favourably either. Therefore, avoid linking to low-quality content, including pages with low word-count.
Mistake #2: Buying Unnatural Links
Google prohibits both selling and buying links such as those being done on link farms. Google’s search engine algorithms are getting smarter by the day, and they can detect purchased (unnatural) links. Google also employs insider systems to report suspicious links, so ensure that you do not make the mistake of buying paid unnatural links.
If, by any chance, you have paid links pointing to your site or you have sold links, please make sure to remove all of them before Google catches up with you, if it hasn’t already. However, this does not mean that people are not buying links and getting away with it. There is every chance that you can successfully purchase quality links from quality, high-authority websites without Google every noticing.
Mistake #3: Getting Only Do Follow Links
A no follow link will not count towards your search engine rank. It will not boost your PageRank either. In other words, a no follow link doesn’t help a site in terms of search engine ranking. A no follow link sends a signal to search engines not to count it when ranking websites. For this reason, many bloggers and site owners avoid no follow links like a plague.
However, it is not all gloom and doom for no follow links. These links play a critical role in ensuring the online world is bereft of spam. No follow links will provide valuable referral traffic as in case of comments and forums.
It is worth noting that getting only do follow links is also bad. Building only one kind of backlinks will get you into trouble with Google. To stay safe and ahead, try to give equal importance to both do follow and no follow links. For instance, if you are using guest blogging to acquire do follow links, use blog comments and forums to build no follow links as well.
Mistake #4: Optimising Your Anchor Text
Yes, your anchor text is important when it comes to link building, but optimising your anchor text and stuff it with keywords will pay against you. Google treats optimised anchor text as black hat SEO technique.
Avoid using the same anchor text or the same keywords while building links on different blogs. In other words, the inbound links pointing to your website should have different varied anchor texts that appear natural to the content. Try not to pay too much attention to the keywords of your anchor text.
Mistake #5: Building Links Too Quickly
Of course, Google hasn’t expressly defined how long one should build links, but if you are building links so fast, then it is an indicator to Google that you are trying to get unnatural links. It could mean that you are buying links. For instance, if you get thousands of links within the first week of building your site, you are in real danger of being penalised by Google.
As we have already said, pay attention to quality as opposed to quantity. Getting one link from a Domain Authority of 80 is better than getting hundreds of links from links with low DA. As a rule of thumb, build few links from high DA sites on a regular basis.
Mistake #6: Linking Only To The Homepage
Many bloggers make the mistake of generating links only to their blog’s homepage and pay no attention to the rest of the site. Google may penalise you if you have many backlinks to your homepage and ignore the rest of the pages. Ensure to balance your backlinks throughout the pages.
Mistake #7: Not Monitoring Your Backlinks
You might have built links from quality, relevant sites. However, you must always remember to check on those sites regularly. Some websites might end up being taken offline. There are also chances that those sites end up becoming less reputed. Doing a regular check on those sites will help you to identify links that have been removed or broken.
So how do you find these harmful backlinks?
You might be thinking that it is impossible to find these harmful backlinks especially if you are having hundreds or thousands of backlinks. Luckily, there are multiple online tools you can use such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs and Majestic. Once you identify bad links, contact the site owners and request them to remove the links.
Mistake #8: Assuming Links Will Come Automatically
There Is A Common Saying That Says “If You Build It, They Will come.” Well, not so with SEO. Even if you build great content, links will not come automatically. You have to go out there and establish relationships with other site owners to build the right links. Don’t simply sit there and assume links will automatically come.
Link building has evolved from what it was in 2010. Google continues to update its algorithm on an hourly basis, and it’s getting better at catching unnatural link building strategies. Concentrating on getting quality and relevant links and ensuring that you remove harmful links from your site will go a long way in ensuring you succeed online.