Many link building strategies that worked well throughout the 2000’s (and even early 2010’s) for SEO are no longer effective and in some cases, even frowned upon by search engines. To better develop your link building strategies, you must first understand these simple Do’s and Don’ts of best practice link building for your brand and clients in 2017.

Best Practices – Do

  1. Remember that Relevance Reigns Supreme If you run a website that sells widgets, it wouldn’t make much sense to build links to a website that sells farm equipment. The only links that will provide true value (versus inflated value) are those that are relevant to your brand, audience and products/services you sell.
  2. Create Quality Over Quantity Spammy links will only get you in trouble with search engines. The weight of one or two high quality links will get you so much further than 10-20 low-grade links. Make sure to audit backlinks to your website with tools like SEMRush, Moz, and Majestic. Don’t forget to disavow any unwanted or toxic backlinks in Google Search Console!
  3. Build Selective External Links Editorial links must be relevant and of high quality. A good rule of thumb is to be selective about where you publish content and who you allow to publish content and link on your site. Remember, all external links should open in a new tab!

Worst Practices – Don’t

  1. Purchase Links In addition to being in violation of Google Search Console’s Guidelines, chances are very good that links for sale are not high quality. While purchasing links may seem like a quick fix you’ll soon find that the drawbacks far outweigh the rewards. You may even find yourself being blacklisted by Google, and then any linking strategy won’t matter because you won’t show up in search results.
  2. Participate in a Link Exchange As a marketer, how many times have you found an email in your inbox that contains an unbelievable offer for a link exchange? If you ever see one of these emails, walk away very quickly. Not only may the site that wants to exchange with you have a bad reputation but you have to consider what other sites they’re linking to, and how that could negatively affect your business.
  3. Rely on Automated Link Building While your PageRank may see an immediate spike from deploying an automated link building strategy, the juice is not worth the squeeze. Meaning, in the end you’ll end up with spam content. Unfortunately in today’s era of SEO, there is no such thing as an automated link building provider or vendor that will deliver lasting results.

Google’s Word of Advice

A link building strategy that includes link schemes is in direct violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google provides specific examples of what is considering to be a link scheme including:

– Purchasing or selling links that pass PageRank
– Excessive link exchanges exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
– Large-scale article marketing or guest posts with keyword-rick anchor text links
– Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

View the most up-to-date 2017 Google linking guidelines here.

We live in a society focused on instant gratification. If you can remain patient and work hard to develop a quality link building strategy, the benefits will far exceed any instant luck you may have by taking the easy route. If you’re unsure where to start or need some questions answered, give us a call or reach out and we’ll be glad to help.