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Link building is one of the best ways to increase SEO and get traffic to your site. Search engines crawl webpages to find relationships between pages, and one of the ways that’s done is through links. The more links a webpage has pointed at them, the more official it seems to Google. For many years, links have been considered virtual votes in the world of search engine optimization. However, to truly make the most out of the powerful potential of link building, it’s important to build an effective links strategy that doesn’t violate Google’s algorithm.
Penguin is the Google algorithm that patrols the world of links on the Web. There are several things that Penguin doesn’t like, and if you violate any of its rules, you could be hit with a Google penalty that will be difficult to fix. Rather than spend time and money fixing a Google penalty issue and getting back on track, it’s better to understand Penguin and what mistakes not to make.
In layman’s terms, Penguin doesn’t like spammy link behavior, and it searches for abnormality in those behaviors. Links from low quality sites, for example, are red flags. These are bad “votes” that Google doesn’t appreciate. Google also finds it sketchy when link behavior is all over the map. A valid, reliable site will likely have an analytics dashboard that demonstrates consistent linking. Penguin also expects your links to come from a variety of sources. When you know what to look out for in regards to Penguin, you can prevent early errors from occurring.
Purchases Bulk Links
Many business owners are met with a tempting business strategy: the ability to build your backlinks through a bulk link package. This is one of the most common link building mistakes. Skylar Malley, who runs an SEO agency in Denver called Firestarter, says there are many shady SEO businesses who reel business owners in with the bulk package promise. Low prices might include 100 directory links and 100 social bookmarking links — which seems like a good deal when you don’t know what you’re getting. But here’s why you shouldn’t engage:
“To begin, your site is most likely being submitted to directories that have little to no relevance to your site, or have very low quality,” says Malley. “This happens because no one is assigned to facilitate the submissions when software is doing it, and if people are doing it, quality is the last thing they are worried about, they just need to meet their quota.”
The goal is to focus on the quality of links, rather than the quantity. Bulk link buying doesn’t work as well in SEO anymore, thanks to algorithm crackdowns. Purchasing in bulk will look suspicious to Google, who will recognize a random spike in backlinks and could penalize your site. In some cases, engaging in link purchasing could even result in a site ban, and this is something you can’t recover from.
Building a Link Building Campaign
Begin your link building campaign by setting up goals. Understand that real link building takes work, especially if you’re new to the SEO. Consider what types of links you’ll need. Perhaps you want links that use keywords you’re targeting, or maybe you just want your brand name in the link to increase relevance. You might want to work a reliable SEO agency to aid you, but this isn’t always necessary. With proper research and patience, anyone can learn how to manage their own link profile.
You’ll also need to create a list of relevant sites that will care about and share your links. From there, you can build content that will encourage them to link to it. Once you’ve identified sites that you want to link to you, study the content they’re currently publishing and sharing. Early on, don’t focus too much on getting super high-quality links from major publishers like Forbes. Turn to blogs and sites with solid traction and a reliable following.
For example, let’s say own a line of all-natural baby products. Your target audience would include mommy bloggers, eco-friendly websites, or even entrepreneurial sites. Always be on the lookout for angles that appeal to different sites that are most applicable to your business.
You should check out your competition to see where their links are coming from, and work out ways you can get into their good graces with great content or other assets you have. There are several backlink checker tools to help you spy on your competitors. Make a list of the most relevant backlinks they’re getting.