By now, you probably know that link building is important for SEO. The simplest way to explain it is that whenever the search engines see that other websites are linking to your site, they see those links as endorsements for your site. Therefore, the more high quality links you have to your website, the more trustworthy your site is in the eyes of the search engines. That’s a bit of an overly simplistic way to explain it all, but that’s the main idea.
Of course, there is art and science to link building. You have to do it the right way or else you could actually end up hurting your search rankings. With that in mind, here are some simple link building dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
Link Building Tips
- Do focus on quality over quantity—You might think that link building is all about getting as many back links to your website as you possibly can. You’d be wrong. See, with Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, it has become all about link quality. Having a lot of low quality links won’t help you climb the rankings. In fact, getting links from shady websites can actually harm your rankings.
That’s why it’s so important for you to be more selective with your link building efforts. Don’t try to get links on any site that will give them to you. Make sure you’re only targeting high quality sites for your links, so that they will carry more weight and help with your SEO efforts more.
- Don’t rely solely on one tactic for getting links—As a link builder, it can be very easy for you to fall into a rut with your link building tactics. You find something that works, and you keep doing it over and over again. Or you read about the hottest and trendiest link building tactic of the moment, and you jump on that bandwagon, ignoring everything else.
There are a couple of problems with this approach. First of all, when you rely solely on one tactic for getting your links, you’ll end up with a link portfolio that’s not very diverse. Diversity is very important for link building. You want to show Google that you have links from a variety of sources and of all different types.
The other problem with relying on one tactic is that you could be in serious trouble if Google alters its algorithm in the slightest. An algorithm change could be targeted at diminishing the value of certain types of lengths, and if you only have that one type of link, your site will plummet in the search rankings.
- Do build links steadily over time—Link building isn’t a one-time activity. It’s an ongoing task that requires your daily attention. You should be setting aside time on a regular basis to focus on acquiring links. Ideally, you should do this daily, but at the very least, once a week, spend a little bit of time working on building up more links.
This is important because getting a steady flow of links over time signals that your website is consistently a trustworthy resource, and it looks more natural than getting a bunch of links all at once.
- Don’t do too much at one time—As I just mentioned, you don’t want to get all of your links at once. If you suddenly get hundreds of links in a short period of time but then never get any more links, it doesn’t look natural to the search engines. It looks like you’re gaming the system.
You want your link building efforts to look as natural as possible. That means spacing out your acquisition of links so that you’re consistently getting new inbound links to your website.
- Do use keyword-rich anchor text whenever possible—Whenever you can control what goes in the anchor text of your links, take advantage of these opportunities by using your target keywords in the anchor text. For example, if your link will be pointed back to a page on your website that’s for men’s v-neck sweaters that your store sells, you would want the text in that link to have the term “men’s v-neck sweaters” or some variation of that keyword.
The last part of that is key—variation. Remember, it’s all about making sure your links are natural. So, you don’t want to use the same keywords over and over again in all of your links because it will look weird to the search engines. Mix up your anchor text and your destination pages so that you have a more diverse, natural link portfolio.
- Do pay attention to Google algorithm changes—Google is always looking to improve the quality of the search results it produces. That means they are always tinkering with the algorithm. So, what’s working for you today might not be working tomorrow. You must keep paying attention to the latest search engine updates so that you can always adjust your approach to accommodate any new algorithm updates.
- Don’t ignore traditional methods like directory submissions—Like everything else, link building has its trends. For example, right now one of the hottest ways to get links is through guest blogging. And that really is a great way to get links and to achieve a number of other things. However, you have to make sure you don’t get caught up in only doing what’s hot at the moment. Link building shouldn’t be just about following the latest fads. There are tried and true methods of link building that might not be as sexy, but they can still work.
Directory submissions fall into this category. This is certainly an established method of building links, and with the right approach, it can still be very effective. It’s all about making sure you’re only submitting to quality, trustworthy directories. Quality always counts!
As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to link building.
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