How Not To Suck at Link Building

Link building is one of those online marketing strategies that has a clear right and wrong way. Good link building will increase a website’s trust flow, while increasing search engine ranking page performance, while bad link building can completely destroy a site’s ranking. Luckily for online marketers, there are clear and definitive ways to not suck at link building. First, let’s divide link building into two categories: internal linking and external linking. Internal links are the links put on your website that point to older pages on that website. The purpose of internal linking is to direct users to your best, most relevant pages and also to spread your site’s authority to the right pages. External linking is done for the purpose of building a website’s link profile and trust flow, which is increased by having authoritative and trustworthy sites link to yours from within their pages. Internal links are intended to direct users whereas external linking is meant to influence Google and increase SERP. Okay, now that we have a basic understanding of link building, what does it take to do it right? Here is how to not suck at link building.

How to Not Suck at Internal Linking

When done correctly, internal linking can be very beneficial to SEO. The goals here are to help users and to also direct Google to the pages that you believe are of highest value to readers. Basically, you’re taking your site’s authority and spreading it around your pages like a peanut butter sandwich, with some pages getting more love than others at your discretion. Ineffective internal link building means you’re putting too many links in your copy, the text isn’t descriptive, or the content you’re linking to isn’t relevant. Here are some of our rules:

  1. Don’t put more than 6 internal links in copy. Stuffing too many internal links into a blog post can come across as spammy. Keep your internal linking in articles to less than 6 links to avoid sucking at building an internal linking profile.
  2. Don’t use keyword-stuffed anchor text. Instead, use keywords that are descriptive of the page you’re linking to. For example, the anchor text “how to create evergreen content” is much more informative to readers (and thus more likely to generate clicks) than just “evergreen content”.
  3. Don’t link to irrelevant pages. To continue the example above, imagine if you clicked the anchor text “how to create evergreen content” and were taken to a blog titled “Why Evergreen Content is a Must for Online Marketers”. That doesn’t make sense at all, does it? Be as specific as possible in anchor text but also make sure to follow through on what you promised clickers or watch your bounce rate skyrocket!

How to Not Suck at External Linking

External linking is a bit trickier than internal link building because the line between good marketing and spam is extremely thin. The goal of external linking is to have your domain or specific pages linked to from other authoritative websites. This can be done in a number of ways including guest blogging, press releases, blog commenting and more. Doing one of these methods wrong, however, can make your website seem spammy to readers and even worse, Google. Here are 3 rules to help you avoid bad external link building:

  1. Don’t abandon guest blogging. Earlier this year, Google’s Matt Cutts declared guest blogging dead and sent online marketers into a frenzy. Guest blogging had been a popular SEO strategy! Well, don’t listen. It’s not dead, rather it’s changing. Guest blogging still has value when done right. The key is to contribute content with REAL value as opposed to keyword and link stuffed lists. Guest blogging is now quality over quantity.
  2. Don’t comment spam. Leaving thought-provoking comments on popular blogs is a great way to build natural links and generate interest in a brand through discussion. However, commenting “great stuff!” or leaving links to internal pages with no real provided value to the discussion is clearly spammy. Bloggers hate that and so does Google!
  3. Don’t do what Rap Genius did. At the end of last year, popular song lyric aggregator Rap Genius was outed for a spammy link building scheme. As part of the scheme, they were offering other bloggers the chance to be shouted out on social media in exchange for including Rap Genius links at the end of posts. It was basically a link exchange program. If your link building scheme seems spammy and doesn’t provide real value to the internet, you will be penalized in SERP like Rap Genius.

Building links correctly will raise a website’s trust flow. Don’t make Google mad, and practice bad link building which will result in abysmal website ranking. Ready, set, link!

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