Link Building Strategies to Avoid

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In some ways these are tough times to be a internet marketer.  Ad revenues are down in many niches and the web is becoming so overcrowded that it is increasingly difficult to rank for keywords and create effective linkbait. While that’s true, don’t think that desperate times call for desperate measures.  Thought creating highly-useful content might not always be great linkbait and you’re still getting ignored in social networks, this by no means you should rely on sub black-hat tactics.  They’ll do more harm than good.

Here’s a list of things you should absolutely avoid.  I say sub black hat because black hat tactics can work…for a time until Google figures out the scheme and bans it as part of updated terms and conditions.  These tactics aren’t even helpful in the short term.

  1. Submitting site to any and all directories.  All links are good, right?  No, and there are ever-stringent rules about link quality.  Two quality links could be more effective than 100 links to low PR directories, paid or unpaid, that don’t increase traffic and ineffectively organized so your site is listed with off-topic sites.
  2. Forum spam.  This could come in many forms.  I’m not talking about spam software but actually logging in and becoming part of the discussion without actually adding anything to the discussion.  Forums posting should take as much time and thought as blog posting.  Just because you log-on manually doesn’t mean you can get away with poor forum etiquette.  People can smell spam: adding a link to your site that’s only half-appropriate could have you thrown off the site.  In short, try to be an objective user of the forum, not just a salesperson.
  3. Blog spam.  Many of the same problems.  Your blog comments should be actually useful.  It’s actually a kind of artform – attempting to sound like a casual user while still inspiring someone to click on your username link.  Be sure to also check to see if the blog uses nofollow or dofollow tags.  You don’t want to devote all that time to a spiderless link.  It should go without saying that you don’t use blog spam bots, ping bots, or any other bot.
  4. Link exchange spam.  This is different than straight email spam.  Think of a link exchange as something like a cover letter for a job.  In the cover letter, you want to reference the job at hand, not create an all-purpose letter you send anywhere and everywhere.  Personalize any correspondence with webmasters.  Link exchanges are losing their value so you want to exchange with the best sites possible, not anyone and everyone (like site directories).
  5. Regular spam.  Do you like receiving this?  I thought not.  If you do compile email addresses of people interested in your product or site, there’s nothing wrong with mass-email marketing. It’s part of the game.  It just can’t be overused.
  6. Steal content.  Aggregating content can fill up a site very quickly, but it has almost no value to users – about as much value as a parked site.  It’ll get you flagged AND get you in the bad graces of whatever site you’ve filched from, so avoid it.

What to Do Instead

OK, so you don’t do any of the above.  And you’re vigilant about creating quality, easy-to-read content replete with images, video, bulleted lists and other eye candy and you still haven’t gained any traction online.  I have to ask: you haven’t gained any traction?  I find that doubtful.  If you’re doing everything you should be doing, your traffic is bound to improve.  Will you get a top ten search result?  Not necessarily?  Will the traffic convert into dollars and cents?  Also maybe not.  But you’ve got to be realistic with what you hope to achieve.  Remember, the age of your site’s URL is vital, in addition to the age of those who link to you, so it may just be a question of time.

I’m a proponent of bombarding a site with as much (good) content as possible.  The more title tags you have, the better, even if two or more articles are just a variant on describing the same thing.  However, you don’t want to be so redundant that it gets in the way of site branding.  If people are clicking link after link within a site and learning nothing new, they’re not going to come back.  There are likely hundreds of different and unique ways to describe the topic.  The process of creating this new content is as important as marketing it online.

You might not have the time to aggressively network every single article on the site.  If this is the case, take your time with a select few and try to take those viral.  If you’re always trying to find something viral worthy for your content, it could keep you from writing.  There are some topics that have viral capability, which doesn’t mean non-viral content doesn’t serve a purpose.  An example: say you run a mortgage site.  You could write blog content about the cost of a celebrity’s home.  Will this help a person looking to refinance?  No, but it is the kind of content that can go viral.  In many cases, “fluffier” content goes viral, so if your authoritative content isn’t hitting it big, there are other avenues to take, while still providing useful, informative content.

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