Link building has always been an indispensable part of off page SEO strategy.
Last year Backlinko analyzed over 1 million Google search results and found that backlinks impacted search engine rankings more than any other ranking factor.
That gives you a better idea about the importance of backlinks: links are #1 key to your SEO success. The number of quality backlinks can impact
- Your search rankings
- Website search traffic
- Overall sales
But here’s a sad truth: most people still do a ton of link building mistakes that are costing them money and hurting their search rankings unknowingly.
So in this post, we’re going to discuss some of the costliest mistakes most people make, so try to avoid them if you’re making any of them to get better results.
Table of Contents
- Top 15 Costliest Link Building Mistakes to Avoid In 2021
- 1. Buying links
- 2. Not taking any action to remove toxic links
- 3. Building ONLY dofollow links
- 4. Building links from no-index pages or domains
- 5. Using optimized anchor text
- 6. Getting site-wide links or footer section links
- 7. Irrelevant link building
- 8. Building links too quickly
- 9. Getting links from pages with weak social shares
- 10. Linking from site with thousands of outgoing links
- 11. Sticking to one type of link building practice
- 12. Excessive Reciprocal
- 13. Building links exclusively for home page
- 14. PBN links are mostly harmful
- 15. Not creating content that’s worth linking
- Final Thoughts
Top 15 Costliest Link Building Mistakes to Avoid In 2021
Both buying and selling links can be bad and hurt your blog in search engine results. Search engine crawlers are getting smarter and they’ve algorithms that can sense if you buy paid links from other sources.
Google even have insider systems where people can report for toxic links sold by directories or PBN networks, so make sure to avoid mistake of buying links.
When Google Page Rank created a lot of hype among the bloggers, it became a general trend to get the links prepared from external sources in return for small amounts. These spam links were one of the reasons Google killed its PageRank algorithm. If you also tried to avail the benefits from the previous storm, it is high time for you to remove all those spam links before they are tracked and then penalized by google.
Your search engine rankings plummet when Google sense that you’re buying links from bad sources. But there are still thousands of people who buy links safely. If you’re still considering to buy links without getting penalised by Google, here’s a better way to buy links.
Bottom line: If you’re either buying or selling links, there’s a high chance of Google finding you and penalising your site from search results. So avoid it especially when you don’t have a clue about buying links from authority or safe sources.
Did you know about Google’s Penguin update? If not, I’ll explain it to you in simple terms.
Penguin update was designed to enhance Google’s search results by removing the web pages with toxic backlinks. Toxic backlinks are usually unnatural and irrelevant backlinks that harm the search engine rankings of a site.
So Penguin update was introduced to mainly focus on penalizing the sites with a ton of toxic links along with a bad backlink profile. So how do you get rid of bad toxic links to get better rankings on Google?
Bottom line: The first step to getting better search rankings is to first find out your backlink profile and remove all the links using tools like Google’s Disavow tool to be on a safer side.
One of the biggest list building mistakes most people can make is building only one kind of backlinks i.e either dofollow links or nofollow links. Building only one type of backlinks is a bad SEO practice and Google might start penalising your site for such link building practice.
Yes, nofollow links don’t give any value to your search engine results as they don’t pass any link juice to your keywords, pages or sites but they give your site a great boost in terms of SEO especially when you get nofollow links from various domains (ex: when you comment on various sites).
Bottom line: Start giving equal importance to building both dofollow and nofollow links. If you’re using guest posting to build dofollow links, also use blog comments to build nofollow links. That way you can build a mixture of both dofollow and nofollow links without getting penalised by Google.
There are people who build links from no-index pages or domains or websites. If a website or page is not indexed on Google and if you’re trying to get links from those pages, your site will have a high chance of getting penalised because of Google search algorithms.
Whether you’re doing it knowingly or unknowingly, make sure to avoid such mistakes to play safe in Google search results.
Bottom line: Always keep an eye on your backlink profile. Use tools like Semrush to monitor your backlinks and if you find something fishy (malicious or no-indexed web pages), get rid of them as soon as possible.
5. Using optimized anchor text
This is another common mistakes most people make even in 2021. Are you also thinking that you can get better search rankings by getting links with keyword stuffed anchor texts within them?
If yes, you’re wrong. Google treats optimized anchor text links as a black hat SEO strategy and your site might get penalised if you’re overdoing it.
If you are using the same anchor text while link building on different blogs, you are bound to face a penalty instead of a promotion. These links would soon be marked as spam by the search engine. You should avoid using the same anchor text too much and use several combinations to make it more natural to Google bots.
Bottom line: Stay away from anchor text links while link building. Use various combination of anchor texts whenever you’re to building a dofollow link.
Getting links from site-wide and building footer links of other websites (using various anchor texts) was used to be the most effective link building strategy few years ago. But Google started taking it seriously and if you want to be on the safe side while link building, stay away from links that come from
- Site-wide links
Even I made this mistake a couple of time when I wanted to build some quick links for few high income generating pages like Black Friday week etc. but as soon as I realised that this practice might get my site to be penalised, we stopped it and focused on building links naturally (without focusing on getting links from footer section, sidebar etc).
Bottom line: Gone are the days where you can boost your SEO by getting links from sidebar, footer section etc. Try to build links that look natural and get links from articles without manipulating Google to get quicker SEO benefits.
If you own a blog on cloud computing, building a backlink on some portal based on beauty remedies is certainly not a good idea. Bloggers often tend to make links on high ranking sites without considering the matching of niches. Before you make a link, ensure that the host blog has a similar type of niche as your own blog.
Some SEO experts say that you can still build quality links from other niches too but you need to very careful to write a high quality guest post that’s relevant to your topic as well. Only then you can get fruitful results otherwise it’s not a smart link building strategy.
Bottom line: If you’re using guest posting for link building, make sure to target only those blogs that are relevant to your blog topics to build links safely.
There’s no thumb rule in Google that how fast you should build links but if you’re trying to get manipulative links (which is the common case when you’re trying to building too many links too quickly), then you’re in danger.
If you’re building thousands of links to your site on the first day itself, get prepared to be penalized for the same by Google.
As most SEO experts say, getting a high DA link (DA with 80+) is way better than getting links from low DA sites (DA with 20 or even less). So when it comes to link building, quality plays an important role than quantity.
Instead of aiming for 20 links from low quality sites, try to get 2 links from authority and relevant sites to start getting more benefits from search engines.
Bottom line: Try to make fewer but quality links on regular basis. Slow and steady always wins the race in the game of SEO.
To determine the quality of the content posted, Google algorithms today try to rate the overall social circle performance of that particular post. If a post gets 522 tweets, 3000 likes, 500 pinterest shares, then it is bound to perform better than any other competitive article with low social impact.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to get links from pages with 0 or very less social shares, they don’t add any SEO value and it can only waste your time and money. Here’s a great image that tells the importance of social shares in SEO.
Bottom line: If you’re writing guest posts to get links (which is absolutely fine), try to get as many social shares as possible as Google rewards the posts with high social performance to get additional benefits even to your own sites.
If a blogger posts a good article, he is bound to receive appreciation for it in the comments section. But this surely does not mean that this section would be filled with thousands of comments with links to their own sites. If you encounter such a page, it is always recommended to ignore it rather than commenting and having your comment lost in the flood.
Bottom line: It’s always better to comment on blogs who have some guidelines regarding the comments to be posted and give some importance to their commenters.
There are two major types of sources available with which you can gain links namely guest blogging and commenting. If you are going to get stuck to only one type of links, you would not receive the desired results within the set time period.
Bottom line: You must focus on every link building like commenting on other blogs, guest blogging for high popularity sites, social media sharing etc.
12. Excessive Reciprocal
Link exchange emerged as one of the fastest and easiest methods to generate links and improve the collaboration between the bloggers. Google lately identified this tit for tat strategy, and does not appreciate it anymore. There’s little SEO worth provided by this technique in today’s era.
Bottom line: Don’t participate in excessive reciprocal linking from others. Even if you’re doing it, do it only with those bloggers who have high quality and relevant blogs that are similar to you.
This has been quite a good trend especially among the newbie bloggers to build up backlinks exclusively for the home page. If you build up all your links for one page only, this would look artificial to Google. This is the reason you must also keep in mind your other pages while doing link building. This will not only help in better linking, but also help you in getting these posts rank high in the search results.
Bottom line: Make a good blend of building to internal pages apart from building home pages links when you’re doing link building. That way Google gives greater rewards in terms of boosting your internal pages authority as well by giving equal important to your site’s home page.
PBN (Public Blog Networks) links are mostly bad and still people are trying to build links from such directories even in 2021.
If you’re also one among them who’s making this deadliest link building mistakes, stay away from them as soon as possible if you don’t want to get penalised by Google algorithms.
Blog networks and PBN sites generally try to fool Google algorithms to some extent but often end up doing more bad to your site’s SEO. These networks comprise of unrelated categories and I would personally recommend you to remove these links if you are availing them using Google’s Disavow tool.
Bottom line: Most PBN’s that provide high quality links are not worth your time because of three reasons: they are expensive, take too much time and there’s also risk involved with those links so try to stay away from such links.
This is one of the main reasons why most people don’t get any backlinks naturally. If you’re not writing content that’s worth linking to, how can you expect to get better rankings for your site in Google?
So start putting more time and resources on creating 10x content that attracts a ton of social shares, buzz and backlinks naturally from other sites.
Bottom line: You can use techniques like blogger outreach, skyscraper technique etc to start generating links naturally without putting additional efforts on link building.
Link Building Resources for 2021:
- Best link building tools to try in 2021 for top rankings on Google
- Top ways to build high quality backlinks for your blog
- Link building strategies for niche sites [Ultimate Guide]
- Advanced link building guide for 2021
- Everything you need to know about buying links in 2021
We all know that there are a ton of link building techniques which one may follow to generate good quality backlinks. But we also make a couple of costliest link building mistakes that can harm our sites in the long run.
The intension behind writing this guide is to make you alert to stay away from such bad link building practices to get better rankings and search traffic to your sites.
Are you making any of those mistakes and what are the other common backlink mistakes that you often notice? Share your thoughts in the comments.