Link building has never been so challenging and contradicting as it is today.
– You need backlinks to make your site rank.
– You fear of wrong backlinks that put your site at risk of Google's penalty.
To keep your link-building effective yet penalty safe, you need to instantly identify and neutralise any harmful links in your profile.
That is why today, to help you make sense of what's truly harmful for your site, we'll show you the 7 deadly link-building mistakes that may be poisoning your site now
Find and neutralise harmful links before they ruin your ranks!
1: Backlinks from pages with excessive (over 1,000) outgoing links
When a backlink page links out to hundreds and thousands of other pages, its value drops drastically. And more to that, massive outgoing links can be a sign of low-quality spammy blog or directory. These backlinks are suspicious and need a closer inspection.
2: Links coming from pages with the same IP (same C-class)
Many backlinks coming from sites with identical IP addresses may show that some of your links are attained via link networks — which is a red flag for search engines. Inspect you backlinks for IP addresses.
3: Too many links with exact match anchor text
Standard practice used to be: you'd aim for about a 30% to 50% match. Now those numbers dropped drastically. So, look through your backlink anchor text and take action if exact match anchors exceed 10%!
4: Overoptimised anchor text and lack of anchors diversity
Just as with exact match anchor text, Google frowns at backlink profiles with too many optimized link anchors. Make sure your backlinks have a variety of natural anchor texts (junk anchors, branded phrases, naked URLs, etc.) and review site's links for overoptimized anchors.
5: Sitewide backlinks
A high number of blog-roll, header, footer or sidebar links can trigger Google's "overoptimization" wrath, so keeping them to a minimum would be a rather reasonable thing to do. The fewer sitewide backlinks — the better, so mark them all in your backlink profile for revision and possible removal.
6: Backlinks from pages not indexed in Google
When a web page is not indexed in the search engines, it's possible it was banned for violating search engine's rules. Logically, having links from de-indexed pages is a red flag too. Stay away from banned pages and domains.
7: Backlinks from pages that look suspicious and weak
Beware of the pages that offer quick and easy link opportunities, without even looking at your site's content and moderating submissions. These backlink pages may contain in title/body such words as "forum," "link directory," "article directory," "links," "submit url," etc. On the whole, be cautious about pages with very low PageRank (zero or n/a) and backlink domains with short history.
Website & Business owners have become fearful of link building due to Google's new algorithm updates. While understandable, what people need to comprehend is that links still play an important role in how a website is viewed by the search engines. Yes, it’s true that links can now harm a website for SEO purposes, but there are still good links too and links can also get a website to be viewed favourably. The key is to understand the difference between what constitutes as a bad link for SEO and a good link for SEO. There’s no doubt that the link building rules have changed after Penguin algorithm update, but that doesn’t mean that link building should be cut out of the campaign entirely.
Link building is still worthwhile as long as you follow these rules:
Before the search algorithms became the complex monsters that they are today, any link (within reason) was considered to be worth attaining for SEO purposes. The mantra was, the more links- the better. Today, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As the search engines became more sophisticated they are now able to determine whether the context of one site relates at all to the context of another. If not, it’s a suspicious and sceptical link. For SEO today, the key is to spend time seeking out websites that are relevant to what you have to offer and looking for a link opportunity on those sites. In addition to being relevant to please the search engines, it also improves the chances that visitors to that site will be interested in what you have to offer and are more likely to click over and visit your site. The purpose of a website is to generate visitors and conversions after all. A link is acceptable in the eyes of the search engines if its primary purpose is to drive traffic to the site and not just to gain one more link for SEO.
Use the nofollow tag:
Depending on the nature of the link that you will get from a website, it might make sense to add the nofollow tag. This tag should definitely be used if the link is a paid link (advertising) and if it appears multiple times throughout the site. The nofollow tag essentially tells the search spider not to follow that link or consider it as part of the link portfolio that works to attain search engine trust. While it might not be the best type of link for SEO, what it tells the search engines is that the link is there for traffic generation only. The search spiders still see it, and a well rounded link portfolio of both followed and no followed links is desirable.
Minimal anchor text linking:
Once a staple in your SEO tool belt, anchor text linking was a primary target of the Google Penguin update because website owners were abusing it and it was ruining the overall experience of the web. The average web user doesn’t want to see a page of content full of linked keywords. Keyword anchor text linking should be avoided. The only type of anchor text linking that is still acceptable is the linking of branded terms, like the company name or the product or service that is sold. It’s a much more natural way to link.
Before the big social media sites really took off, social bookmarking sites were a great way for users to collect and share content. Some social bookmarking sites, like Reddit and StumbleUpon, still get thousands of users a day and could be great source of traffic for your website provided you categorize your content correctly. But there are dozens, if not hundreds, of old social bookmarking sites that have fallen by the wayside in recent years. These sites might still allow you to post content but don’t provide any real value to your website other than a quick and easy link.
Who knows—in a few years we might not even really be able to call in “link building” because to build something means to actively create it. And if you are actively creating something how can it be natural? From what I’ve seen from Google in the last year or so they really want sites to earn those inbound links with great content, an active social media presence, and more organic online activity.
Google is really pushing for link building to become more about link earning. The new attitude centers around the diea that if you wrote a guest blog post then you put the link in there, meaning it’s not an editorial “up vote;” it was a pre-planned link. In the Webmaster Guidelines Google’s John Mueller states;
Generally speaking, if you’re submitting articles for your website, or your clients’ websites and you’re including links to those websites there, then that’s probably something I’d nofollow because those aren’t essentially natural links from that website.
Should you get quoted or referenced in a post on another site (one that you did not write yourself) then that link can be followed since it is a naturally earned link.