Link building is something that is talked about a lot when running your own site, but there are good and bad methods that you can use. In this post, we will look at some link building strategies that you should avoid doing as otherwise it could harm your site in the long run.
6 Link Building Methods To Avoid Like The Plague
1. Trying To Get As Many Links As Possible
Well this seems a bit odd to kick this list off with; surely link building is all about getting lots of links – right? Well no, it’s not actually!
Many people are under the assumption that you need as many links for your site as possible, so they go off hunting for the most that they can get. It is FAR BETTER to get a few quality links on QUALITY sites (there is a theme here!) than getting lots of links for the sake of it on low quality sites.
Think of it like this: If you were selling your house, you would list it in a local estate agent or realtor. You wouldn’t go sticking up tiny posters on every lamp post in a hundred mile radius.
Think about who your target audience is and where you will find them. They are the places that you should aim to make yourself know in, not every other site online in a totally unrelated niche.
2. Article Submissions
Personally I have never seen the point of these, but I know a lot of people swear by them. Why (oh why) spend all that time creating an article for your own site, only to then go and publish the exact same post elsewhere as well!
Not only are you undermining your own site (by publishing duplicates of your content) but you are then having to compete against the exact same post in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). It’s hard enough to get to the top of the SERP rankings, so why make it harder for yourself.
“Alright then Matt, what if I were to write a separate post that wasn’t going on my site? Would that then work?”
If you want to do that, be my guest, but I still don’t really see the point. Search engines have come out and said that they have devalued article directories. You can’t blame them really. These sites were having duplicate content posted on them all the time, it was ridiculous. Why waste your time on them when you can better invest your time on things that work.
3. Spinning Content
This links in well with the previous point really. There are plenty of “bloggers” that take a post and spin it (edit it around a bit but is still essentially the exact same post) just to allow them to publish it again, be it on their own site, as a guest post or to an article directory. Again, this wouldn’t be so bad if it were just the once, but many spin the same post over and over, publishing it to as many sites as they can.
Alternately, there are plenty of online tools that will spin your content for you (no, I’m not going to link to any), but they are so bad at doing this that it is almost illegible.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is quality not quantity! You are much better off writing one great article to publish than lots of rubbish, spun posts. You must not forget that the main aim that you are writing these posts is for your readers. They won’t stick around for long if you are only interested in links.
4. Guest Blogging (…Sort Of)
Guest posting has long been thought of as a great way to build links. Whilst it can be, it only really works when you do it properly. Too often, people abuse guest posting and only produce the bare minimum required, instead focusing on their link or anchor text.
I’ve been running this site for a while now and I get sent lots of guest post submissions every day. Of those, I probably turn down 99% of them simply because they are just not good enough. When I say that, I don’t just mean that they aren’t up to my standards, some are barely legible and very difficult to understand. I have had;
- Spun content,
- Off topic content,
- Posts that include dodgy links (sites that you just wouldn’t want to link too),
- Copyright content that they have just copy & pasted off another site,
All these stand no chance of getting published on any type of site, so why bother.
You can usually spot the spammy guest posters by their initial email. These types of people you want to avoid like the plague as they are solely interested in getting a link, not about writing anything worthwhile.
If you are going to guest post, write something worth reading and try getting it published on a decent, well respected site. Approach the site in the right way by reading some of their posts, getting to know who the blogger(s) is and what type of content they publish. If you show an interest in them, they will show an interest in you. Anything less and you will end up in the spam folder.
5. Buying Text Links
Search engines have come out and stated that they are cracking down on paid text links. Sites that don’t follow the rules can end up being penalized.
Despite this, I (and many others) still get emails sent asking if they can “advertise” on our site with a paid text link. This wouldn’t be so bad if the link was actually relevant in some way to the post/site, but more often than not they are links to gambling, pharmaceutical, weight loss, etc. sites that you just wouldn’t want to visit.
If you genuinely want to advertise your site, there are much better ways of doing it (social media ads, SEO, AdWords, to name but a few) than paid text links. Sites (at least good ones) just won’t look twice at paid links since the changes, so waste your time.
6. Neglecting Your Website
I think a lot of bloggers (particularly new bloggers) can get distracted by traffic stats and the number of links that they have/are getting. This often leads to us neglecting our blog itself, which is the main reason for all the link building in the first place.
It is pretty easy to get distracted and work on other things (I’ve done it enough times), but you should always strive to work on and improve your site to the best of your ability.
There is an argument to say that you are much better off concentrating on your own blog, rather than trying to write guest posts or build links. This does make sense when you think about it, as instead of producing quality content for someone else, you produce it for your own site. Whilst it may not get the same levels of interest straight away, quality content on your own site will, in the long run, bring in traffic and links naturally.
Admittedly, I do believe that some external work on building traffic is a good thing to do, but I do agree that THE most important thing you should focus on is your website.
Link Building – Good or Bad?
There are definitely two sides to link building. There are many link building methods that you should avoid at all costs, but if done in the right way, you can build links that benefit your site in the long term.
What is your opinion of link building in general? What link building methods do you think people should avoid? Which do you think are good to use? Please let us know your opinions below!
Image by ‘Hiten Patel’ [Source]