Search Engine Optimization July 8th, 2015
Ever since Google launched its first penguin update, link building becomes much more challenging. Google smash a hammer on websites that were involved in shady link building activities and in some cases kick them out of the search index or at least pull them down against the keywords they were targeting to rank in search engines.
This is the one question that most businesses ask me via email from time to time, so I thought it would be best to explain it here. This way small businesses, especially the one with tight SEO and link building budget, can have an idea about how not to do link building.
Back when I was working for an agency, I had a client who had a link profile completely dependent upon on blog comment links. I am not saying that blog comments are bad for communication and interaction, which could later lead to links. However, using blog comment for link building purpose (especially with a targeted anchor text) comes under the umbrella of shady link building. They’re often noticed as spam for blogs and often rejected, especially when they’re not thoughtful comments and just computer generated comments to leave links.
Forums are a great way to tap into amazing link building opportunities, but using forums to build links directly is simply a bad idea. It can easily take you in the red zone of Google where penguin lives.
Niche directories make sense, but diving into every kind of directories is nothing but risking your website’s reputation in the eye of Google. Do not build directory links unless you are sure that the directory is healthy and relevant to your website.
I discovered this when I was disavowing links for a website in Google Webmaster tool. Ezine article was a big name in the pre-penguin world and people tried hard to get their article listed there with a link back to their website but today, it’s a bad idea. Avoid article submission website as much as you can. Google doesn’t like duplicate content, so it’s best to avoid doing so.
This sounds fair, but in the last couple of updates by Google, they turn down any do follow link that is coming from PR website as its easily purchasable and Google want the link profile to be natural. Therefore, avoid having PR websites provide follow links. Instead, ask them for a no-follow link.
These are a few of the link building ideas that comes under shady link building tactics. There are definitely more, but these are some of the most popular shady link building tactics.
Also on TechWyse
Now we know that building links via blog comments, forums profile links, article submission, and more are not good. So, what kind of links should businesses be building in order to get in the good books of Google? I write a post on my blog that talk about the link building tactics I am using in the current year.
Before I discuss the kind of links you should have in your link profile, here are a few things you should know when you are building links:
I understand that you are targeting specific keywords, but getting links with the exact match anchor text is a bad idea. It is important to make your anchor text as natural as possible. In some cases, I prefer anchor text “click here” over “wedding photographers in NYC”.
There are many choices when it comes to getting a link back to your website from a page. You can get a link back from the author biography, within the content, sidebar, footer, and more. The safest option is to get a link back from within the content. However, your link needs to be relevant to the source and statement you are trying to make. It should either support an idea or fact that you’re sharing with your readers.
As a business, you want a clean link profile, but that’s not enough. You also have to link to websites that contains a clean and ideally, an authoritative link profile. Always check the link profile of the website you are getting a link from. Consider looking into their domain authority and trust flow from tools like Open Site Explorer and Majestic.
So, how can you build a link profile that Google will like? Here are a few kind of links you should have in your link profile. Remember, it’s about diversity and quality.
1. Guest Post Links
Matt Cutts announced that Google is discounting guest blogging links and if your link profile will contain lots of guest blogging links, they may take appropriate action against it. However, saying that the idea of guest blogging as a link grabbing tactic is wrong will not be true.
Guest blogging isn’t a bad idea to build links. However, it’s about where you’re guest blogging and the quality of the blog site you’re writing for. You shouldn’t ignore opportunities that are high-quality and from a strong, authoritative site. Remember to keep the links natural and quality up to the mark.
2. Broken Link Building
As discussed earlier, we cannot stick to one tactic and start building links, we have to have diversified link profile. In order to do that, we have to have links coming back to the website using different tactics.
Broken link building is another idea that can help you get great links with less effort. The idea is to find quality blogs and websites within your niche and see if they have any broken link on their website. Contact them and let them know about it and recommend your link against of that 404 link or page. Check out this blog and guide on broken link building.
3. Links from Edu and Gov Websites
This is the idea we personally used on our website The Workplace Depot and if you want to see how many links we have got with not much effort, check out link profile.
.Edu and .Gov links sound difficult, but if you think a little out of the box, you can easily tap some great links that were otherwise seems impossible. We offer 10% discount to university alumni and university website, which grants us a link on their website.
Make sure your offers are something valuable for any students or companies of these .edu and gov websites. In addition to benefiting them, you want to have relevant visitors to your site.
4. Competitor Analysis
This is common and almost everyone do that, but the only suggestion I have when using competitor analysis for link building is that make sure you are verifying the quality of links that your competitor’s already have.
Blindly following links that your competitor has will hurt you, instead of helping you out in search engines. In our industry, there are competitors who have links in their link profile that can be shady and following those links can easily make you a penguin food.
When tapping into competitor’s link, make sure the health of the links is good. Moz has a new feature in Open Site Explorer that will tell you the health of the domain.
5. Image based links
If you are in the wedding industry or any other industry where images play a vital role, this idea can help you get the most authoritative links.
The idea is to stay transparent and allow bloggers and other websites to use your images that you have available on your website. You can always use Google image search to see which blogs and websites are using your images.
The next step is to email them and ask for a link for using your resource. Most blogs and website will prefer giving the link out as customize images might cost them much more than a link.
Remember: Be nice in your emails, as this will help increase the response rate of the email.
This is nothing new, but if your infographics contain valuable information and updated data, chances are, many sites will want to link to your infographics. Infographics are a popular way to convey messages, as they are visually enticing. That’s why they’re often shared significantly over social!
Neil Patel did a phenomenal post on how to make your infographics go viral. Creating great content that is visually appealing, makes it easier for one to share them on their own blog and distribute it.
7. Youtube Videos
Another idea that not many people are using at the moment, which is why the conversion rate for this idea is much higher than others.
The idea is to see what YouTube videos are getting more links and contain the same or similar content as yours. You can share with these video owners links of your own content that are talking about the same subject. For example, if someone created a video on “How to Create the Best Video”, you can suggest them your article on “Why Videos are Important for Your Business.”
There are many more ideas you can use, but here are some of the few ideas that are great for creating a good link profile. In the end, the idea is to have multiple kinds of links in your link profile or else you will end up getting eaten by Google animals.
Remember, use multiple tactics to build different kind of links, and make your link profile as natural as possible.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any link building tactics that you do for your own website! What are some things to avoid?