Building quality links is only one part of a successful SEO campaign. While it may have been viable in the past, Google’s ever-increasing measures to prevent suspicious and spammy links from ranking have made SEO a much harder game to play. In other words, any link building campaign without a sound strategy is bound to crash and burn. If this sounds familiar to you, then this article is for you. I’m going to discuss how you can improve your backlink quality as well as your overall campaign.
Why Isn’t Our Link Building Working?
Before I get started, it’s important to point out that link building is an ongoing process. This isn’t something that you can do once and be done with it. In fact, it’s probably something that you’re going to be doing for the long haul – as SEO is a zero-sum game.
That said, it’s essential to make sure that you’re going about this process the right way. You need to build links that will benefit your website, not harm it. Here are some telltale signs that your link building strategy needs refining.
1. You Haven’t Determined Your Goals
When you’re doing any kind of SEO campaign, you need to know why you’re doing it. Have you been tasked with improving the site’s ranking for a particular keyword, and if so, what are your goals for that?
Do you need to increase the site’s traffic to attract quality buyers? Do you need to improve the conversion rate on the page so that more people buy from you? Maybe you just want a higher page rank for clout purposes so that you can have one up on your competitors? You can’t accomplish any of these goals without knowing what they are in the first place.
Your campaign is not going to be effective if you are simply purchasing random links from those guys on Fiverr. You need to be strategic and determine what you want to accomplish with this campaign so that you can decide how to go about doing it.
Once you’ve done that, you can start thinking about what kinds of people you want to reach out to, and the links you want to build, plus how long it will take to do it.
2. Your Links Are from Irrelevant Websites
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Links from sites that are relevant to your niche are going to be incredibly beneficial to your website. They’re going to be valuable to its page rank, and that’s exactly why you should be chasing them.
On the other hand, links from irrelevant websites are going to be harmful to your site. The reason is that Google is smart enough to know what is relevant and what isn’t. They compare your links to your competition and the words that were used when linking back to your website.
If you’re building links from irrelevant sites, you’re wasting your time and your money. You need to be building links from relevant sites, and if you aren’t, then you need to stop wasting your energy doing so. You could find yourself penalised by a major Google update.
3. You’re Not Paying Attention to What Google Wants
You can’t hope to succeed in ranking your website on the first page of Google if you aren’t paying attention to what Google wants. If you don’t abide by the guidelines they’ve set out, and you aren’t considering how your links will be viewed by their algorithm, you are already failing before you’ve begun.
Google has made it very clear that they prefer natural over unnatural links. They want to reward websites that have had good content and a good reputation for a long time.
If you link to a website that is an article, not just a site with some content, then your link will be stronger because it has more weight in Google’s eyes (depending on the article’s popularity).
If you’re trying to game the system and use some sort of black-hat trick to get Google to like you, then you’re going to get punished for it. Unfortunately, penalties like this aren’t restricted to the website that you’ve penalised but the websites that you’re linking to as well. So, instead of trying to avoid getting caught, you should try to learn from those who have been caught before you.
4. You Don’t Check for Red Flags
You can’t just throw any old link out there and call it a day. In fact, you need to be very careful about the links that you’re pointing back to.
Many people think about links and linking like it is a “build it and they will come” type of thing, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you want to rank higher on Google, you need to know how to link correctly. There are many different types of links, and each one has a different purpose depending on what you’re trying to achieve for your site.
First of all, you need to make sure that you’re not violating any of Google’s guidelines. There are links out there that are just too risky to build. Even if they are great links, it’s not worth the risk of a penalty, and you should avoid them.
You also need to be careful about the links that you’re using. If you’re using broken links, for example, then you need to remove those before you even think about building your backlink profile.
This is a pretty easy task. You can use the search function of your favourite SEO tool to find broken links and then simply remove them from your website.
5. You’re Not Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Links
Link building is an essential part of SEO. If you’re just going to throw up a link and hope that it works, you might as well not bother. There are plenty of other, smarter strategies that can get your site the rankings and traffic it deserves.
You need to know if your links are actually helping your website, and you need to have a way to measure that. If you’re just building links without a plan, you won’t have any way to know if you’re doing any good. One way to do this is to start using an SEO tool.
This should be especially true when you’re creating new links. Unless you can measure the effectiveness of your new link, you won’t know if you’re doing any good.
6. You’re Ignoring the Technical Aspects of Building Links
A lot of people think that if they have a great piece of content, they can just throw some links at the end of the article, and it will become “natural”. Even if you have created a great piece of content, that doesn’t mean that you can start blasting spammy links.
My advice is to add interlinks and external contextual links as you’re writing content so that it’s natural. For example, I’m going to add one right now here because I think you should invest in a backlink checking tool.
These tools will help you identify whether a given link is spam. You can also use it to identify your anchor text and see how it’s being used. All of this information will help you to adjust your strategy so that you can make better decisions.
7. You’re Ignoring the User Experience
As webmasters, we’re all still trying to figure out what Google wants from us. They’re constantly tweaking their algorithm, and as a result, the rules for link building and SEO are constantly changing.
The one thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that Google is still striving for providing its users with the most optimal experience. The best way to do this is by giving them the exact information that they need when they need it. If someone searches for “baseball bats,” then they need to be given links that will take them to a page that has information on baseball bats, along with information on how to buy them and which one is the best.
They don’t need to be bombarded with unrelated links to irrelevant sites. They just want the information that they were looking for so that they can get on with their lives.
It’s not easy to do everything right in your link building campaign. It takes a ton of time and effort, and it’s easy to get caught up in the details. If you can manage to avoid these common mistakes, though, you’ll be on the right track to building valuable backlinks for your site.
Building and growing a business may be hard, but it can be a lot easier if you have help from a professional you can rely on. Whether you need web design, copywriting, SEO, or link building services, reach out and I’ll see what I can do to help.