4 Common Link Building Tactics to Avoid

Building a website has become easier than ever with the explosion of free tools on the Internet. However, just because you have a website, doesn’t mean people will automatically start beating down your virtual door. They have to know you exist and getting their attention isn’t as easy as you may think. Search on Google for whatever product or service you sell and you’ll instantly have an idea of how much competition you have in your respective industry.

Some sites such as WordPress are perfect for beginners or professionals to create an aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate website. Its powerful, impressive support community and extensive free tools allow the user to automate a majority of its features. This includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts. Automation allows the user more time to build traffic to their site. The most powerful way to build roads to a website, next to advertising, is to create backlinks.

What is a backlink?

A backlink is an incoming link to your website, which can be from just about any source—such as another web page, directory or top-level domain (the big fish on the web). The basic theory is this: the more quality links you have pointing at your site, the more popular your site is assumed to be. The more popular your site is assumed to be, the higher your rankings increase on search engines, like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

But how do you get backlinks? There are numerous methods, but some can hurt your efforts, even get you blacklisted from search engines if you’re not careful. Here are things to avoid, and what to do instead:

Linking To and From Low-Quality Sites

Not all links are created equal. In fact, Google has actually mapped out link neighborhoods, grouping what they consider to be low quality web sources together. What does that mean to you? It means that you can be guilty by association. If all of your links are coming from spammy, below-par websites, search engines will begin to assume that your site is also spammy and below-par. Search engines are constantly evolving to better weed out irrelevant or inadequate content. Quality matters more now than ever before, so one link from a really popular and well-maintained site can be worth more than a bunch of links from low-traffic, crummy sites. So, it’s very important to be extremely careful and picky about who connects to your site and who you link to, as well. Check the page rank, read the articles and content found on the site, and at the end of the day, go with your gut: if you don’t think the site will be helpful in building traffic to you, find another site that will.

Neglecting Your Website

With the amount of competition on the web these days, first impressions are everything. Your website is the Internet’s first impression of your business, or services, and your products, and it is your calling card and initial proof of credibility to the rest of the web. If you want other, quality sites to link to you, you have to be willing to look like a professional. Your design needs to look clean, crisp, trustworthy, load fast and be 100% free of malware. Professionalism is the key here. If your site doesn’t look like it could support a small to medium sized business, work on the layout until it does. Keep your flash and popups to a minimum and focus on providing top-notch content, not a sales pitch. Also, be sure to have a steady stream of relevant, quality information available for your audience to consume, especially if you are a blog or an info-based site. If you’re not updating, you’re not giving a reason for visitors to come back, making your site a dead-end.

Generic Content

While it is important to update your site regularly, if not every day, you need to be sure to provide your audience with quantity and quality content. Pro status doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work, planning and real value. You need an edge and a fresh perspective to rise above the average efforts of others – simply piggybacking off of what everyone else has already said does not provide your audience with a reason to stick with you – they can easily find the same information you are providing at plenty of other sites around the web. You should always strive to do better and to provide readers with something that they can’t find anywhere else. This increases your site’s value not only to your readers, but to the web in general.

Also, avoid spammy techniques to generate new content, like spinning – a method that takes a single article and generates dozens of spinoffs. There are two distinct problems with this:

  • Spinning is a cheat and your readers/clients/customers will notice. They want value, not word vomit. Don’t cheat yourself by using automated systems or programs. Do the work and do it right.
  • These systems are based on providing what the search engines want to see, not what a human wants to read. An article might say all the right things for a web crawler to be interested, but still looks like gibberish to the rest of the world.

If you get caught, for any reason, you could get blacklisted by search engines.

Receiving – But Not Giving

One of the more popular methods for getting backlinks is through commenting, which can also help in the development of online relationships, a necessity if you want your site to have longevity and a large audience. Relationship building is of double benefit for you, because you can get links to your site as well as referrals from the sites you help, and you open up potential opportunities for the future. Most sites allow you to post your link along with your name and email address, or website address. The problem is many people are not willing to give, only to receive. Instead of leaving good feedback, providing value to the site owner, they leave garbage like this (found on http://www.grandrivercellars.com):

  • “Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect, people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks”

A real comment from a blog that makes no sense is more common than you might realize. It is complete drivel and a useless effort on the posters part. It has nothing to do with the article or the website and it’s only fit for deletion – don’t make the same mistake. Post responses, after you actually read the article, providing good insight and positive feedback. Make it so good, people will want to know who you are and click on your link to find you. Your insight will also often be appreciated by the blogger, who will in turn visit your site and provide comments there. It is also possible to build a guest-posting relationship, providing both you and the other blogger with quality links and a wider audience.

When you first embark on your journey to creating a valuable, high traffic website, it is important to take these considerations into account and to avoid lackluster link building tactics that will have a more negative effect on your site than a positive one. Search engines are becoming more and more advanced, and these kinds of spammy techniques can end up causing big damage to your ranking and traffic in the long run. Instead, focus on white-hat methods that can help increase your organic traffic and popularity among real people, not just search engines.

What white-hat link building methods do you find most beneficial? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section!

Tagg White writes on behalf of CableTV.com. He enjoys writing about entertainment & technology. When he’s not writing, Tagg prefers to spend his time hiking or golfing.

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