Gone are the days when an effective link building strategy equals quantity over quality. Today, link building has become a horse of another color but remains an indispensable part of a dynamic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
With 11.8 million Google search results analyzed, a study revealed that the top one result in Google has nearly four times more backlinks than ranks two and 10 (Backlinko). The findings make the case that backlink profiles impact your ranking. But unfortunately, many businesses still fall victim to link building mistakes, costing them money and harming their rankings unknowingly.
In this blog, we uncover seven common link building mistakes and three uncommon link building tips to guide and inform your strategy.
Common Link Building Mistakes
As stated in Google Search Central (formerly Google Webmasters), any link building strategy intended to manipulate Google’s PageRank can lead Google to penalize your website, damaging your overarching link building SEO strategy and killing your site traffic.
Here are seven things to avoid to make sure this doesn’t happen to you:
#1 Discounting User Intent
Perhaps one of the most common link building mistakes is ignoring user intent. User intent, also known as search intent or query intent, is the user’s intention or goal when performing a search online.
When you discount user intent in SEO content writing, you appear as someone who doesn’t listen and is irrelevant. Here are four types of search intent and sample entries:
|Informational: User is looking for an answer – usually contains words such as “how,” “what,” “who” and “when.” ||• How to get backlinks |
• What are link building strategies
|Transactional: User is ready to buy a product or service – usually contains words such as “hire”, “download” and “buy.”||• Hire a link building services expert |
• Download white hat SEO techniques eBook
|Navigational: User is searching for a specific web page – usually contains a brand’s name.||• Thrive link building tips |
• Thrive SEO content writing tips
|Commercial: User is weighing options but is ready to purchase – usually contains words such as best, reviews and near me.||• Best SEO link building strategy |
• Thrive link building services reviews
So as you build backlinks, user intent should be at the forefront of your mind when you write a guest post for a relevant, third-party website.
#2 Not Producing Link Worthy Content
Ideally, Google prefers websites to build backlinks organically rather than buying or exchanging links. When you invest in white hat SEO techniques and producing link worthy content, your website will likely earn backlinks naturally, meaning other websites will share your post or cite you as their source.
#3 Performing Bad Outreach To Build Backlinks
The potential of your link building SEO strategy significantly hinges on your outreach skills. If you send bad outreach emails to your prospects, you can guarantee that you’ll remain ignored or, worse, tagged as spam, leaving your outreach campaign ineffective.
Here are outreach and link building tips:
• Keep your subject line straightforward and include necessary information.
• Express your fair desired outcome, but if you wouldn’t say something in person, don’t say it.
• Explain the value of what you’re offering to them and their audience, presenting stats as proof.
• Be editorial and use proper grammar along with spelling and punctuation.
• When sending follow-ups, show eagerness but be respectful.
#4 Buying Backlinks Mindlessly
Another link scheme Google considers is buying links to manipulate their system and violate their Webmaster Guidelines.
You sell or buy links when you:
• Exchange money for links or any post that contains links.
• Exchange products or services for links.
• Send someone “free” stuff, so they write about it and link back to your site.
Here are some other ways your site can be penalized through link schemes:
• Exaggerated link exchanges
• Large-scale marketing with articles or guest posts containing keyword-rich anchor text links
• Utilizing automated programs to create links to your site
• Demanding a link as a component of your Terms of Service or any contract
However, not all paid links are considered link schemes that violate Google’s guidelines; buying and selling links are parts of the web economy when done for advertising purposes, not manipulation.
To prevent Google’s PageRank from tagging your link building SEO strategy as one of the link schemes:
• Indicate the link is sponsored by putting a qualifying attribute to the <a> tag.
• Redirect the links to an intermediate page blocked from search engines through a robots.txt file.
#5 Overdoing Exact Anchor Text in Search Engine Optimization
Aiming to improve the website’s rating, some end up abusing exact match anchor text.
A hyperlink’s clickable text is called an anchor text. Users use this kind of link to navigate between internal and external web pages. Although they can be used on images, hyperlinks are most commonly identified as the blue text that automatically underlines itself when you hover your mouse over it.
While it’s best practice to use exact anchor text that precisely matches a keyword, doing so excessively or failing to include keyword variations can backfire on your link building and search engine optimization efforts.
Two factors contribute to this:
• The excessive usage of the exact anchor text could be considered spam by Google, potentially causing the ranks of your page to drop
• Missing out on keyword variations that address a wider range of search phrases could result in lost traffic
So as a link building tip: If you want to implement the best link building strategies, be creative or, even better, do further keyword research and avoid using the same anchor text repeatedly.
#6 Focusing on Quantity Over Quality
Compromising quality for quantity when launching a link building strategy is a pitfall many fall prey to. You might encounter ill-meaning search engine optimization experts who will try to convince you their approach on how to get quality links works. But, instead of helping to raise your ranks, they simply collect your money and send you tons of low-quality backlinks.
On the surface, this may look amazing: You open your SEO tool and observe the flood of backlinks, so the more backlinks, the better, right?
No, not always.
Not every backlink possesses the same level of authority. Some of them could be toxic backlinks, which are spammy or low-quality links that are more likely to harm than benefit your rankings. The likelihood that high-quality backlinks come from authoritative, reliable and relevant websites is why high-quality backlinks are better than high-quantity backlinks.
#7 Ignoring Small Yet Relevant Websites
Without question, the ideal backlink donors are sites with a high domain authority and relevant to your business niche.
As you learn how to get quality links, avoid going overboard with your backlink prudence.
While it is best to steer clear of spammy, poor-quality links containing irrelevant or duplicate information, there is a case to be made for small- to medium-sized websites that churn out quality content and are well-established in a market related to your own.
How To Get Backlinks Properly and Fix Link Building Mistakes
Now that we have looked at common mistakes on how to get backlinks, you may ask, “what are link building strategies I can benefit from?” Here are three uncommon but best link building strategies many tend not to focus on.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building involves finding a relevant broken link on a website, and producing similar content to the broken resource. Then an outreach is sent to the website linking to the dead resource to ask them to link to your own.
Many external sites will mention you or your brand without linking to your website. In this case, you’re halfway through earning a backlink, and you only need to professionally pursue the site mentioning you and convince them to convert that mention into a backlink.
Community Site Link Building
Forums, Reddit, Quora and other message boards are good places to market your website while building some relevant links that diversify your backlink profile.
Leaving thought-leadership comments on such sites will also help get your content in front of more people.
Take Advantage of the Best SEO Link Building Strategy From Thrive
If any of the abovementioned mistakes seem too familiar, it’s time you reassess your strategy. But if you’re finding yourself a little too deep in these mistakes, it would be more fitting to get immediate help from a link building expert. To supplement your link building strategy, you could also invest in search engine marketing (SEM) to rank above your competitors. In addition to improving your backlink profiles, the best SEO link building strategy is a chief component in growing inbound leads.
Tristan Harris, Thrive Agency’s demand generation and link building expert, said in a previous blog that your cost-per-lead (CPL) would likely reduce over time when you invest in content, SEO and link-building.
Thrive Agency offers link building services to businesses in various industries. Reach out to our link-building team for a free backlink profile analysis.