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3 Common Link Building Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Many webmasters have realized that a big part of SEO is getting links to their site. Armed with this knowledge, they make an effort to build links to increase their traffic from the search engines. However, their link building efforts are often ineffective because they make common mistakes. Here are three of those mistakes.

1. Quantity over quality

If one link is great, then five links is better, right? Not so fast. Search engines place a lot of emphasis on the quality of the links. A link from a popular site is much better than 20 links from low quality, spammy sites. In fact, no amount of low quality links can be as effective as a link from an authority site in your niche.

You could even get penalized for having too many low quality links. Don’t take the easy way out. Go after quality links and ignore low quality sites in your link building efforts. Think of it this way: the harder it is to get a link, the more effective that link will be. Do the hard work (networking, creating great content, guest posting, etc.) to get those links from quality sites.

2. Not using relevant anchor text

If you have a chance to choose the anchor text, use keywords instead of your site name. For example, instead of this link devlounge.net, use this one web design info.

Now, if someone links to you without them asking, don’t ask them to change their anchor text. That’s annoying and bad practice. They already linked to you. No need to bug them. But if you submit an article to an article directory or write a guest post, you’ll usually have control of your anchor text.

Many people will link using the titles of your pages, so try to add keywords in your titles.

Also, don’t use the same anchor text for each link. If you vary your anchor text, you’ll rank for more keywords.

Update: My friend, Ryan, left this useful comment.

I would like to just throw in the idea that with Google’s recent shift towards Brand emphasis, it can actually be a good thing to get lots of links with A) your site name and B) your site domain as the anchor text. Obviously its also good to mix things up and get varied anchor text, but I think that if there is too high a concentration of varied anchor text it looks unnatural.

I think Ryan has a great point. It’s a good idea to repeat anchor text if your anchor text is your site name or your site domain. Many people naturally link this way anyways. Plus, you’ll get more mentions on the web for your name and domain, which will make your site look more like a well known brand.

For more info about Google’s brand emphasis, check out this article.

3. Only linking to the home page

If you just link to the home page, then your home page will have a chance at good rankings. But what about the other pages on your site?

Each page including the home page can only target a few keywords effectively. You need links to the other pages to rank for a lot of keywords.

Also, I like getting links to the other pages since they are usually better pages for your visitors to land on. The other pages have more specific information than the home page and that information can make a great first impression to your visitors.

Finally, it can be easier to get a link to the other pages. For example, you could create a really great piece of content, give it its own page, and then email other webmasters and ask them to link to it if they like it. This could be hard to do for the home page.

Over to You

These mistakes are not the only ones. What link building mistakes have you seen?


  1. By Julia - Fast Blog Finder posted on March 25, 2009 at 10:27 am
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    Thank you for the article. I’ve been doing some SEO for my company’s website and I agree with you.

    It’s better to get a couple of links from good quality websites than a hundred of links from bad sites.

    The anchor text should contain the best keywords and should differ from link to link to make them look natural.

    As to deep links, they are important too. But not all link building methods are good to build deep links. For example, directories accept only links to the main domain.

  2. By Five Minute Argument posted on March 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm
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    “Also, don’t use the same anchor text for each link. If you vary your anchor text, you’ll rank for more keywords.”

    While this might be excellent SEO advice, it sits a little uneasily with me regarding usability. The general advice I follow is to be consistent, and abide by the user’s expectations. I certainly think that, if I were reading an article that included several links, all pointing to the same page, but all ‘disguised’ with alternate wording, I’d be quite frustrated.

    Appropriate use of both the title attribute and visited link styling can certainly help to mitigate this, but I don’t think it’s as good as simply being clear and consistent in the first place.

  3. By Hemang Doshi posted on March 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm
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    Good information about links building but i think links should be from low as well as high quality page – econcept infotech

  4. By Tony @ sports betting picks posted on March 28, 2009 at 11:58 pm
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    Thanks for the SEO tips. It was good advice about linking for others pages on my site.

    Thanks
    Tony

  5. By Ryan posted on March 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm
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    Dee, good article. However, I would like to just throw in the idea that with Google’s recent shift towards Brand emphasis, it can actually be a good thing to get lots of links with A) your site name and B) your site domain as the anchor text. Obviously its also good to mix things up and get varied anchor text, but I think that if there is too high a concentration of varied anchor text it looks unnatural.

  6. By Justin Brooke posted on March 30, 2009 at 7:41 am
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    It is a common understanding that the more backlinks you get, the higher the chance of the site to get a higher page ranking. This is no longer the case since quality matters.

  7. By Dee Barizo posted on March 31, 2009 at 1:47 pm
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    @Five Minute Argument

    Good point.

    I just try to get one link from a page, so I wasn’t considering multiple links. But thanks for bringing it up to make things clearer. For multiple links to the same page from one page, your advice makes sense.

    Plus, there’s been studies (I think on SEOmoz.org) that the first anchor text on a page is the only one that Google so there’s no real point to varying anchor text to multiple links from one page pointing to the same page.

    @Ryan

    Thanks for bringing this up. I added it on the blog post since it’s such an important shift in Google’s algo.

  8. By JTPratt's Blogging Mistakes posted on April 13, 2009 at 3:44 am
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    I think one of the biggest mistakes in link building is not varying your link building techniques. Some people blog comment too much, submit to too many directories, link too much internally, forum post too much…a good link building strategy means that your building links constantly as many ways as possible…

  9. By Dee Barizo posted on April 14, 2009 at 11:06 am
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    Good point, JTPratt.

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