It’s no secret that having links pointing to your domain is one of the main factors taken into consideration to define the authority of your site, directly influencing its ranking on search pages.
As an essential part of an SEO strategy, it is important to know good link building practices, but it is crucial to understand which tactics are not welcomed by search engines, and may even be penalized.
This post will focus on the key mistakes you should avoid in your link building strategy.
To understand why Google penalizes some types of links, you need to understand how Google values the value of a link. For the tool, a link should be a natural way to deliver value to a user, using another page as a source of that value.
This other page can be from your own domain or from a different domain. The important thing is that the link has relevance within the context of the page where it appears.
From this, we will understand how each of the links listed can be viewed negatively by the search engine.
Common link building mistakes to avoid in SEO
Let’s start with the easiest ways to get caught and punished by Google, and then cover some points where attention and insight are important.
Do not buy or sell links
Google is increasingly prepared to identify unused links naturally, and the same goes for purchased links. Think that every link that points or is pointed to by your domain is a record of its value. You want to ensure that all records are positive, so be careful when negotiating them.
Buying and selling links is one of Google’s biggest points of attention, and it’s definitely territory you want to stay away from. After all, there are much better ways to build authority.
Remember that if you want to place a business partner link on your page, you can try to place it naturally, or insert the NoFollow tag. This tag causes the search engine not to follow the link and therefore does not associate the two domains.
Do not use private blog networks
This feature consists of creating a network of private blogs, on different domains of your site, to generate links to your main site, where you focus on capturing customers. So you can’t have a blog in another domain?
Of course, you can! The important thing is to make sure your blog has relevance by itself.
If your private blog is constantly being updated, receiving visitors, new content, and external links, it’s likely to generate value, and you have nothing to worry about.
However, if you plan to purchase multiple deactivated domains to generate links, and leave them “moth-free”, you will have a big problem at hand. If Google understands that these domains only exist to house links to your primary domain, it will penalize you.
Do not use hidden links
Using hidden links, such as a white text link on a white background, was once an easy way to get links to rank. Today is one of the easiest ways to get caught by Google.
Hidden links add no value to the user, and are intended only to manipulate search engines, so it is seen as negative and will result in penalties for your domain.
Do not use directory links
Link directories were once the best way to accumulate a large number of links pointing to your site. Today, however, several reference directories, such as Dmoz and Dihitt, don’t even exist anymore.
Having your link in a directory generates no clicks and no credibility: it is a step backwards in your strategy. Focus your attention on getting only links that really deliver value.
Do not use tools to create links
There are a number of tools that can help you monitor the links you receive as well as prospect for quality link sources. However, tools that aim to automatically link to other sites will drop your PageRank!
Tools like ScrapeBox, which have become famous for generating a large number of links on other sites, are now easily detected and penalized by Google, which sees them as spam. You definitely don’t want this for your site.
Take care with Guest posts
Guest posts are a great way to reach different audiences by spreading your business name on other blogs, generating value, gaining market authority. However, it is important that you stick to guest posts that aim to generate valuable content.
Swapping guest posts just to link to other domains is a hit, and Google is increasingly prepared to detect links that don’t come from content and value sources.
Beware of site-wide links
Site-wide links are equal outbound links that are on multiple pages of the same site, usually at the same page position. This type of link is extremely common and can be viewed naturally by Google.
There are two factors that must be taken into consideration when evaluating site-wide links. The first is the fact that as the number of links from one domain to another grows, the relevance of each one decreases. A website’s 20th link to yours will have far less or no weight than the first.
The second is that it is important to evaluate the link and relevance of the connection between the websites. Site-wide links can be harmless and beneficial if they have a logical connection, or negative and passive punishment if they don’t.
To ensure that the site-wide links your site have do not negatively affect your page rank, place the Nofollow attribute on each one.
Beware of links in comments
Links in the comments section is one of Google engineers’ biggest points of attention when looking for spam. They are a very easy way to place your link in another domain, but also one of the simplest ways to get caught and punished.
Links in comments can be very valuable and have only positive effects on your placement, provided they follow the same link value logic that Google takes into account on any other link.
Is your comment relevant? Does it add value to page content? Does the link placed in the comment make sense in this context? Will it add to the person who clicks it?
These questions are crucial in determining whether you should link to your domain in a comment section.
Beware of specific anchor texts
Anchor text is the visible and clickable text that contains the link to another domain. Since it has become a factor evaluated by search engines, it is important to have anchor texts that meet your requirements.
An anchor text should fit the context of the linking page. The anchor text should be a natural continuation of the subject matter, and the connection between what is written and the linked page should be clear. If people click on your link, and when they arrive at the destination they find it unrelated, they will leave the page quickly, showing Google that the link was not helpful.
Another caution is not to ask all links you receive to have the same anchor text. Even if they all come from business partners, having all the anchor texts saying something like ‘Company X – The Best in Service y’ may sound programmed for search engines.
Whenever you see a link to your underused site, request a natural change to anchor text.