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Link Building is the most critical skill you can master when looking to improve your SEO game and dramatically impact your Google ranking factor. You build trust between your site, the search engines, and other sites relevant to your niche.
When it comes to your backlink profile, it needs to be done the right way. And despite the many link building techniques out there, if you want to rank higher in the SERPs, you need quality backlinks.
Build the wrong type of backlinks, or do it too quickly, and it will surely bring an over-optimization penalty to your site, courtesy of the search engines’ crawlers. Yes, search engines value “natural” above all else. It’s easy to make some of the most common mistakes while executing your backlink strategy.
So, instead of decreasing your ranking by going for too much, too soon, have yourself a high-quality and efficient link building strategy by avoiding these all-too-common mistakes:
1. Getting Too Fast, Too Furious with Link Velocity
Sadly, you can’t put the pedal to the metal when it comes to building links.
Search engine algorithms, especially Google’s, are always carefully monitoring site growth to ensure that it is earned naturally and penalizes sites with high link velocity.
To understand what a high link velocity is, go back for a moment to when you built your site on sharing the information you feel passionate about without knowing anything of SEO. You had quite the small readership initially, with just a few links pointing back to your site or none.
But when your readership grew, the number of new links pointing back to your site each day would increase as well. This increase of linking building came with a natural link velocity. So, when you extensively build your backlinks in a short time, this will warn the search engines of a high backlink velocity to your site and will result in a link velocity penalty.
So, how much is too much? While there’s no exact number as to how many links are appropriate and how many will incur a penalty, it’s a good idea to maintain a rational link building strategy and reference the average backlinks pointing to your competitors’ websites.
2) Having an unbalanced Anchor Text game
The anchor text is one of the most essential parts of any backlink profile. Coincidentally, it is one of the easiest to get wrong.
- Use Call to Action anchors such as “click here” or “check this”.
- Get naked backlinks with no anchor texts.
- Use branded anchor text only.
- Use the same anchor text in every single backlink.
And we assure you, your ranking won’t be moving up anytime soon.
Getting a backlink from a high Page Rank site is generally a good thing. Still, it would be best to capitalize on target keywords relevant to your niche while keeping a balance with your branded anchors.
A branded anchor text will help bring awareness to your site or product, and a targeted keyword used as anchor text will help you rank higher for that keyword search on the SERPs. But you can’t use the same keywords every time you create a backlink if you want to avoid penalizations due to anchor text overload.
An anchor text informs the search engines what a linked-to site is about. And since it’s the referring domain owner writing the anchor text when linking to your site, these will naturally vary from link to link.
This is why duplicate anchor text warns a search engine of manipulating the sources linking back to your website. It’s also considered spamming or anchor text overload, and it triggers a warning for increased scrutiny to its crawlers.
This generally happens if your backlinking campaigns are using the same anchor text in all its backlinks.
While it’s a good SEO practice to adjust your anchor text to target specific keywords, make sure to mix up the linking structure in the content by using related keywords or different phrasing in your Link Building campaigns to improve your latent semantic indexing benefits and avoid being penalized.
3) Aiming only at that High-Rank heaven
This one is short and sweet.
I know we said before that “Getting a backlink from a high Page Rank site is generally a good thing”, but if you build too many “high Domain Rate” backlinks and not a single “same level DR” link, your profile will look unnatural.
Although there is no official position from Google about this, link variation is very important. Keeping a mix of higher Domain Rate and same level DR links will yield better results.
4) Letting Irrelevant Niche Links slide into your link profile
As you should already know, any decent backlink strategy aims to obtain do-follow links from sites with higher or same level Domain Rate within a relevant niche (same topic).
So, it would help if you curate your incoming links and make sure they’re from pages with the same niche instead of unrelated sites. These add less weight to your SERP ranking and paint a dire picture for your site in the eyes of a search engine crawler.
Especially, low-quality sites that may “stain your reputation” when sending unnatural do-follow links to your website and purposely, or un-purposely, informing a search engine that its algorithm can index your site as one of them.
For instance, if you own a fitness website, you have no business allowing a porn or casino/gambling site linking back to yours.
You can defend yourself from these spammy backlinks by:
- Checking your website backlinks manually to disavow or reject any link that comes from irrelevant sites or niches.
- Using a backlink checker to analyze your do-follow and no-follow links.
5) Going for Sitewide Links
Sitewide Links, AKA boilerplate, are links that appear in the footers of every page of a website or the sidebar blogroll. Back in the day, people managed to get Sitewide Links from hundreds, if not thousands of websites to improve their SERP rankings
They were a big thing in the SEO world, until May 2013, that is. That’s when the Penguin 2.0 update, an algorithm that attacked unnatural link building, was released and went through the indexed internet like a god of death.
What was at the top of its kill list, you ask? Yep, Sitewide links. Over 75% of all Google penalized sites (including reputable companies) were due to Sitewide Links. Bye-bye organic traffic.
In this day and age, if you add a Sitewide footer link on your site with anything other than:
- Contact Information
- Copyright Notice
- Opt-in form
- Address and Link to Map
- Phone and Fax numbers
- Internal Navigation
- Social Media Widgets
- Membership Login
- Site Search Tool
- Awards and Certifications Association Memberships
- Latest Articles
- Upcoming Events
You are definitely getting penalized by Penguin for too many exact matches on anchor text backlinks.
So, are all Sitewide Links unnatural in the “eyes” of Penguin? Not at all.
For example, Google won’t penalize your Sitewide Link that identifies the web designer or connects to another online publication owned by the same company as long as the destination site is in the same niche as the linking site.
But the best that you can do is avoid getting Sitewide Links using methods like plugins or widgets. Google’s position is that such links are often part of a ‘blackhat’ scheme. Therefore, their penalties can affect both the link destination as well as the source. And if you must have an external link in your footer, tag it as “no-follow”; it should keep you safe.
Doing it the right way
By now, you know that Link Building is vital for any online business that wants to grow, and it’s not as simple as you might have thought before. An effective Backlink Strategy that avoids all the common pitfalls is an essential factor in the road to increasing your website’s traffic and growing your business.
It makes you more visible, allowing you to stand out and reach a broader audience.
That is why you need to have it done with professionals that offer personalized and all-encompassing services; professionals who understand that it takes relationship-building, know-how, and hard and smart work that takes time to get right.
Karl Hudson is an entrepreneur who spends his time in the field of digital marketing. He is involved in a multitude of niches and has many investments in all kinds of businesses. He enjoys spending his spare time reading the news, gymming, and travelling.
With the travel, he meets all sorts of people involved in a multitude of niches, from gambling to finance and everything in between. He is passionate about writing and trying to spread positivity around the world.
Karl is the founder of Searcharoo.