Many SEOs have developed different strategies and studied existing method to increase a website online presence. Some of these strategies have worked really well and a lot of websites gained more online presence and domain authority. However, some did not due to violations that were noticed by search engines’ algorithm. Yes, some strategies that you believe helpful to your website can be a cause of penalization which could be a worst result of not paying attention to search engines’ rules and guidelines.
Before you start building links to your website, you must first analyze your link building strategies if it will violate any rules that can be harmful to your website. But before you perform the evaluation of your strategy, you must first understand how Google algorithm works and how they can potentially affect your techniques so you can figure out how your website can avoid being flagged as violators of their guidelines. So it is necessary that you dig deep into your link building strategies.
Guest Blogging – Posting or contributing an informative content on other website is quite an exciting strategy to build links. We are interested to know how the readers of our content would respond and behave; how many times our post will be shared on different social media platforms and how many comments will it receive from our readers. This is also a good start up of building online reputation, exposure and online credibility which is extremely necessary if we would like to gain more trusts from the people in our network. So we must make sure that the content we are going to publish on other website is definitely clear and informative. In order to do it, we should mainly focus on two important factors writing good quality content that our readers will like.
1. Content Analysis – Analyzing your content is the key to success on your guest blogging strategy. Your content must be detail oriented and concise but will provide enough information about the topic that we are writing about. But keep in mind that there are three important things that we must avoid doing when writing a content and this includes:
Avoid keyword stuffing – Content with keyword focused strategy is not an effective source of information and not competitive enough to stand out in the crowd. Also, it is also one of the forbidden practices in SEO.
Avoid Reiterate Thoughts – Providing useful content is necessary and if you repeat your thoughts over and over, your readers can be annoyed and this could bring down your online reputation and could lose their trust eventually.
Avoid Exact match anchor txt – When using your keywords to link other pages or your website as a source of your information, do not exactly use the keywords that you are targeting to rank your website for. Instead, use the words related to the page that you are going to link. Also, keep in mind that exact match anchor txt and domain has been hit by EMD algorithm update.
2. Linking Analysis – Identifying the most appropriate pages to link to your content as additional information to your guest post is another key to success in blogging especially if you mentioned something in your content that could become controversial or divisive. So if you are mainly building backlinks to your website analyze your linking page first and make sure it is relevant and will contribute something to your guest post.
There are three important factors that you should consider paying attention to ensure that your linking pages will also benefit from your guest blog post and not only your online reputation:
Link only related pages – As I have just mentioned above that linking only the related and helpful pages is necessary and linking unnecessary pages will not add any value to your content.
Limit your links – Having too much links to your content can drive away the focus and attention of your readers so it is only necessary to limit your links as much as possible.
Avoid Promoting links – When linking a page to your content, it is vitally important that you should sound natural and normal to your readers. Avoid encouraging your readers to click on your links by using phrases of ‘’please click here for more details, for more information please click here and if you want to find more, click here’’.
Blog Commenting – One of the fastest ways of building links is commenting on blog posts but it is necessary that you share and contribute something interesting to the thread conversation. The value of building links through blog commenting is not higher than the value of links you have gotten through guest posting but it is still useful somehow. However, not all comments are always accepted because most blog owners are very picky and they don’t usually accept comments for the sake of building links. In order to success in blog commenting, try participating in the niche where you are comfortable with to ensure that you will not just make up comments that will look like a spam. To do this, follow the following steps.
1. Target only relevant websites – Focusing within your niche is the most important actually. Search engines give a huge factor on linking relevancy and it also has an impact to the linking page. So if you practice commenting on irrelevant blogs or blogs posts that are extremely different on your niche, your website may suffer from penalties.
2. Post only related comments – This happens all the time but seriously, when you are dropping a comment on a specific blog post, you must share something valuable that will add up to the information given on the post. Don’t attempt to promote your own business, product or website to the other readers.
3. Interact and don’t ‘’drop and forget’’ links – One of the common practice of blog commenting is ‘’drop and forget’’ approach. It is imperative that we also communicate and interact with the other people who commented on the post particularly the author of the post. Exchanging ideas and knowledge to other people can also build a strong online presence and respect within your community.
Social Bookmarking – One of the easiest ways to build backlinks is through social bookmarking. It drives traffic to a website, increases social visitors and rapidly increases your website indexing performance. But after the algorithm updates of Google, does it make still make sense to use social bookmarking? Is it still even effective? For me, Yes. But not all social bookmarking websites can be very useful and benefit your website since Google has penalized almost all social bookmarking sites.
1. Disregard the Pligg sites – Pligg sites are digg clones, these websites are almost all identical to others and it is simple to distinguish which are pligg sites and which are not. Unfortunately, these pligg sites have been abused by many SEOs to manipulate their links and to build more backlinks and link popularity. Also, pligg sites are also low quality websites so there will be no good results building links from pligg sites.
2. Avoid websites with Adult category – We all know that websites with adult content or category would potentially hurt our website and normally, if we are practicing ethical link building approach and if we are following the guidelines of search engines, we would not attempt to submit our website to bookmarking websites with adult category.
3. Avoid penalized websites – Linking to penalized websites is absolutely a waste of time and this could potentially hurt your website rankings. Since penalized sites are treated as bad neighbour by search engines, there are no valuable benefits building links from them.
Article Directories – Article submission was once effective and a lot of traffic and quality links can get from it but when few SEO started to abuse the benefits of article marketing by using low quality articles and duplicate content, Google rolled out an algorithm (Google Panda Algorithm) to devalue the links coming from article websites fight against spammers.
Major article websites that were hit by Panda:
5. EzineMark.com and more
Basically, article marketing is no longer recommended and advisable in SEO industry due to irrecoverable effect of algorithm update and it could just waste your valuable time spending on writing and publishing your article on devalued websites by Google algorithm.
Web Directory Submission – Directory submission (DIR) was once popular to build permanent links. It was also the easiest way to find a list of websites by industry as they are really organized. However, it takes a couple of months before a particular URL gets approved as it undergoes for manual review. It was also used for manipulating links and anchor text which was caused of another Google algorithm update (Penguin). Websites with over optimized of anchor texts, low quality websites like web directory was really affected. But there are still high quality web directory that can be used such as Dmoz and Yahoo directory.
Paid links – One of the taboos in SEO industry is buying links in a form of money, gifts, and even link exchange to manipulate their website rankings. It has been forbidden by Google since the beginning but there are still people practicing this method even though they know and probably aware of the possible penalties their website may suffer from. Google does not entirely ban a website from search engine but it will not rank well on its targeted keywords.
There is nothing wrong with building backlinks for a website to increase its link popularity and online presence. However, there are some rules that we should keep in mind to follow and keep in practice to make sure that the efforts and time we will spend on our strategies to avoid being hit, affected or penalized by Google and their algorithm. Also, it is much better that we gain our links rather than built or gotten as this will give more value to our website.
Joseph Gojo Cruz is the author of RankingElite, a Philippine-based Online Marketing blog. Joseph has been working in SEO industry for over 3 years from website audit, link and content development, social media and search engine optimization. Connect with Joseph on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Joseph is also a contributor on SEJ and Ahrefs.