Link building. To some, these two words represent a confusing, time-consuming, never-ending process yet to produce any tangible results. And understandably so; after all, link building can be all of these things–especially if youâ€™re making some common mistakes.Â Take a look at the list below to see if any of these mistakes are hampering your link building campaign.
â€¢Â Â Â Linking Only to Your Home Page– One of the most common mistakes I see when examining back links is finding every link pointing to the same page. Most of the time, these links are always to the home page, but this rule applies to any single page. You donâ€™t want every inbound link aimed at the same page. Why? There are several reasons. Most importantly, it doesnâ€™t look natural to the search engines. Second, it doesnâ€™t help you improve your rankings for the long-tail keywords, the bread and butter of search traffic, on the deeper pages of your site. Third, itâ€™s terrible for usability. People want to go directly to the information they need. Making them land on your home page before finding what they want will lead to a high bounce rate.
â€¢Â Â Â Not Getting Links Consistently Over Time– This happens a lot with new websites. They get a ton of links right off the bat, and then they never get another. Again, this doesnâ€™t look natural to the search engines. Link building isnâ€™t a one-time process; itâ€™s something that takes a long-term commitment. The best way to consistently get inbound links over time is to focus on publishing quality content that begs to be linked to. They donâ€™t say â€œcontent is kingâ€ for nothing.
â€¢Â Â Â Not Linking Out– Itâ€™s one of my pet peevesâ€”the idea that you canâ€™t risk losing any of your â€œlink juiceâ€ by linking out to another website. Or even worse, that if you link out to another website, your visitors wonâ€™t come back. Both of these notions are flat out ridiculous. Linking out is important because it helps you build relationships with others since blogs typically ping the webmaster when thereâ€™s a new inbound link, it enhances the user experience by assuming the link is relevant and adds insight, and it establishes your blog as a leading resource when you put all the info people need in one place. And if you provide great content, you donâ€™t have to worry about your readers coming back.
â€¢Â Â Â Always Using the Same Anchor Text– Occasionally, situations will arise where you will have control over what anchor text you want in your back link. Obviously, you want the anchor text to include relevant keywords for search engine placement purposes. However, donâ€™t fall into the trap of using the same anchor text every time. Quite simply, it doesnâ€™t look natural if every link pointing to your website says the same thing word for word. Donâ€™t give the search engines any reason to suspect youâ€™re involved in shady link building practices.
â€¢Â Â Â Completely Ignoring Reciprocal Links– Every so-called SEO guru out there preaches against getting reciprocal links for your website. The reason for this is that reciprocal links essentially cancel each other out in the eyes of the search engines. But if these â€œgurusâ€ could stop worrying about pleasing the search engines for a second, theyâ€™d see there are benefits to occasionally engaging in reciprocal linking. It can generate highly relevant traffic to your website, and it helps you build a relationship with the other linker that could prove profitable down the line with guest blogging opportunities, referrals, etc. Plus, it improves the user-experience, assuming the link is to a relevant site.) Remember, itâ€™s not always about the search engines; humans count too.
â€¢Â Â Â Trying to Push Every Post to the Front Page of Digg– If youâ€™ve read any of my posts, you know Iâ€™m all for social media marketing. I think itâ€™s a great way to build links, to engage with your target audience, and to generate traffic to your website. However, you need to realize that not every post you write is worthy of the front page of Digg or of any other social media site for that matter. If youâ€™re constantly pushing every single post on these social networking sites people will begin to ignore you. Even worse, you could end up getting banned.
â€¢Â Â Â Not Knowing Your Competitorâ€™s Back Links– If you donâ€™t know what your competition is up to, how can you expect to pass them in the SERPs? Take a look at their back links by entering the link: www.yourcompetitorssite.com (example URL) into the Yahoo search bar. Not only will this help you understand what you need to do to outrank them, but it could also provide a great starting point for your link building campaign. You may be able to get inbound links from the same sites that link to your competition.
Now that you know some link building pitfalls to avoid, you can kick your campaign into overdrive. And remember, quality trumps quantity every time.
What link building mistakes have you made? Share them with us in the replies!