My last few posts have really emphasised the importance of links to your SEO campaign and I have actively promoted certain strategies and good rates at which to build links.
In this post I want to warn against a few things which could potentially see some of your links devalued or could even see your site penalised. Remember search engines want to show the best result for a search, make sure your linking strategy incorporates that idea.
Anyway, here are a few of the most common errors I see happening.
Fast or Slow Link Growth
Knowing how quickly to build your links can sometimes be tricky, there are many factors that determine how well your links grow but ultimately if you have huge spikes in your link graph it is going to ring alarm bells.
For instance look at the below graph, which line looks more natural?
Now an argument that normally pops up is; “what about social links?” many times if you write something that goes viral, you can earn a lot of links over night and as Google crawls the web daily it is going to look strange.
There is no definite answer about how Google distinguishes between social links and spam/bought links but my theory is this…. Social links will mainly point to deep pages of a web site, spam/bought links will almost always point to the homepage of a site.
If you site has 50 links and Google crawls your site the next day and it has 500, this is bound to raise suspicions. Look for slow natural growth and stay away from the guy who will sell you 600 links for 40 bucks:)
How Natural Is Your Link Profile
Right.. now we all know the benefit of using your keywords in the anchor text of your links, however be cautious here. I think I mentioned in a previous post, the top sites have an anchor distribution of around 40%, anchored with their chosen keyword, aim for 30% to 35% just to be on the safe side. Google does advise using descriptive text within our links but an unnatural profile means your risking been dubbed spam.
If your site was dobsons.net and you sold used cars your anchor profile would “naturally” look something like this;
dobsons used cars 78
used cars 64
This is fine however…
used cars 278
used cars dobsons 34
This is going to look suspicious.
I have mixed feelings on what counts as over optimisation here, but what I will say is, make sure whatever anchor text you use, matchs the content 100%, the further away the anchor from the content, the more chance you have of receiving a penalty.
As well as your anchor text you also have to be careful with the sites that link to you. Many webmasters try to manipulate the algorithm by buying up domains, inter linking them and then pointing them at one site, a bit like the scruffy diagram below
Google picks up on this kind of tactic very quickly and trust me it also penalises it, this is verging on blackhat and if you control a link profile like this I would recommend cleaning it up, I have seen sites recently get banned for doing this.
Does Your Content Deserve It?
Google has hundreds of thousands of quality controllers who search the web and give feedback on the results they find. If your site get’s flagged repeatedly, expect to lose rankings.
The way to avoid this is by producing quality content that is relevant to the search query. Is your site the best result for the search query? If not then it’s time to start adding content.
Many sites simply spam links to get a poor result to the top of the SERPS but lack real content, many of these sites are caught out during the quality review.
The above are a few things to think about, I still fully advise article and directory submissions, however use the links smartly! Don’t anchor everything with the same keyword and don’t start building sites for the purposes of gaining links alone.
Hope you found this useful.Line Break
Author: Tim (293 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.