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Link Building Do’s And Dont’s

Get Your Link Building Wrong And Suffer The Wrath Of Google

Link Building – It has been a core part of performing SEO and getting web properties and videos to rank since the dawn of the internet. It is still extremely important, although now not the only ranking signal. If you get your link building right, the rewards can be tremendous (Top of Page 1). Get it wrong – and BAM – your site is penalized 😥

More than likely, link building will continue to influence your web property ranking for some time into the future, but diminish as new technology comes forth such as Google’s Rank Brain.

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Link building has changed dramatically in  the past few years. What worked 5 years ago can actually destroy your website rankings now. In fact you can get penalized by Google now so heavily that it can take months for your site to recover, and in some cases not recover at all in being able to return to the searches.

We have actually taken on clients who have used shady link building practices before in the past and were already penalized and found it easier and faster to get them ranked in the searches by just starting over with a new domain.

Jayson DeMers over at Search Engine Land actually just made a post yesterday about how Link building has changed and here is a snippet from it:

10 ways link building has changed over the last 10 years

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1. Penalties are harsher

Link schemes have always been bad, though they haven’t always been penalized. In recent years, however, Google has stepped up its effort to penalize sites with spammy backlink profiles.

If you engage in a link scheme, you’re more likely than ever before to face a manual penalty that will drop you from the SERPs. Recovery is always possible, but these types of schemes have the potential to set you back months, or even years.

2. Crappy links don’t work anymore

Just 10 years ago, a link was a link. You could easily get away with posting a non-contextual link pointing back to your domain as a forum post, spammy blog comment, article on an article directory, or even a free community blog.

Today, such tactics are no longer tolerated; site editors know that if they don’t keep their sites free of spammy links, Google will penalize them. And if Google catches what it considers to be spammy links, it will neutralize the link’s value, leaving you with practically no authoritative gains. If Google detects a pattern of spammy links, you’re likely in for a manual or algorithmic penalty.

3. Same-source links have greater diminishing returns

Links from different domains have always returned more value than additional links from the same domain; this is because links serve as third-party indicators of credibility, and links from the same domain offer a redundant vouch for authority.

However, this effect of “diminishing returns” has escalated over the past 10 years. Today, same-domain links probably still have some value, but they are also probably less valuable than ever.

4. Guest posts have become the gold standard of off-site link-building tactics

Guest posting, the process of writing an article and getting it published on an external publication, has come to be the “gold standard” of link building. Because the focus is on creating quality content to reach a new audience, it has far more value than just SEO value. There’s virtually no risk of penalty, and it’s not so complicated or intensive that the effort it takes outweighs the reward.

Guest posts were always a good strategy, but in my opinion, they are currently among the best strategies when it comes to off-site tactics.

To clarify, I’d argue that publishing quality content to your own website that attracts inbound links on its own merit is the absolutely best tactic for link building, but I don’t consider that an off-site tactic. It’s also impractical to build links this way in many industries (or without a pre-existing audience, which necessitates off-site tactics). Continue Reading Jayson’s Article Here…

We agree with everything that Jayson covers in his article, except item #6 that he covers later in the post, Press Releases. We still find that press releases do work well, when done correctly. Even if press releases eventually have no effect on our rankings in the future we will still continue to do them. Why? Because we are still getting more exposure for our Brand and can potentially send a customer to our site to get a sale. After all, isn’t getting more customers and clients what SEO is all about?

Link Building And Anchor Text

Lets dive a little deeper into the link itself that points back to your website. More specifically the anchor text that is pointing to your site. What do you make it? Your brand? A keyword for your services? A naked url (i.e. http://www.mdimsolutions)? Generic anchor text?

The short answer is – Yes. You should have a large diversity of words and phrases, your brand name and naked urls pointing back to your site. If you are a plumber in Los Angeles and you have an excessive amount of links pointing to your site that are “Los Angeles Plumber”, it’s unnatural and you WILL incur a penalty from Big G.

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You should have a nice mixture of different anchor texts pointing to the site. Lets use our site for an example. We want a good mixture of our brand – “MD Internet Marketing Solutions”, keywords like “seo services”, “search engine optimization”, “seo consultant services” etc.

Then also a naked url and variations, http://www.mdimsolutions.com ,www.mdimsolutions.com and just mdimsolutions.com. Then you also want a good mix of “click here”, “read more” or “visit our site” etc.

As far as the ratio – that’s kind of complicated. Using the Los Angeles Plumber for example, if you have only 10 links pointing to your site and 2 of them are “Los Angeles plumber”, a 20% ratio, this is a realistic possibility. However, if you have 1000 links pointing to your site and the same 20% ratio  – 200 links that are “Los Angeles Plumber”, not so realistic and you are treading on dangerous ground.

To be on the safe side you want the majority of your anchor text to be generic, then naked urls and your brand, and lastly, your keywords you want to rank for. With good on page optimization, Google will already know what your page is about and you won’t need to use a lot of exact match keywords for your services to rank.

Something that is becoming more prominent with searches now days is the use of long tail keywords. Back to our LA Plumber, a long tail keyword search for him (or her) would be “hot water heater replacement Los Angeles”.

Nick Stamoulis at Brick Marketing made a post about the importance of using Long Tail Keywords:

Why Long Tail Keywords are Important

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Here are some reasons why website owners should utilize long tail keywords in their SEO campaign:
There’s Less Competition

Broad keywords may have a high search volume but think about the number of sites that will rank for something extremely broad like “software”. If you operate a small B2B software company, you’ll never rank for something like that due to competition from large and well established companies that also sell products in your market. Instead, focus on your specialty. Maybe you sell accounting software for mid sized companies. “business accounting software” gets less search volume than “software” or even “accounting software” but there is much less competition for this long tail keyword.

Higher Conversion Rate

People that search using long tail keywords typically are looking for something very specific and have already spent the time doing research and narrowing down their search. Broad keywords don’t convert as well because searchers are still typically in research mode and might not even know what they want. If “business accounting software” brings someone to your page that describes your accounting software packages for businesses, that page is much more likely to convert.

Keeps Things Natural

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A big part of SEO today is creating and sharing content. It’s important to naturally incorporate keywords into content like blog posts in order for the post to appear within a search over time. If you continually use the same keywords over and over, that may raise a red flag and you could be considered a spammer. Using different long tail variations throughout content and as anchor text helps to keep things natural. Your content should be friendly and relaxed, and stuffing your pages with keywords is a definite no-no. In fact, Google frowns on things such as Keyword Stuffing and these practices could even lead to a penalty. Continue Reading Nick’s Post Here…

As you can see, link building can be a little difficult to manage. Probably the biggest point that we want to leave you with is that when you guest post or leave a link, use your service keyword sparingly. You need to remember that you will get natural links as your site grows, and you can’t control how other people link to you, so err on the safe side. Penalties suck!

We are going to leave you with a video with some more advanced link building techniqes, not only off site, but on site as well. But before you go, a shameless plug. If you are in need of local search engine optimization services for your website or videos, contact us to get your website to the top of the searches! Until next time 🙂