4 Link Building Traps You Need to Avoid

venus fly trapLinks are still very important in SEO.  They are bacon to on-page optimization’s eggs.  The jelly to optimization’s peanut butter.  If you want to rank well for popular, competitive keywords, you have to have links.  With all the demand for links, some bad characters have sprung up with amazing promises, but which can steal your money or lead you into the dark ally of Google penalties.  So, what are these bad characters?

 

Here are 4 Link Building Traps to Avoid

1. Companies offering thousands of links virtually overnight.
Like the latest fad diet pill saying you’ll lose 20 lbs in 1 week for only $19.95, these companies offer you thousands of links and high rankings for a couple hundred dollars or less.  And, just like the diet pill where you are probably getting saw dust in a capsule or worse, something that could really harm you, these companies generate thousands of low quality, spammy links that, at best, do nothing for you and, at worst, put you Google’s cross hairs.  If it sounds too good to be true, it is.  Real links take time and effort.  There’s no quick, cheap, silver bullet.

2. Buying links.
Why put the time and effort into building good, natural links when you can just pay a bunch of people to put links on their websites?  After all, these can be on quality sites.  Well, for starters, you’ll have to keep paying them month after month to keep the links and, more importantly, you’ll probably get a Google penalty.  Google has gotten pretty good at identifying paid links.  You may get away with it for a while, but when Google does catch you, you’ll lose everything and be worse off than when you started.

3. Links that are supposed to “look natural”.
As Google makes more and more of the old link building methods against their guidelines (manipulative reciprocal links, excessive directory links, spammy forum profile links, spammy blog commenting, syndicated article links,  followed guest blogging links, etc).  Creative, if not slightly unethical, people keep coming up with ways to create links to manipulate search rankings, but which supposedly “look natural”.

The most recent way this is being done is private blog networks, where companies setup thousands of blogs and let people pay them to post articles with links on the blogs.  They go through all kinds of creative ways to trick Google into thinking that these are just normal, unconnected blogs with “natural” links on them.  The thing is Google is very good at detecting patterns and all these pseudo-natural links leave a pattern.  This is made evident by the dozen or so private blog networks Google has penalized in the past several months.

As Matt Cutts from Google would tell you, links aren’t supposed to look natural, they are supposed to be natural.

4. Just trying to build links.
Since we all want links, it’s easy to get into the mindset that you are just trying to get links.  However, if you don’t have something worth while to link to, you’ll never get good natural links.  Sorry, no one wants to link to your product description or you list of affiliate links.

The first thing you need to do is have something worth while that people would want to link to.  It might be a funny video, a great article, or even just being a great website at whatever you do.  Whatever you have or create, you need to have something people would want to link to first.  Once you have that link-worthy thing, then you can build links by getting it in front of people, contacting people about linking to it, etc.

So, what do you do?
Be great or make great content and put it out there for people.  Identify quality websites that may see your organization or your content as valuable and worth linking to and connect with them and see if they’ll link to you.  The bottom line is there is no cheap, easy, quick link building magic anymore.  Link building takes time and effort to create something worth linking to and then connect with people.  But if you do that, you’ll get a lot more than links.

Share your thoughts:

  • Are there any other link building traps you’d include in the list?
  • What are you most successful ways of building links?
photo by: ljmacphee

Kurt Steinbrueck is the Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.Com. He also serves on the leadership of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa, FL. You can find him on Google+ as .

21 Responses to “4 Link Building Traps You Need to Avoid”

  1. Actually now, we are going to natural link building that's why an SEO should work with focus and detail research. So we should avoid these black hat link building tactics which are defined in this post.

  2. Now only the social media shares and mentions are the biggest asset of the newbie link builders, just join the social networks and do networking with the active users to get your updates shared and gain search engine attention.

    • While I agree that it's good to get social shares, Google has specifically said on multiple occasions that they don't include social shares as a signal in their ranking algorithm. Google+ shares and connections can help in Google to some extent with their personalized results and Facebook likes and shares can help with personalization in Bing, but those likes and shares do not impact the unpersonalized rankings according to Google (Bing hasn't really said either way).

      So, do create social connections and try to get shares, but know that those shares aren't going to build your site's authority in the search engines, that's still done by links.

  3. Indeed, the key here is CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT. Write it, and they will come (as long as you do at least SOME work to let them know it’s there.)

    Thanks for the article!

  4. Yes, I completely stay away from paid link building. I believe that is best.

  5. I wonder why you include syndicated links. Quality content gets syndication naturally so it should be fine.

    • Perhaps that could have been more clear. I meant using article syndication or article directory sites to put articles out on the web for people to use as long as they link back to your website (usually in the bio). That is now against Google's guidelines and I have seen sites penalized for it.

      What do you mean by "Quality content gets syndication naturally so it should be fine."?

  6. In today's SEO importance of the these types of link building are almost wind up and but still few people are working on it. I totally agreed with Kurt and i hope you will share more info about upcoming updates of SEO.

  7. This is the first time to visit your blog. I’m glad to read an article like this which encourage ones to make a better blog. This post is really effective for me. I will come back frequently.
    Thank you Kurt very much.

  8. Relevant and specific tips.Thanks for posting this content.

  9. Yes, I completely stay away from paid link building. I believe that is best

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