Link Building Do’s and Don’ts

Link building is the lifeblood of search engine optimization. But not all links are created equal, especially after Google’s Penguin update. With the latest updates, shoddy link building is highly likely to get your website penalized (and possibly even removed from the index altogether). So link building is dangerous, but still absolutely necessary as it one of the two most important factors for SEO.

For new website, links are essential to getting found by Google. Getting a few initial links is critical to successfully launching a site – you don’t need to go overboard, but one or two will help to get your site indexed quickly. For existing sites, link building is the primary way to send quality signals to Google. The search engines see each good link as a vote of confidence from your peers – so links are key to becoming a trusted source.

When it comes to link building, there’s enough material for a master course. But for most people, we just need enough info to be dangerous! Today we look at five do’s and five don’ts for modern SEO link building.

The Don’ts

First, let’s cover what you shouldn’t be doing. These don’t-use tactics are constantly evolving as Google continues to refine its algorithms. But it’s safe to say that these tactics will be unsafe regardless of future updates.

  1. Buy Mass Links – This has been a don’t-do for a while now, but there are still plenty of shady SEO providers offering mass links for cheap. Don’t do it. Buying mass spam links is the fastest way to get your site penalized.
  2. Swap Links – Swapping links is another old SEO trick that shouldn’t be used any more. As we’ll get to below, links should be natural and niche-specific; so swapping links with every willing partner in the world will end up looking spammy.
  3. Fake Guest Posts – Guest posts are great, but faking it isn’t an option. Fake guest posts are usually either thin or duplicated. Google’s machine learning is getting better every day, and that means that you probably aren’t fooling them with poorly spun articles or shoddy work.
  4. Spam Anchor Text – There are a thousand opinions on proper link anchor text. But there is only one opinion about spammy anchor text: don’t do it. Google is good at spotting unnatural, keyword stuffed anchor text so avoid it if you value your SEO results.
  5. Point Them All to the Homepage – This one is another spam signal that Google looks for. Natural link profiles are spread across your site, while purchased links usually point to your homepage. If Google sees that every link in your profile points to the homepage, they are highly likely to penalize your site.

The Do’s

Now that we know what not to do, let’s look at the positive side of link building for SEO. These five techniques are safe to use and are unlikely to ever run afoul of Google, regardless of future updates. Let’s take a look:

  1. Go for Quality – The days of mass links are over. Instead, the best practice is to go for quality over quantity. Going for quality links means creating quality content that people actually want to link to. Paying for links isn’t totally dead, but exercise extreme caution if you’re going that route.
  2. Develop Relationships – Modern link building requires real relationships with real people. Niche specific links are the king, so get to know people in your industry so that you have natural relationships to create natural links for your profile.
  3. Produce Quality Content – The best (but hardest) way to get high quality links is to create quality content and promote that content. These are 100% natural and earned, and Google will never penalize you for these. But there’s no way to accomplish this goal except to put the hard work in.
  4. Natural Anchor Text – We covered this in the don’t list, but I’m putting it here again because of how important it is. For links to your home page, go for either naked links or your brand name. For links to other pages on your site, just make sure that the anchor text fits with the content of your site and the content of the linking site.
  5. Pay Attention to Link Profile – Your link profile is an overview of all the links to your website. To avoid penalties, make sure that your link profile is natural (not all to one page). Instead build a link profile that is natural and is spread somewhat evenly across your site.

Link Building for SEO

Link building is, and will continue to be, one of the most important SEO factors; but it is also the one of the most difficult. Because of that difficulty, the temptation to take a shortcut is strong. Resist that temptation, avoid and don’ts we covered above and focus on creating quality links that will stand the test of time.

If you’ve done the basic SEO work and are struggling to take it to the next level with link building, local optimization, analytics, and keyword research; contact Fusion Group USA. With a monthly SEO plan, we can help increase your rankings with best practices that are designed to stand the test of time.

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