Link Building Mistakes

Avoid these common link building mistakes and start to build links to your website that actually help your search engine rankings rather than harm them!

Building links to a website is very important. This is still one of the main ways that Google and other search engines rank websites. In the past it used to be a case of getting as many links as possible from any source possible. There was no such thing as a bad link. This is not the case anymore; bad links can seriously hurt your website. Here are some common link building techniques that we can safely say you should now avoid at all costs!

Links From Websites That Sell Links

Any website that sells links if it has not already been penalised by Google, well it soon will. Google has strict policies on buying and selling links; the short version is don’t buy them and don’t sell them. There is no point gaining links from websites that openly sell links, even if yours is an earned link. The link will carry very little weight and could actually in fact hurt your website. Any link from a ‘bad neighbourhood’ is undesirable.

Choose Wisely

Look beyond the metrics of a website provided by tools such as SEOMOZ’s Domain Authority, Page Authority or even Google’s own PageRank. Though these metrics are good indicators of the value of a websites authority they can be manipulated and also do not paint the whole picture.

Consider websites that are well maintained, are not full of junk comment spam and multiple 404’s. The website should host recent content that above all is high quality. Would you be happy to post the content they have on your own website? You should be!

Just because a website has a high Domain Authority and PageRank does not mean it is a good link acquisition. Choose where you go after links carefully and avoid penalties in the future.

Exact Anchor Text Links

Once upon a time a long time a ago, well not that long ago at all really, webmasters and SEO’s chased exact match anchor text as the holy grail of all links. Well although anchor text links do still positively enhance your link profile please listen to me when I say do not go over the top! There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing and having fifty percent of all your links as exact match anchor text is not natural. Now I would advise that you have a diverse anchor text profile to include various different exact and also partial anchor text links for a wide variety of your keywords. I would also suggest that you have a larger proportion of your links using your business name and even your raw url e.g

Believe me when I say that going overboard with anchor text links will land you in hot water. Build a natural links and don’t try and manipulate your link profile and you will be fine.

Link Building Mistakes

Low Quality Directory Links

Now in the past when building links for quantity rather than quality was the vogue one of the easiest ways to build a large link profile was by using directory listings. Now don’t get me wrong this is still a legitimate link building tactic, but only when done correctly. Gone are the days of building as many links as possible as quickly as possible. Relevance is key, by all means still include directory links in your profile but only choose relevant, human edited directories. Avoid directories that have spammy anchor text site wide links to ‘Cheap Viagra’ sites or ‘Payday Loans’. These types of links are a big hint that the directory is probably not the best choice to include in your link profile!

Article Marketing

Another old chestnut that is probably no longer a good idea is using article directories such as Article Base or Ezine Articles which were favourites to publish a couple of dozen articles on using the keyword anchor text of your choice. Now this tactic definitely used to work but since Google Panda and Penguin updates this low quality link building tactic is a thing of the past. Don’t waste your time on this.


Building links from unrelated websites can lead to you finding yourself in hot water with the search engines. Now a natural link profile will probably have a few links from unrelated websites. This is not a problem. However building links from unrelated websites can lead to your website being penalised. Far better to spend your time building links from related website. Remember relevance is key!

Think about it, if your website is all about cats and cat breeding you would expect links from websites about cats, pets, animal health, pet food etc. to carry a lot more weight than links from websites on subjects such as football, hand gliding, fishing or finance. A link (vote) from a related website is always going to be preferable from a related website than a non-related website. If you have a lot of links from unrelated websites it looks unnatural and manipulative.

Reciprocal Linking

Reciprocal linking used to be huge. I still get many reciprocal link exchange requests daily, they go straight into my spam folder. This type of linking is a waste of time. There is no point gaining a link from a partner’s links page and being one of many links on that page. In return you link back to them from your links or resources page, again your links page has a huge list of links to your other ‘link exchange partners’.

Ask yourself does this look spammy, does it look as if you are trying to manipulate the search engine rankings. Link exchanges do not work and can actually harm your rankings, don’t do it!

Spammy Blog Commenting

Spammy blog commenting is another of the worst ever ways to gain huge amounts of links that actually carry no weight at all. Now this tactic undoubtedly used to work, when quantity of links rather than the quality of the links was the be all and end all then yes leaving comments such as ‘neat post’ and adding an exact match anchor text in the comment or as your signature was great.

Automated software trawling for comments and submission forms to drop hundreds of exact match anchor text links in to a variety of totally unrelated blogs may seem like an easy way to build links. Please take my advice when I tell you that this does not work anymore. This is another tactic that can actually harm you now.

Summing Up Link Building To Avoid

Probably the easiest way of deciding if a link building tactic is viewed as a good tactic is how easy was it? If you can build links using any easy or automated method that is scalable then chances are it is not a good method.

If real work has gone into gaining the link such as making some fantastic content, building and utilising a social networking presence, writing a fantastic guest post for a blog in your niche or anything else that earned you a link or links from a quality website then you are doing it right.

Easily earned links are generally low value. Links that were hard to obtain are generally higher quality. Remember this and you will not go far wrong.

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