Thursday, August 23, 2012

Top 10 Costly Link Building Mistakes

Link building is one of the most important SEO activities but this certainly doesn't mean that you should build links at any price ? literally and figuratively. Link building can be very expensive in terms of time and money. There are many costly link building mistakes and here are some of the most common:

1 Check if backlinks have a “nofollow” attribute
Link exchanges are still one of the white hat ways to build backlinks but unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous webmasters, who will cheat you. One of the scams is when you pay somebody for a backlink, it suddenly disappears or has the “nofollow” attribute. That is why you should check from time to time if the link is still there and if it doesn't have the “nofollow” attribute.

2 Getting good quality links but with useless anchor texts
It is great when PR of the site you are getting links from is high but when the anchor text is “Click here!” or something like that, such a link is barely useful. Keywords in the anchor text are vital, so if the backlink doesn't have them, it isn't a valuable one. Analyzing the anchor texts of links takes time but the Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer tool can do the hard job for you.

3 Getting an image link (when a text link with keyword is possible)
Sometimes when web masters hurry to get backlinks, they skip minor details, such as anchor text. Yes, an image link is great and it could even bring you more visitors than a text link (if the image is attractive, of course and users click it) but for SEO purposes nothing beats a keyword in the anchor text.

4 Not using ALT text if image link is the only possibility
Image links might be the worse option than text links but if an image link is the only possibility to get a backlink, don't reject it. However, make sure that the ALT text of the image link has your keywords ? this is more than nothing.

5 Getting backlinks from irrelevant websites
Now, this mistake is really a popular one! When hunting for backlinks, you should concentrate on relevant sites only. If you have a dating site, getting links from a finance one is not valuable. It is true that it is not easy to find relevant sites to get links from but unless your site is in a very narrow niche, chances are that there are hundreds or even thousands of relevant sites you can get a backlink from. If you need a list of such sites for your niche, try the Backlink Builder and see what suggestions it can give you.

6 Getting backlinks from sites/pages with tons of links
A backlink is more valuable, if it comes from a page, which is not cluttered with tons of other backlinks. Many pages have 200, or more links and if your link is one of them, this isn't a great achievement. On the other hand, many directories put the “nofollow” attribute on nonpaid links, so actually even if there are 200 links on page and most of them are “nofollow” (but yours isn't), this still counts.

7 Links from pages spiders can't crawl
A link might look perfectly legitimate (i.e. keywords in the anchor text and no “nofollow” attribute) and still it might not be a link. This is especially an issue with link exchanges because you put a link to the other site but the other site doesn't do the same for you. Links Google can't index can be placed on dynamic pages or simply on pages, which are not indexed by Google because robots.txt bans it. That is why it doesn't hurt to check from time if the pages your links are placed on are accessible to spiders. The Search Engine Spider Simulator tool can help you do this in no time at all.

8 Explicitly selling links
There is hardly a web master who hasn't heard that paid links can hurt your rankings but still many web masters don't miss the chance to make a few bucks. If you really want to sell links, you'd better use the specialized link selling services, such as Backlinks.com because they are more discreet. However, have in mind that while some of the paid links networks try to hide the fact that the links are paid, the rest are not that discreet. Also, maybe the worst gaffe you can make is to include phrases in website like “Buy 5 PR links for $10”or any other hint that you are selling links. You can include “Advertise here!” or similar messages and still de facto sell paid links but this is not as explicit as listing your prices for links.

9 Linking to sites with poor reputation
Linking to sites with poor reputation, also known as “bad neighbors” is one of the worst mistakes you can make. When you link to such sites, for Google this means that you endorse them and this results in penalties for you. That is why you must absolutely always check the sites (and their reputation) first before you link to them. Even if you are offered a lot of money to link to a site with poor reputation, you'd better decline the offer because otherwise your rating with search engines will suffer and this will cause you a lot of problems.

10 Linking to good sites gone bad
Even if you check carefully the sites you link to, sometimes it happens that a site, which used to be more or less decent all of a sudden starts publishing porn ads or other objectionable content. That is why it doesn't hurt if you check not only that the outbound links you have are not broken but also where they lead to.

Links are very important and that is why you should pay attention to what links you are getting. It is not a waste of time to monitor what's going on with your links and in addition to the tools listed in the article, you can also try the Backlink Summary tool.

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