Google really likes links: this is now common knowledge. Therefore, developing a Link Building strategy is useful to increase your visibility on the search engine. Link Acquisition can lead to various positive results benefitting the entire web address, even if these are more evident on the pages upon which the activity is focused.
However, if you make mistakes such as those explained in the following paragraphs, there may be serious consequences: the loss of the resources and the time invested, in addition to penalties inflicted by Google.
Link Building: don’t skip one of the stages
In order to do Link Acquisition, you have to put into place three phases of the activity: a strategic phase, an operational phase and a monitoring phase.
The strategic phase involves:
- context analysis;
- screening of the link profiles of SEO competitors (who compete on keywords upon which you would like to be positioned) and direct competitors (who therefore offer a product/ service equal or similar to your own), in search of best practices to be replicated;
- identification of plausible goals, according to your budget and which won’t make you incur into penalties;
- definition of keyword clusters to be monitored; each cluster has a corresponding target pages/pages, and the keywords for which the relevant target pages are positioned.
The operational phase includes:
- selection of suitable sites both in terms of authority (determined by the amount of backlinks and the quality of the sources from which they come) and for the type of content they feature, which must be in line with your brand; vertical sites on topics that are relevant for your brand are preferable, as opposed to generalistic sites;
- production of quality content, which can be interesting and useful for users: proposing duplicate, uninteresting, badly written and formatted content can only push Google Panda to downgrade that content on search results.
The monitoring phase consists in detecting the estimated traffic for the different clusters over time.
This traffic is calculated on the basis of the Click Through Rate, the search volume and on the positioning of the keywords belonging to the clusters over the months during which the Link Building campaign takes place. The increase or decrease in monthly visits must be directly linked to changes in positioning, not to the search volume, so that the result is directly attributable to the link building activity.
Don’t choose spam sites
Posting content that hosts your links on sites created for the sole purpose of monetizing through the sale of guest posts could be counterproductive, as their bad reputation would risk prompting Google to initiate penalties.
Don’t publish on PBN (Private Blog Network) link containers
PNBs are a network of sites/blogs controlled and managed by a single owner who created them in order to link resources. In fact, they often lack sections such as: About us, Contacts, Privacy. Choosing this type of site can undermine your visibility on the search engine.
Don’t use low quality links
This happens when the tool metrics are not properly used to evaluate the authority, the traffic, or the presence of spam links on your site and on that which will host your links.
Don’t create only dofollow links
One of the biggest mistakes is using only one type of backlink, such as dofollow links or nofollow links. Building a single type of backlink is a bad SEO practice and Google might start penalizing the site in question for that reason. It is true that nofollow links do not affect search engine results because they tell Google not to follow them, but they still give a big boost in terms of SEO; considering that any backlink is proof that someone evaluates a certain content as relevant, it is clear that this will automatically acquire value, which can result in more traffic.
Don’t link pages that aren’t optimized
It is important to perform on-page SEO activities alongside the ones related to off-page SEO: “pushing” forward a page which hasn’t been properly structured or which doesn’t feature the keyword used as an anchor text is totally counterproductive and might impede the achievement of the goals set for your link building activity.
Don’t superficially evaluate the choice of anchors
Using exact anchors is the fastest way to scale SERPs, but it may cause Google to become suspicious. Try to balance the use of both generic anchors (Brand, URL, Distraction) and specific anchors (Exact Match, Phrase).
Don’t generate poor content
Between promotional content and informative content, the latter is preferable so that the content is native and won’t cause penalties. You can evaluate the creation of promotional content in case this will then be published in authoritative newspapers which can guarantee visibility to the brand. Google is able to assess the context in which a link has been placed. Consequently, the following expedients must be taken into consideration:
- produce original text, since links inserted into duplicated content will be weighed “less”;
- place the anchor text at the top of the article, so that Google spider can detect it naturally;
- go deeper in the choice of keywords, so the article can position itself for those of interest, giving your website address more recognition and authoritativeness on search engines.