Many business owners don’t understand how links can affect your SEO ranking. There are a few things to understand about how Google views linkbuilding and it’s pretty much common sense. So leave it to me to explain it in oversimplified ways.
If you needed a good attorney, you may ask friends based on their past experiences, but if you really wanted to know about them, you might do research on the Better Business Bureau website or the state board to find complaints filed against them because you can trust the info you find there.
Alternately, you could wait for an inevitable spammer or salesman to call your personal cell phone and ask them for advice. Granted, they may not even live in your state or know anything about your situation. And for some reason if you did do that, would take their advice seriously and make a decision based on what they told you? Of course not. And neither would Google.
Google needs to trust what’s happening on your website both internally and externally. If you post a link on your website, it needs to be somehow relevant to what your website is about. Posting links about weight loss pills on your industrial website is suspicious to them. The same goes for letting someone do a “guest post” on your site that contains irrelevant links.
I run a funk music website called Funkatopia and it dominates Google for funk music related searches. I’ve been inundated with requests from businesses to advertise on the website for things that are completely unrelated to music and some even tell me they want to write posts on the site that are related in exchange for payment. Both of which I decline or ignore. Why?
The primary reason is that Google is well aware of what content organizations out there are involved in “pay per post” activity and if you’re caught, your rankings will certainly suffer. Lastly, if I post content that is not relatable to my audience, it won’t get any activity anyway, so both parties lose.
Google also pays attention to what people are saying about your website, so a portion of their algorithm id designed to assess what type of websites are linking to your website. Are all of your incoming links irrelevant to your industry? Do a majority of the website links come from bad neighborhoods like gambling, porn or spammy sites? What percentage of your links are relevant to your industry?
So let’s talk about four bad linkbuilding practices you should avoid like the plague.
- Posting Irrelevant Paid Content – The more you post content on your site with outgoing links, the more you muddy up your relevance. On Funkatopia, if I post anything other than funk music related content, not only do I disengage my audience’s interest, I sacrifice my integrity.No content company can produce content that will fit perfectly into what you’re doing if they don’t have your best interest in mind. They are being paid to produce content for someone else that will benefit them. You might get paid, but the content consistency will be very evident to everyone.The other and more important aspect of this is Google. Google is very good at sniffing out patterns and if linking to random sites that aren’t relevant to your industry is not typical on your site, their trust begins to diminish which ultimately affects your rankings.The only tip I can offer is to stay away from it. The money can be tempting but is often minimal. Promoting products on your site is fine if that’s what you do, but just be aware that Google does not reward these types of websites with good rankings very often. Pay to post sites always suffer and Google is not a fan. Even if it is their own business model.
- Resource pages – Having a resource page is fine if it is truly helpful to your visitors. But the more external links you post on your site compared to the quantity of content you post and incoming links you acquire is a Google algorithm that will give you migraines.We’ve discussed this in depth before, but in short, here’s a brief analogy. Your website is a bucket and all of your website’s “authority” is water in that bucket. Every link you put on your website pointing to another website is a hole in that bucket that your website authority leaks out of. The more links you have, the more holes you have and the less authority your website has with Google.But that can be offset if the incoming authority from other “website buckets” keep the authority flowing into your bucket and as long as that activity overpowers the holes in your bucket, you become an authority. Get the visual? That brings us to…
- External Links – A lot of people go into “freak out mode” when they see that their website has been linked to from a bad neighborhood and then go into a panic trying to get those links removed.Believe it or not, Google already has an algorithm in place that monitors those types of links and as long as the percentage of good links to bad links is within an acceptable range, there isn’t a need to worry. So how do you get those good links though?The easiest way to get people to link to you is to get people to link to good original content. ALWAYS ask yourself when you post to your website, “Will people find this useful or interesting?” or “Would I link to this if this wasn’t my website?“The kind of content that people link to will be good useful info or something that is timeless or entertaining. A good example would be when I worked for a wedding related company and I did a post of the 20 worst wedding photos. It was relative to weddings, but it was so funny, that people actively commented and linked to it which drove up rankings for wedding photo related searches.
Alternately for an accessibility website, I put up a post about resources for grants and funding resources for people looking to purchase wheelchair accessible vans. It got linked to for years by a lot of authoriative and relevant websites which again drove up the rankings.
These are perfect examples of the types of posts that people will link to, share and talk about and that’s what you want. Make the external links you’re achieving outweigh anything else that may occur out there.
- Using Starter Links – If you simply can’t find anything interesting to write about, there are tons of starter links that you can get to build up your link count. Most businesses simply post their website and wait for the links to start coming in which almost never happens.Use a service like SEOProfiler which can give you a long list of links that are super easy to get and can start building up your link count quickly including directories and content sites.The caution here is to remember that being listed on a lot of generic directories won’t really help you much, so search Google for directories in your industry. For instance if you are a bakery, search Google for bakery business directories, bakery listings, bakery blogs, baking groups, etc.
- BONUS – Never buy links. It doesn’t matter if you can get 100 links for $5 on Fiverr.com or anywhere else. Google closely watches your link acquisition patterns, so going from 1 new link every 2 weeks to 500 in one day is a huge red flag and can get you penalized quicker than it took you to buy them in the first place.And don’t forget that blogs are easy ways to acquire links to your site just by participating in conversations and setting up your profile in a very specific way. I discuss this heavily in my book Simple SEO For Website Newbies that you can get on Amazon here which gives you all of these tips and much more to help you get a super quick boost.
Using these four thoughts on linkbuilding will lead you in the right direction to better rankings. Just use common sense. If it seems like trickery, Google will sniff it out and getting on their bad side is never a good idea.