For decades now, link building has been one of the most powerful marketing strategies for websites. Link building has changed significantly over the years, rendering older strategies irrelevant in favor of more polished modern tactics, but the basics are mostly the same. [Read more…]
Many webmasters have realized that a big part of SEO is getting links to their site. Armed with this knowledge, they make an effort to build links to increase their traffic from the search engines. However, their link building efforts are often ineffective because they make common mistakes. Here are three of those mistakes.
1. Quantity over quality
If one link is great, then five links is better, right? Not so fast. Search engines place a lot of emphasis on the quality of the links. A link from a popular site is much better than 20 links from low quality, spammy sites. In fact, no amount of low quality links can be as effective as a link from an authority site in your niche.
You could even get penalized for having too many low quality links. Don’t take the easy way out. Go after quality links and ignore low quality sites in your link building efforts. Think of it this way: the harder it is to get a link, the more effective that link will be. Do the hard work (networking, creating great content, guest posting, etc.) to get those links from quality sites.
2. Not using relevant anchor text
Now, if someone links to you without them asking, don’t ask them to change their anchor text. That’s annoying and bad practice. They already linked to you. No need to bug them. But if you submit an article to an article directory or write a guest post, you’ll usually have control of your anchor text.
Many people will link using the titles of your pages, so try to add keywords in your titles.
Also, don’t use the same anchor text for each link. If you vary your anchor text, you’ll rank for more keywords.
Update: My friend, Ryan, left this useful comment.
I would like to just throw in the idea that with Google’s recent shift towards Brand emphasis, it can actually be a good thing to get lots of links with A) your site name and B) your site domain as the anchor text. Obviously its also good to mix things up and get varied anchor text, but I think that if there is too high a concentration of varied anchor text it looks unnatural.
I think Ryan has a great point. It’s a good idea to repeat anchor text if your anchor text is your site name or your site domain. Many people naturally link this way anyways. Plus, you’ll get more mentions on the web for your name and domain, which will make your site look more like a well known brand.
For more info about Google’s brand emphasis, check out this article.
3. Only linking to the home page
If you just link to the home page, then your home page will have a chance at good rankings. But what about the other pages on your site?
Each page including the home page can only target a few keywords effectively. You need links to the other pages to rank for a lot of keywords.
Also, I like getting links to the other pages since they are usually better pages for your visitors to land on. The other pages have more specific information than the home page and that information can make a great first impression to your visitors.
Finally, it can be easier to get a link to the other pages. For example, you could create a really great piece of content, give it its own page, and then email other webmasters and ask them to link to it if they like it. This could be hard to do for the home page.
Over to You
These mistakes are not the only ones. What link building mistakes have you seen?
If you try to use all the available SEO strategies, you wouldn’t have time for anything else in the day. With the growing complexity of the search engine algorithms, SEO has become a wide range of activities including link building, linkbaiting, social media, and onpage optimization. Today, it’s not enough to just pick the right keywords and optimize your meta tags.
PeterD over at SEO Book has an excellent post about using different SEO strategies for different sites. In his article, he contends that certain SEO strategies are more effective depending on the site. This principle is great for webmasters that don’t have time to do (or learn) all the SEO activities on a consistent basis.
First, he talks about the importance of setting goals. Your goals will play a big part in determining the best strategies for your site. For example, if you want to rank for a specific keyword, your best bet is to build links to a page that’s optimized for that keyword. If you want to increase your search traffic by 20%, then you should probably do keyword research to see if you’re actually targeting traffic generating keywords.
Next, he talks about the difference between SEO for new sites and established sites. This is very important, because these two types of sites are viewed very differently by the search engine bots. He advises on focusing on link building for new sites. It’s hard to rank for much of anything until you get a good number of quality links. On the other hand, established sites already have the links. Therefore, for established sites, PeterD says to focus more on the onpage factors like internal linking and content creation.
Finally, he gives his top five SEO activities:
- Produce remarkable, attention grabbing content
- Build links
- Title tag
- On-page content
Check out his post for more information. It includes many useful links so make sure to click through to them.