Link building has not been the most favorable way to promote websites in 2015. SEO professionals have taken to content marketing more than link building this year. Website owners are taking up content marketing as a great strategy to promote their websites and blogs. Content marketing is not a new thing in the market though. It has been used over and over for the past several years, but then in 2015 it has gone full blown. More and more SEO professionals prefer this method of link building because it is more natural than the manual link building.
Creating well researched original content has proven to be a really good way to attract the attention of internet audience. It also earns links naturally without having to build a link on some outside source naturally. It is working for many SEO campaigns and it is also safe. When done properly, it can earn a whole lot of links particularly so, if the content is of premium quality. Still, you cannot ignore the power of manual link building. One mistake that many SEO practitioners make is focusing too much on one strategy and forgetting others.
Why would link building be bad?
There is nothing wrong with manual link building really. What could be wrong are the links that are being made to your site. You could have the finest of websites, but then you have bad links. What is it that makes a link bad for your site? There are so many characteristics of a link that could make it appear to be bad in the eyes of the search engines. If you want to be sure that the link you have built manually is not going to have your site penalized by Google, here are things you should be watching out for.
- Connection to source irrelevant to link content
Google’s search algorithm values context a lot nowadays. As such, it is not enough that you have a link that is pointing to your website. The link should be related to content that is relevant to your website. For instance, you are a custom plastic and rubber molding expert and then you post a link to your site in an article that is about vacationing in the Maldives in a trip advisor forum. This is going to raise eyebrows. You should always ensure that all your links are specific to a particular context. It also helps to pay attention to the various types of sources that you rely upon.
- Reciprocal exchange links
The scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours kind of link building does not impress Google or any search engine for that matter. Perhaps, you have a friend who has a site that is similar to yours. It may seem like such a fantastic idea to exchange links between the two in a bid to promote both your domains. This, unfortunately, does more harm that promotion. Google is smart enough to note such ‘reciprocal exchange’ schemes. If there is an excessive number of traded links between two sources, then this could have a tragic effect on your domain authority. Source diversity should be at the top of your list when building links manually.
- Links on low-authority domains
To understand this better, the English proverb that says ‘birds of a feather flock together’ comes in really handy. When your links are on site with high authority, then this is going to boost your site’s authority well. When you post a link in a low-authority site, then definitely you will have problems getting authority. Remember that high-authority websites rank best on Google. Therefore, if your links appear on a site with a poor reputation, then this could possibly harm your visibility. This should not cause you unnecessary headaches though. One low-authority link is not going to hurt you, but then if you have hundreds of such that are sustained over a period of time, then you should be concerned.
- Isolation from link’s meaningful content
Posting any link without putting content to accompany it is not good at all. It does not seem to matter at all if you do it in a blog comment or some other medium. All links must have some semantic context to them and most preferably, should be in the body of a meaningful post. Using guest posts on an outside blog is a good place to start here.
- Too many repetitions on a domain
The number of links you have is important; nonetheless, having a large quantity of them is not always good for your site. For instance, you could be having too many links that point back to your site on a particular domain. This will capture Google’s attention as suspicious. What Google is looking for is many links alright but diverse ones. They should be from multiple sources. Each link has a lower value after the first when they are all on a single domain. It is therefore in your best interests to make your link sources diverse.
- Links embedded in suspiciously keyword-matched anchor texts
There was a time when anchor text for links mattered a lot. This was the time when keyword-focused optimization was synonymous with SEO. Embedding your link in anchor text using a specific keyword that you would like to rank for was a good practice then. Nowadays, it just does not work anymore; as a matter of fact, it is the fastest way to earn yourself a penalty that you might never recover from. Google has a strong liking for links that are placed in a natural journalistic context.
- Online link schemes
Links that are part of a scheme are not going to augur well for your site. Google does not value sites that participate in systems like link pyramids and link wheels. As a matter of fact, this is a violation of Google’s terms and conditions of service. Losing rank is just a minor penalty if you are caught participating in such.
It is a really good time to go through your link profile, to make sure that none of your links have the aforementioned characteristics. In as much as link building is not all that valuable today, it does help your ranking on the search engines. However, it helps a lot more if it is done correctly.