This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. As someone who has been the victim of some awful linking (in an effort by competitors to disturb my rankings) I am very cautious to monitor links. But, when done right linkbuilding is a high priority in the SEO world and can be very rewarding. However, doing so incorrectly can be quite costly, both in time and money expended. Many mistakes are made by those wishing to link to other sites and the following are a few of the most common which should be avoided:
Avoid Sites That Are Irrelevant to Your Niche
This is one of the most common mistakes made by link builders. I suppose the thinking goes “more is better” and so links are placed helter skelter on as many sites as possible, even though they aren’t relevant to the home site. People who are looking for auto products, for instance, just aren’t going to be interested in a link to a fashion site. You can get lists of relevant sites to your particular niche by using the Backlink Builder.
Avoid Invaluable Links
Even though the site you’re linking to may be popular, if the links you are receiving don’t have good anchor text then they are not valuable. Keywords play an important role in all SEO marketing and back linking is no exception. Links should contain keywords which relate to your site and not worthless hype phrases. Refer to the Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer when you need to check out link quality.
Avoid Bad Links by Checking Them
A common practice by devious webmasters is to sell you backlinks to their sites and then don’t place them, place them but then remove them suddenly, or provide links which are listed as “nofollow”. You should check your links when received and then again periodically to make sure this hasn’t happened to you. I strongly advise against selling links-however many will do so anyway without the proper education or care.
Avoid Overly Crowded Sites
Popular, high traffic sites are highly desirable when linkbuilding. However, if your link is one out of a couple hundred links on the site, chances are extremely low that it will draw a worthwhile percentage of that site’s traffic. The exception to this rule is when you have an active link, but the majority of other links come up “nofollow”.
Avoid Sites with a Bad Reputation
Even more damaging than linking to an extremely popular site with a ton of links is hooking up with one which has a bad reputation. Doing so says to the search engines (mainly Google) that you support their bad behavior which can result in penalties being applied to your site as well. Staying away from such sites is the best advice for saving you a lot of grief.
Avoid Linking to Pages That Can’t Be Crawled
If you place good links (active and keyword anchored) on web pages which search engine spiders can’t crawl then they’re basically worthless. Sometimes, the other link sharing party will place your link on pages which don’t get indexed by the major search engines. Therefore, you need to make sure that the page you’re linked to is accessible to SE crawlers. A tool for assisting with this problem is the Search Engine Spider Simulator.
Linkbuilding can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your site and increasing sales. However, these common mistakes need to be avoided and solid practices and tactics utilized in order to get the best bang for the buck.