SEO Traps To Avoid
We’ve recently received several requests from businesses to figure out why their website’ organic visibility took a nosedive in the last several months. While there are many reasons why a website might not perform as it should, some businesses confessed they previously hired a marketing firm to build links. Worse yet, they didn’t realize the services they paid for were outdated and dangerous link practices. Whether you’re outsourcing your SEO or doing it yourself, here are several common link building mistakes to avoid.
Farming & Automated Services
Effective and long-lasting SEO is hard. It’s a labor of love. Any links obtained by an automated service is a huge red flag. Links are like votes of confidence. Having an inbound link from a website that’s simply a directory serves no real purpose; it’s also known as a link farm. It can hurt your website. Google has figured out these schemes; that’s why you see so many changes to Google’s search algorithm; the updates find and plug those “SEO” holes. Rather than buoy up your website’s SEO, a link from a bogus directory can drag it down. This is probably the most common link building mistake we run across and must fix.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb when it comes to links: don’t pay. If you’re buying a link, most likely other businesses are paying for them. Again, this is a major red flag for Google. Just don’t do it. The only exception is professional organizations. In this case, you’re paying to be a part of an association; the byproduct may be a profile listing with your website link. On the Webmaster Central Blog, Google reminds bloggers of guidelines on link schemes.
Commenting on Blogs
Several years ago this was a popular technique. You’d find a piece of content on a related website and comment on it in order to have your URL attached to it. This technique has been devalued and it’s really spam. If you find an article you want to comment on because it contains great information and you have something to add, do so. But do it with the goal of starting a conversation… not to generate a link. Webmasters are good at shutting down spammers.
There’s No “There” There
Getting a link from a piece of content that’s thin and irrelevant is hurtful rather than helpful. Readers figure this stuff out quickly. Humans are fast at spotting fakes. Google not only looks at links but what surrounds it. If you think you can outsmart search engine bots, go for it. Then call me when you need to get out of trouble.
Link Building Mistakes Related to Home Page
In my experience, a healthy link building profile typically includes links that go beyond the home page. You want inbound links to go deeper into your website, pointing to pages and posts. If all your inbound links go to the homepage, it looks suspicious… even spammy. Your link profile should look natural; it should organically grow as your business connects with others. The other upside is the potential for conversion. Let’s say you install residential pools. There’s a link from a local pool supply store blog post listing the local contractors who understand the city permitting process. You want a link to go to a page that’s about city permits and building a new pool. That’s information a visitor would be interested in. They are more likely to read further and contact you.
Do you know what your link profile says about your business?