The big focus within SEO circles at the moment is firmly on link building. The recent Google Penguin 2.0 update has further brought this back into focus, as Google have once again looked to clamp down on various link building practices, specifically those that amount to little more than spam linking with the obvious means of boosting SEO performance.
The Importance of Links
Inbound links are important for a variety of reasons, but the biggest impact in terms of SEO is definitely the trust give to Google that your site is filled with content that is worth linking to. In fact, you can make a direct connection between the quality of a link portfolio and a sites’ prominence within search rankings.
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Link building is so important that Google actively encourage webmasters to do it. The trick is to make links appear as natural as possible so that they reflect what your link portfolio would look like if all of your inbound links were earned, organic ones pointing back to your site.
Not only will this help to boost your SEO performance now, it will prevent Google’s future algorithm updates from having a hugely negative affect on you.
Here are four things not to do if you want to avoid Google’s wrath.
Build Links from Irrelevant Sites
Quality definitely trumps quantity when it comes to modern link building.
That means if you’re submitting guest blogs to sites that have nothing to do with what you do, you aren’t giving yourself any SEO benefits, and are perhaps even setting yourself up for a manual Google penalty.
Blog commenting falls into this category, too; what reason do you have to be commenting on a cosmetics blog when you’re a property seller, for example? Remember, too, that you should take the time to post a constructive, high-value comment, rather than just writing anything for the sake of a link.
Build Links Too Quickly
How would you expect a new website to build a link portfolio? Would you expect a new website to be getting 100 new links every day, even after first launching, or would they be earning a handful a week before starting to earn more links as they become more popular?
If you’re building links too quickly, not only does this appear anything but natural, but it is likely they will be low quality ones, too, blowing a hole in your SEO efforts.
Use the Same Anchor Text
Yes, you want to rank for your chosen keywords, but that doesn’t mean using the same anchor text every time you build a link. Again, this tells Google that your link building is anything but natural, and is more likely to see you earn a penalty rather than a promotion up the search results.
There are a number of SEO tools online that you can use to view your link portfolio and avoid overusing anchor text. As a starting point, look to combine your keywords with your brand name, as well as varying your anchor text in general, as an external site would when they link to you.
Focus Exclusively on Follow Links
A natural link portfolio will consist of ‘do follow’ and ‘no follow’ links. If you’ve written an article or put forward a great point in a blog comment, then people will take the time to visit your site whether a link is ‘no follow’ or not.
If you’re in doubt about whether this is good advice, consider this: social media links are ‘no follow,’ and you aren’t about to stop tweeting or sharing content on Pinterest, are you?
Avoiding the SEO Dangers
If you’ve been following any of these practices, then the time to stop is now. Focus on building yourself the most natural link portfolio possible, and you’ll be protecting yourself from future Google Penguin algorithm updates, as well as any manual penalties that spammy link building could potentially send your way.
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