Link building is one of the most popular and most important strategies in the search engine optimization (SEO) world. Done correctly, it has the power to increase traffic, increase your rankings in search engines, and even boost your brand reputation. But it can also work against you if you don’t handle it responsibly.
In this guide, we’ll examine some of the biggest issues related to link building, and how you can overcome them to reap the best benefits of the strategy.
Link Building 101
Link building is a strategy most often used as part of search engine optimization (SEO). To rank higher in search engines, you need to have higher authority in your domain and in your individual pages. To get that higher authority, you have to acquire backlinks pointing to your domain and individual pages; the more links you have, and the higher the quality of those links, the higher you’re likely to rank.
Most people practice link building with guest posting; they write content for offsite publishers and include a natural link back to their site. However, there are a variety of tactics worth considering as part of your strategy.
The Biggest Problems in Link Building
Done correctly, link building is one of the highest-ROI (return on investment) strategies you can pursue in marketing. However, many practitioners end up making crucial mistakes, or suffering from the problems associated with the strategy.
These are some of the biggest challenges:
1. Staying the course.
Link building is a long-term strategy and one that requires commitment in order to succeed. For example, Link.Build “require[s] a commitment to a sustainable process of 6 to 12 months and beyond for new(er) websites.” If you only dabble in link building, or if you practice it inconsistently or for a short period of time, you’re not going to see results. You need to be prepared for several months of effort, if not more.
2. Getting started.
Building your first few links can be daunting. Not only do you have minimal experience in the field, but you also have no reputation to speak of. That means you’ll have a much harder time pitching ideas to external publications, and much greater difficulty getting your links to stick. Try targeting lower-quality publishers to start, and working your way up.
3. Paying attention to other ranking signals.
Link building is important, but links are just one of many ranking signals important to Google and other search engines. If your SEO campaign is going to be successful, you need to spend time and effort on a wide range of different SEO tactics. That includes technical onsite optimization and ongoing onsite content development.
4. Appropriately mixing earning and building.
Link earning means attracting links naturally with high-quality content. Link building is all about placing links manually. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, and you’ll need to find a balance if you’re going to be successful.
5. Diversifying sources.
New link builders often turn to the same publishers to build links over and over, but repeated links on the same sources yield diminishing returns. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to mix up the sources you use and find new publishers regularly.
6. Getting high-quality sources.
High domain authority (DA) sources provide more value, but getting features on these sources can be touch. Overcome this by starting at the bottom and gradually working your way up.
7. Mastering anchor text.
Keywords in your anchor text can improve your chances of ranking for a specific term, but it can also come off as spammy. Try to use a mix of both keyword-centric and natural anchors.
8. Falling for link schemes.
Many businesses offer link schemes to unsuspecting customers; they promise cheap links and fast results, which sounds appealing on the surface. However, these schemes often use unscrupulous and questionable tactics, which could end up getting you penalized. Avoid them at all costs, and do your due diligence with every vendor you work with.
9. Remaining consistent.
Good link building strategies are consistent. Aim to build a certain number of links each month, and come up with a publication schedule so you can follow it closely.
10. Scaling effectively.
Link building works fine with small budgets, but it’s much more efficient at scale. You need to have a plan in place to gradually build a higher volume of links and get your work published on bigger and better sources.
Link building isn’t a perfect strategy, but it’s one of the most cost-efficient and beneficial strategies to pursue in online marketing. If you’re proactively looking out for these potential issues and working to resolve them, you shouldn’t have any trouble adding link building to your online marketing repertoire.