Link Building: What Not To Do

Link Building: What Not To Do

Link Building: What Not To Do

Once you have WordPress installed and your WordPress theme uploaded, plug-ins working smoothly, you might realize that something is missing:

Traffic! 

You already built an amazing website, but the world does not know about it yet. 

What now?  It is time to start building links, but building links is more difficult than it sounds.

The Power of Search Engines

The absolute best way to get and keep a flow of traffic is to rank highly for a specific set of keywords. 

This is far easier said than done, but there are some great tools that can help with the research and writing of SEO-friendly content that targets keywords. 

Without covering those aspects again, it is worth taking a look at just why targeting keywords is important, and that brings us full-circle back to search engines. 

The plain and simple truth is that potential visitors are using search engines every single day, and they rarely look past the first few results. 

Being one of those first few entries on a SERP (search engine result page) is the surest way to ensure traffic.

Google and other search engine companies know this, and they also understand that not everyone is interested in hard work. 

In fact, some people are out to do the least amount of work to get on top of a SERP, even if that entails being less-than honest. 

This brings us to link building, and it raises a key point: there are both good link building ideas and bad link building ideas.

Bad Link Building Ideas

We won’t spend a lot of time covering bad link building ideas because they are not part of a sustainable business model; sooner or later all your hard work could be made useless when a search engine determines that it is being manipulated. 

Consider this: why do search engines exist?  What is their part in the modern online world?

The answer is the search engines only exist so long as they produce relevant results quickly. 

If you discovered tomorrow that Google would only send you to websites with old/outdated/inaccurate information riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, would you consider using another search engine? 

While this might sound like a dream of Microsoft/Yahoo!, it is meant to illustrate the fact that search engines do have a vested interest in vetting the pages they recommend to searchers. 

In modern terms this means multiple independent algorithms that analyze keywords, links, association with other pages, social networking, subscriptions, and other factors. 

When one or more of these algorithms shows a site to be rated substantially higher than the others, then the site is generally flagged as being suspicious and will be evaluated.

For this reason alone it would never be a good idea to engage in anything that seems shady, such as buying bulk links. 

Instead, you are better off looking into ways to build good links.

Why Are Links So Important?

As part of the complex algorithms that helps a search engine determine the quality of content on a page or site, links play a critical role. 

Since it is not possible for humans at Google or other search engine companies to evaluate all pages, nor would it be possible for them to be as fair and unbiased as code.

A computer must perform the tasks of determining which pages and sites are more relevant than others in order to provide better search results. 

In this context, it is possible to consider links to be almost like votes from other websites. 

The more links a website or page has, the more useful it would seem to be on the surface. 

This relationship is often referred to as link juice, but it is actually a lot more complex than it seems on the surface. 

Here are a few basic points that are considered by search engines:

1)  If two sites linked to each other and neither had any other links, incoming or outgoing, then both sites would have the same theoretical rating.  For now, let us call these Site A and Site B.

2)  If one of those two sites were to get an incoming link from another site, it would now rate higher than its peer.  So, if Site A links only to Site B and Site B links to Site A, but Site C links only to Site A, Site A is now more popular than Site B.  This means it is rated higher by search engines with everything else being equal.

3)  Not everything is equal.  Links are evaluated in a number of ways, including the anchor text, their position in a text, their position relating to other links within a text, the keyword content of the text they are located in, and the overall amount of influence of a page/text that the link is contained within.

The last rule is very complex, but here is an easy way to understand it. 

Let us say that Site A and Site B both have comparable content quality as seen by a search engine (which uses several complex algorithms to evaluate text), and both discuss the latest Honda Civic. 

Site C would lend a lot of link juice to Site A if it was in a related field, such as car reviews. 

Less link juice would be passed if Site C was dedicated to the latest Barbie dolls and/or if Site C was not rated very high by search engines, but that is only the most basic way to look at it. 

Takeaway Points

The point that we want to make clear… don’t use shaddy backlinks. In recent months Google has been tweaking it’s search algorithms.

You’ve probably have heard of them… they are know as the “Panda” updates… and they’ve been altering the search engine rankings of just about every site, from big to small.

But these updates are specifically meant to target any shaddy backlink building tactics. If you focus on building a great content site, that’s easy to navigate and loads quickly… then you won’t have to worry about these “Panda” updates.

Your site will grow naturally… and the DNA structure of a site that builds backlinks naturally to one that uses shaddy backlinks is noticeable.

If you need help with improving your core content, read over Core Content Defined and Examined. This guide will help clarify the importance of creating awesome content.

Pay close attention to the reasons that core content adds to your competitive advantage… and above all, put it into action.

What do you think about this article? Do you have anything else to add? Let’s continue the discussion in the comments section.

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Written by

Chad Weirick is a global traveler, ghostwriter, teacher, and father. His hobbies include reading, languages, mixed martial arts, photography, digital media, blogging, and spending time with his family.

Comments

  • Keith Davis says:

    Hi Chad
    I always found the on page SEO pretty easy, but the link building… not so easy.

    I’ve never been tempted to try any large scale manipulation of links.
    I’d rather stay on the good side of Google.

    We all want to get those links overnight, but again Google knows that link building takes time and if they arrive overnight! Big penalty.

    Guess the bottom line is slow and steady link building over a long period of time.

  • Thanks for the insights re: links. I’ve been blogging for a little more than a month now and am rather proud that in my little niche of art quilt blogs I end up on the first page of Google if you search under “art quilt blogs”. (No parens, and I end up on the 2nd page.) I’ve been pretty consistant about wriitng regularly, but only have a few links to people in the field that I respect. Where else should I be looking?

    Thanks for your help, Nancy Smeltzer

  • Crackethill says:

    Thanks for those pointers on link building. One question for you Chad: If you have exchanged links with bad sites and you got penalized by Google which caused your rankings to fall, if you removed all those links from your website, will that correct the faults? Or do the bad sites have to remove your website link from their site too?