Article

Greg Snow-Wasserman
Greg Snow-Wasserman 20 October 2017

Link Building: Tactics to Avoid

There are loads of link building techniques which fall into white and black-hat SEO and everywhere in between. With Google Penguin, a spam-fighting algorithm that evaluates links in real time, it is more important than ever to make sure your link building is strictly by the book.

First, you need to know your backlink profile and make sure you steer clear of any dubious black-hat techniques so that your links are future proof. You should be aware of your old and current link building strategies so that you can identify any questionable or poor quality links.

Thankfully, this is easily done, with Google Search Console, which will show you all of the pages linking to your website and a simple scan gives you a good idea of which links are poor quality.

So, now that you understand your backlink profile it’s also a good idea to know about some black-hat techniques to avoid.

  • Article marketing - Involves creating a backlink heavy article, which is sent to hundreds of low quality websites. Delete any duplicate content on these content mill sites or add the linking sites to your disavow file.
  • Buying or selling links - Paid links are only OK with a nofollow tag, so they do not contribute to SEO.
  • Excessive link exchanges - Linking to multiple sites purely for a link back and SEO benefits.
  • Large-scale guest posting - Guest posting is totally legitimate, but not low quality, keyword-dense posts on low quality websites.
  • Advertorials and advertising banners - Includes sponsored posts that do not contain the no-follow tag and banners with embedded links.
  • Low-quality directories and bookmarks - Directories are very important, for local SEO especially, but you should only target high quality and relevant directories. Especially avoid directories pitching SEO gains or mentioning PageRank!
  • Keyword-rich links from widgets - Widgets are very helpful tools for your website and if you created the widget, then do credit yourself with a link. However, as Matt Cutts, former head of search spam at Google, recommends, you should add a no-follow tag to these links.
  • Blog/forum comments - The comments section is often targeted to subtly build links. Spammers post positive comments, with optimised links embedded in the comment.

You can do a quick SEO check to see the strength of your backlink profile to see if immediate action needs to be taken.

Google is doing everything they can to stop Black-hat link building and you can check if Google has manually penalised you by checking your Search Console Account (Search Traffic → Manual Actions).

Google’s main two defenses are Google Penguin and Google Panda. Penguin focuses on the manipulation of links on a page to attain a higher ranking and if it finds links being spammed it will automatically ignore them. Panda strives to help distinguish between low quality, content farm-esque sites and high quality sites, rewarding those sites that naturally build links and offer top quality content.

Should you avoid the techniques outlined in the article and only use high quality, relevant links and strategies then you shouldn’t run into trouble with Google, while still seeing SEO gains.

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