7 Common mistakes to avoid for building a natural link profile

If you have been following SEO for some time, by now you would have a fair idea that quality links are everything. Okay okay, if not everything then certainly one of the most important things. All too often however, link building methods have raised quite many questions  by being associated with questionable SEO practices such as link buying or link spamming.

The key to success with any link building campaign is to create as natural a link profile as possible. In order to do this, there are things you should avoid and things that you should be doing… so let’s get started.

1. Using the same anchor text for all the links

A very common mistake that many people quite often make. I still see a lot of people using the same anchor text while building incoming links to their website. They simply ignore the fact that search engines are looking for natural links and it doesn’t look natural if all the links have the same anchor text. Always try to mix up the anchor texts in your links. You certainly can’t control the anchor text for all of your incoming links. But the ones you do, make sure to utilize it properly.

Using 3-4 different anchor text is a good practice to follow while building inbound links. Always target your most important keywords in those links.

2. Building too many links from the same domain

Links are counted as votes to a site being linked to. The same way in an election you can’t vote more than once, too many links coming from a single domain are not given much value. In many cases having even 100 links from the same domain can be counted as a single link by the search engines. But this highly depends upon the authority of the site and the link value of the site linking to you.

For example, 100 incoming links from CNN or NY Times or any other authority site in your niche will make a huge difference to your link profile. But you can’t expect the same to happen if the site giving  you hundreds of links is not an authority in its niche. It will still be counted as a single link by the search engines.

So don’t be too happy if you get a thousand links from a forum or a single site. Get your ass out there and start working on getting links from different domains.

3. Building only do-follow links

First of all there is nothing like a do-follow tag in HTML. There is a no-follow tag in HTML which instructs the search bot not to crawl that link. Adding no-follow tags prevents passing any link juice to the linked page. Do-follow is just a term coined for the absence of no-follow tag in a link. Which means that the link can pass juice. So don’t get confused with the terms. 

If you are really taking link building seriously you should also emphasize on making it look natural. Search engines look for natural link profiles. A natural link profile contains all kinds of links. Do-follow and no-follow links both. A link profile with only do-follow links looks dubious and is certainly going to raise a lot of eyebrows. So from next time whenever you have a chance of getting a link even if it is a no-follow, just grab it!

You don’t have to worry about the number here. Even not to worry if you are getting all the  do-follow links. If you are building the links naturally eventually you’ll have a good balance of do-follow and no-follow. What you have to remember is that a link is a link whether a do-follow or a no-follow.

4. Not mixing it up

A natural link profile would contain links from all kinds of sources. Like from websites, blogs, social media sites, etc. Do not concentrate only on getting links from one type of source. Mix it up!

Make profiles on popular social media sites. Start a social media campaign, work on getting links from other people’s profiles. Ask people to share your links on their profile. Write guest posts for other blogs. Contact established bloggers in your niche ask them for links. Submit articles and press releases. Read this post to learn tons of efficient ways of getting links from different sources.

Remember while asking people for links, they owe you nothing! So they won’t link back to you unless you really have something on your site that would be helpful for them or for their readers. So make sure you deserve to get links first before asking anyone to link to you. 

5. Using PageRank for link assessment

A very common misconception that many site owners have is that, a high PR link is the most ideal link to have. People are more inclined towards a page’s PR than the quality of a link from that page. Remember that PR is just an indication of the quality of a web page. It certainly doesn’t define it’s link value.

For an example, a page with PR value of 2 and only 10 outgoing links would be a far better choice to get a link from, than a link from a page with a PR 4 and 100 outgoing links.

The linking value of a page generally depends on four factors - 

1. The number of incoming links to that page.

2. The quality of the incoming links to that page.

3. The number of outgoing links from that page.

4. And MOST importantly the quality of the pages it links to.

After Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates, a page will either lose or lessen its linking value by linking to a low quality or a spam page. So if you are spending your time and energy on building links from other web pages make sure you assess their linking value based on the above four factors.

6. Targeting different niche

A lot of people think that no-matter what, a link is still a link. Well of course yes, it is. But spending a lot of time on getting a link from an online beauty a shop won’t do any good to your rankings if your website sells cars.

You need to concentrate on your own niche. Make sure you put all the efforts and time on links that will ultimately give you rankings and if not, targeted traffic!

So spend your time and effort on quality and authority sites within your niche.

7. Not linking deep 

A very common mistake that a lot of people do; is building links only for their homepage or any other important page. Your link profile can not look natural if you have hundreds of links for your homepage and 0 links for other inner pages. A healthy backlink profile can not be one-dimensional. You have got to link deep.

Every site has a bunch of important sub-pages. Your job is to identify the sub-pages that could be important for your target audience and the pages you wish to promote. After the identification of those pages, make a list of these pages according to their importance. After you have a list of pages that are most valuable for your site, now you can decide how time you have to give building links for each page.

Dedicate more time for the most important page in that list, a bit less for the next page and so on…

In a few months of time, you won’t only have lots of links for all your important pages but they will also start ranking separately for different search terms in the SERPs. Which will mean more organic search traffic and more chances of sales. Also it will increase your link authority as a whole.

CONCLUSION: As long as your link building campaign is natural you don’t have to worry about these things. But it’s good to keep them in your mind incase you are overstepping the line. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Akash Kumar is an aspiring blogger and writer based in India. He holds a great interest in SEO and blogging. He now blogs at iSEOforGoogle - a blog providing tips and techniques on SEO, Link building, Social media and other Internet marketing techniques. Follow him on Twitter @iSEOforGoogle to stay updated with his new posts and articles.

All you need to know about Link Building

A couple of years back a link building campaign consisting of forum posting, blog commenting, article marketing, link exchanges and buying a few links would have done the trick, but a lot has changed since then. Link exchange is dead, article directories have been hit by Google Panda, and buying links is more dangerous than ever before. So it leaves us wondering what one should do to build links? I have written this post to cover some of the ways which you can use to build quality links for your site. Most of the advice I will be giving throughout this post is most likely available from a large number of sources but I felt it would be great to bring everything together under one simple post.

Is your site good enough to get a link?
This is a question which I think everyone should ask themselves before trying anything on link building, because if your site is not worthy enough then why should someone link to you? Remember a useful site always gets a link, so if it is not then first make it one.

Link Placement
In recent times Google has started giving value to link placement, it has been observed that links within the content gets more value and links from sidebar and footer the least.

Nofollow & Dofollow
After many of the search engines started to ignore the links containing the no-follow attribute a lot people go out and source dofollow links, but in doing this they do more harm to their link profile. Every website should have a good balance of dofollow and nofollow links both so that your link profile appears to be natural.

Authority Links
I always believe most of the search engines place a great value on the links coming from established and authority sites. Links from sites that are considered as an authority within your niche are the ideal links to have.

Anchor Text and Internal Pages
The most common mistake that a lot of people commit while link building is that they focus most of their time in building links to their homepage and that too with the same acnhor text. Your link profile to look natural must contain links to internal pages with varying anchor text.

Directory Submissions
Directory submission is an important task in any link building campaign. These links make up the numbers when it comes to authority links. Submit to the right directories and they will improve your overall domain trust. A lot of people waste their time in submitting to thousands of free directories when hardly any of them matters much.

Blog Commenting and Forum Posting
Blog commenting and forum posting for links is seen as spam and has been devalued due to many people taking advantage of unprotected blogs and forums. If blog and forum commenting is part of your link building campaign then put some effort in it. Instead of spamming forums and Blogs with “Thanks”, “Nice Post” and other unrelated stuff provide something useful in your comments and posts so that you contribute something to them.

Blog commenting and forum posting should be viewed as more of a reputation building rather than link building. This type of link building is best for increasing the number of nofollow links to your website as most of the popular blogs and forums use a nofollow.

Guest Blogging
After the rise of a lot of Guest Blogging communities like My Blog Guest, it can be viewed as one of the most natural ways to get a link. The idea is to look for related blogs accepting guest posts and offer them your informative posts in return of a link from that post. A well written and informative blog post featured on a popular blog can get you loads of traffic and links.

Link Bait
Link bait is any content or feature, within a website, created specifically to gain attention or generate links to the website. Link bait could be anything from an article to an event or a special feature that can gain people’s attention. A Link Bait can be created either by writing about some topic that has been hardly written on within your niche or offering some useful stuff like free services or coupons to your users or even writing about something controversial.

Conclusion
Although link building is a tough task in itself but a properly planned link building campaign and tracking the progress will make the job easier with time.

Just remember link building is an ongoing process and every link building campaign is different from others.

How to start Link Building?

1. Directory Submission

Many people feel that links from directories don’t carry enough of weight these days as they used to a few years back. That’s true, but not with all of them. There are too many directories on the internet now and most of them are just a waste of time and money because they don’t maintain their quality. So you have to be very picky investing either your time or money in these directories.

There are thousands of free directories on the Internet but that doesn’t mean you need to submit to all of them, because most of them maintain a very low qaulity so its a complete waste of time even if they are free.

Even if a directory is a paid one that does not guarantee the quality because most of them are too busy making money that they would accept any site into their database.

You can submit your site to Dmoz, STPT, Yahoo and Business (very expensive, submit if you can afford!), UncoverTheNet, BOTW, JoeAnt, Gimpsy, GoGuides, Skaffe.

2. Blog Commenting and Forum Posting

Blog Commenting and Forum Posting used to be very useful in generating links sometime ago. The best thing about blog commenting and forum posting is that you provide your useful comments and information and you get a link in exchange from those sites. They were one of the most simple ways of generating links thats why they have been exploited so much by the spammers that they have lost their value.

“Links from Blog comments and Forum signautures don’t have value”, true fact! But that does not mean that they are useless, because every link counts but yes they are not the most ideal links you can have.

I always feel you need to interact with people within your niche via popular blogs and forums specially if you have just started your business, because that way you not only get to learn things but you also have an option of being known as an authority in your niche. If you share your views, knowledge and experience with others people will treat you as an authority.

So if your sole purpose of posting and commenting is to get links then yes they don’t add much of a value. But as I said esatablish yourself as an authority.

3. Article Marketing

Article marketing used to be one of the best ways to generate high quality one-way links. A properly writen and marketed article not only gives hundreds of backlinks but also tons of traffic. But there has been a lot of discussion over the importance of article marketing after the Google’s Panda update.

In article marketing whatever articles you are going to write and publish on the article hubs are going to be all over the internet. So when you write an article make sure you first add it to your site and let Google index it first so that Google would you are the original author of the article. After it gets indexed submit the article to popular article hubs with a link back to the original article.

A well written article can provide you loads of quality backlinks and tons of traffic.

4. Link Exchanges

Link exchanging is dead as many people think but it can be benificial it all depends on how you utilize always exchange a link to provide your visitors a resource instead of just getting a link. Be very specific about the niche you are exchanging links with exchange links with only related sites. Limit the exchange to only 20-30 links and make sure that the site you are exchaging the links also does that that.

Don’t link to just any one for the sake of a link. Make sure that these sites you are exchanging links with provide useful content and that they follow Google’s guidelines.

Remember every link counts so do they. So you will have to be very specific and picky while looking for potential link partners.

Link Exchange – Is it still worth it?

In the earlier days Link Exchanges were considered to be one of the easiest and effective way of link building. Site owners simply used to list the links of the related sites on their site and asked them to do the same. At that time even this type of links were awarded a high value by the search engines. But we have come a long way forward from those times and search engines have become a lot smarter and they are now looking for natural links.

So is link exchanging dead?

Well not really, if effectively done it still can be a good way to get some good quality links to your site. The idea should be to limit these link exchanges and as much relevant as it can be to your niche. Here are few tips for exchanging links.

1. Limit the link exchanges
Make sure that you limit the exchanges to a certain number like 20-30 for a site. Do not go on making a whole directory out of it. Also look to get links from sites who do the same.

2.Relevancy is very important
Do not exchange links with unrelated or spam sites as it can get you penalized. Search for your keywords in the search engines and request them to exchange links with you.

3.Quality of the sites you link to
The sites you link to affects your reputation, so make sure who you link to. Don’t just link to a site just for a back link the quality of the site you link to is equally important.

Conclusion – Link exchanges can still be a side weapon in your link building arsenal as far as you follow relevancy and quality. But mainly focus on other ways for link building like article marketing, directory submission, forum posting, blog commenting,  social networking are just a few examples.