The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Link Building

Sep 23, 2014

Inbound links are one of the most effective means of increasing a website’s ranking in the search engine results. Links provide an all-important third-party endorsement of a website’s authority and trustworthiness, and since no one has been able to come up with a viable alternative, backlinks will probably continue to be a vital part of the SEO process for the foreseeable future.

As soon as the digital community discovered the power of inbound links, the search engine pages began to be deluged with thousands of spammy sites offering visitors little to no value that nonetheless enjoyed high rankings due to the hundreds of low-quality links pointing to them.

In response, Google and the other search engines began to redefine the link building process, and the world of SEO hasn’t been the same since.

The Do's and Don'ts of Effective Link Building

Link Building Practices that You Want to Avoid
The message is clear: you need backlinks in order to rank your website, and to acquire those backlinks you need to steer clear of any black-hat or discredited SEO practices that will get your site penalized or even de-listed.

Avoid submitting content to any site without a strict editorial approval process; this includes the majority of directory and article sites, which have a tendency to publish just about anything. The easier it is to acquire a link, the greater the likelihood that the site in question is of such low quality and authority that you risk getting penalized.

  • Blog commenting was once a great way to acquire links; these days, most blog comments are nofollow, and even the few blogs that continue to allow dofollow links are going to be discounted by Google. In short, restrict your blog comments to those situations where you can add genuine value to the conversation, and forget about blog commenting as a viable means of acquiring links.
  • Guest blog posting remains a great way to drive traffic and build your brand. Just stick with authority, high-value blogs and make sure that your content is relevant to the blog’s theme or niche.

Never buy links with the goal of improving your site’s search ranking. It’s perfectly okay to buy links if you’re seeking to drive traffic to your page or to build brand awareness; in that case, be sure to nofollow those links to avoid penalties.

Tips for Building Effective Penalty-Proof Links
An effective keyword strategy is the starting point for any link building effort. Each of your webpages should be built around a keyword topic; remember, you’re looking for links to a specific page rather than to your website home page.

You need to have some solid posts on your own blog before you can expect to attract links from third-party sites. Make sure that you are using proper alt tags as well as a unique title and description for each of your posts.

Creating quality content is one of the best ways to attract the type of authoritative links that can actually help your site. Quality content is defined as being well researched and written, informative and helpful to the reader, unique in terms of new information or in your presentation of existing information, and relevant to the topic or niche.

A little research into the backlink profile of your competitors will uncover some linking possibilities that have been overlooked. Focus on the highest authority links that you find, and make a personalized outreach to them with high-quality articles.