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Risky Business: Common Mistakes and Pitfalls in Link Building to Avoid

Do you own, run or manage a business? It can be incredibly rewarding yet stressful work. There’s much responsibility if the business’s success depends on your input, strategic thinking and business planning. This is especially true if you employ others – their livelihoods depend on how well the business does.

That’s why investing in digital marketing, such as SEO with a link-building agency, can be an excellent method to drive engagement, sales and conversions. But link building can be risky business if you make mistakes or stumble into common pitfalls. This helpful article will share how you can mitigate the risk by detailing the most common mistakes in link building and how you can avoid them. Read on to learn more.

Ignoring User Intent and Navigation

A prevalent mistake businesses make when link building and attempting to build a network of backlinks is thinking that any link is a good one. This isn’t true, especially when you factor in the user of the website the link is on. User intent, also known as search or query intent, is the reason the user is searching the web. A search engine uses advanced algorithms to determine user intent, including the search term and their past browsing and search history. But how exactly does this relate to link building? Let’s get into it. 

Let’s say you have produced a guest post on a third-party website, and they’ve agreed to link to a product page – however, the link is entirely irrelevant to the user’s needs—for instance, a link to dog care products on a cleaning blog. Google or another search engine will recognise this as irrelevant, and a user who navigates to your page will find themselves somewhere they don’t want to be, on a website with content that is useless to their needs. They will quickly navigate away, meaning a higher bounce rate. If this turns into a trend, your website metrics will suffer, and you’ll rank lower on search engine results pages (SERPs). Link building is all about raising your SERP ranking, so you want relevant, good-quality links that factor in user intent.

Neglecting Website SEO

If you focus on building backlinks while ignoring the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your destination page, your ranking will suffer. Your on-page SEO will include things like the topic covered on the destination page, the title (or headline) of the post, the metadata description and the target keyword. All of these will work to tell Google or another search engine what your website is about. When you’re building backlinks, a search engine will expect to find links to your site that are relevant and link to pages with great SEO. Anything the search engine flags as spam, irrelevant, poorly written or optimised will result in a lower ranking – precisely the opposite effect you want link building to achieve. Link building without great SEO is a risky business, so ensure your website is optimised correctly. 

Links From Low Authority Websites

This risk comes when taking a “more is best” link-building approach. The quantity of backlinks is more important than the quality of the sites that link to your business page. This is incorrect. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources are like nectar for search engine rankings. A high number of poor-quality links from low-authority sources are like poison. For instance, if the sites that link to your website are full of incorrect information, have poor SEO, are full of typos or have high bounce rates, this can impact your rankings. 

To mitigate this risk, prioritise the quality of backlinks over quantity. Reach out to websites that are high authority and are reputable sources. You can use third-party SEO tools to check a website’s authority and ranking. 

Overusing Anchor Text

Anchor text is a keyword with a link pointing to your website. For instance, if you’re a personal trainer, you might have links with “personal training near me” or “personal training (in my city) hosted on websites that point to a landing page or your services. However, if you use the exact anchor text hosted on multiple sites, all pointing to the same destination, a search engine will penalise your site and rank you lower. You’ll want diverse anchor text with different keywords, pointing to various landing pages to optimise your link-building strategy. 

Going Too Fast

Another common pitfall in link building is rushing the process and building many links quickly. Spamming lots of backlinks over a short time is viewed as a black hat strategy and will result in your site ranking much lower. For instance, hundreds of links in one day is a flawed approach. Instead of lots of links from lower quality sites, aim for 2-3 from relevant, authoritative sites to gain a benefit. Then, slowly build them up over months, and you’ll see your rankings rise. Slow and steady wins the race in the link-building game. 

Only Building Links to Your Home Page

You might think that focusing your backlinks directed to your home page is the best way to go about link building. If all your backlinks link to your home page, you’ll get ranked lower on search engine results pages. Instead, your backlinks should point to various pages on your website, including landing pages, specific product or service pages and blogs. This will result in higher organic rankings as Google or another search engine will value the diversity of links.

A Link Building Strategy Summary

This helpful article has shared all about risky business, the common mistakes and pitfalls in link building and how you can avoid them. Utilise these tips for a solid link-building strategy and rank higher on search engine results pages.