For marketers who think link building is an old practice for marketing strategies, Google recently revealed how links are one of the top three ranking signals it still uses in the search algorithm.
Most SEO professionals and marketers debate over link building strategies and their potency in today’s online marketing tactics. Some claim that link building is still one of the most effective ways of improving your search rankings while others consider this practice obsolete.
The internet is changing at a fast pace. A strategy that seems to be effective right now may have no effect at all after a few months. The same applies to SEO and online marketing. It is important for SEO professionals to modify and evolve learning different strategies that help them develop a successful SEO campaign.
One thing is clear: the practice of link building is still very much alive. What changed dramatically is the strategy and approach used for link building. With search engines becoming smarter, you cannot earn the same benefits of using old, outdated and bad links anymore.
For instance, it was claimed by an SEO guru a few years back that guest blogging will lose its charm for Google, while businesses using this tactic would be a loss. However, there are still many SEO agencies out there using guest blogging as their foundational tactic for boosting search engine ranking.
So how would you decide if a certain strategy is outdated and shouldn’t be used any longer?
To avoid all that confusion around the subject, we have compiled the most ineffective and outdated link building strategies to help businesses steer clear of them while planning their marketing tactics this year. The information below will help you make some sense out of this dilemma.
- Purchasing links
To make money, you must invest money. However, this is one fact that does not apply to link building strategies anymore.
There are still many SEO professionals supporting the idea of buying links. But it is just another way to keep the ball rolling with fake results. Buying a link has never been effective. Not only it is an unethical practice, but the tactics can also put your website in the red zone and get it penalized under Google’s latest, real-time algorithm, Penguin. This means you are at a higher risk of getting caught in case you have been using controversial link building strategies. This would result in an instant drop in your rankings.
If you really want to spend money, do it in other marketing strategies to earn your links instead of unethically buying them. Diverting your focus towards developing good content will naturally make it more attractive to potential buyers. Only natural link building offers great benefits to your business in the long run.
- Focusing too much on press releases
Publishing mass press releases regularly was once an effective link building strategy used by business marketers and SEO agencies until Google caught up.
While it is a good idea to publish valuable press releases, using it as a method of link building will do more harm than good. Google’s smart algorithms do not value the press release content of websites anymore. In short, if you earn any links through mass press releases, it will pass on very little to no value to your website.
If you really have something new to share with your audience, go ahead and publish a press release and use relevant platforms to spread the word out. If you try to abuse this marketing method, your website may be considered as spam.
- Giveaway Links
You will still witness many businesses using this practice to get a backlink for improving search ranking. Sending products to bloggers – including Instagramers and YouTubers – for a review along with backlinks was once a promising marketing tactic. It was previously utilized by both SEOs and PRs alike to achieve great success.
It wasn’t until Google made a warning against using such tactics that most businesses preferred stepping back then getting penalized. Google further clarified stating that if an individual contributes towards product review content, they should:
- Not place any backlinks to the business who sent the products
- Disclose the reason why the review is done on a certain product
Google further issued manual actions to individuals who partake in free product reviews solely for the purpose of link building.
- Getting lots of links
Clearly, this means you will be compromising on the quality of the links you are getting for your website. In fact, this is the worst tactic you can use for your website’s development. It is a deliberate act of associating yourself with unprofessionalism and sloppiness. Of course, that’s the first image your audience will get when they find your website through poor-quality sources.
More importantly, it is not just your potential clients thinking about you along those lines. Even Google feels the same way about your website. You will be considered as those sources you are associated with. In short, you can say goodbye to your rankings.
Avoid link building with websites with poor or no quality content at all. Google Link Count is one of the best tools you can use to find out if a site is worth establishing links with. As a rule of thumb, anything above 25 counts is considered good. However, aim for higher for better results with rankings.
- Excessively optimized anchor text
Most marketers begin by learning about the benefits of keyword rich content for SEO strategies. It was indeed beneficial until recently when keyword rich anchor text was used by SEO on other websites – guest blogging – for link building.
The practice of clamping down guest posting for link building through overly-optimized anchor text was carried out by Google in 2013. Google released warnings advising marketers to stop manipulating anchor text on guest posts for getting links back to their own websites. But old habits die hard. You can still witness many businesses still utilizing the tactics for link building.
Instead of trying too hard to put keywords into the anchor text, the focus should be on creating valuable and high-quality content with a natural flow.
- Getting links out of context
Links that appear totally out of place will not make sense with the content. If you fail to integrate your content with the right link, people will find it irrelevant and a waste of time. There are chances they will close your website’s tab soon after opening it if it is not in line with the content you have shared.
Links should not be out of context. As mentioned earlier, it should have a natural flow from the content and page is it coming from. This is totally invaluable for your business as well as your audience. Your SEO rankings could get a negative impact of this practice.
- Indulging in exchange of links
This is another deliberate approach to create links based on mutual agreement with another website. It is a deal where you give a follow-back link to a website for the link they are giving you.
On the surface, such deals may appear totally harmless. However, it is still an unnatural way to build links which are at risk of getting recognized by Google. It is especially true if a large number of links are shared between two websites. If you do it regularly, it can affect your search rankings and even lead to penalization.
It’s time to realize that fooling the evolving search engines is not a piece of cake. While the tactics mentioned above have been around for quite some time and even offered great benefits to businesses earlier, they have become inefficient with time, and it’s crucial that you avoid them if you really want to improve your search engine ranking, organically.
Link building is indeed a very important and effective way to drive traffic to your website, but it is also essential to focus on current SEO building strategies then following the same old, outdated ones. Focus on providing high quality content to your audience for converting them into leads.
Last but not the least, in addition to using link building as your SEO strategy, use multiple other tools and platforms to optimize it more effectively.
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.
Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison