So you know how to build good link karma for links with our blog from last week. But while knowing what to do
is great, knowing what not to do is really important for staying out of trouble. Without further ado, then, here are a few link don’ts for you.
First of all, you shouldn’t link back to your root domain. “Whaaaat?” you may say. We know, it sounds counter-intuitive. But if you find that you’ve got a bad or spammy link, then having that link direct to your page makes it nigh unto impossible to get rid of. If you want to go to your home page, have the link include an index or something; basically, always remember that you want to be able to delete whatever page or URL is causing you problems. Deleting your main page tends to cause problems. The best way to do this is to link to .com/default.html, which has a canonical to index.html. This way, you can delete the default page completely.
On that note, don’t always use your own IP addresses or sites. It makes you look less genuine, which will get you penalized. Nor should you focus on any one type of link. Diversifying your link portfolio – footer links, sidebar links, and more – will help you in rankings. And certainly avoid trying to use nonsense names in your links. Remember how you want to look natural? This goes double for using famous names. Putting a famous name in a link where it doesn’t belong looks manipulative and like you’re trying to make your site rank on irrelevant searches.
Another thing to remember is that if your domain is an exact match to the keyword you’re going for, every inclusion of that name counts to the 30% exact match limit you should try to keep (see last week’s article for more on that). So if your keyword matches your URL, back off on linking too strongly directly to your URL.
And to add yet another 30% rule of thumb – it’s easy to remember the number because all of these percents are just “keep it to about a third” – don’t use more than about 30% of what are called “obvious search query” links. For example, if you were to go to Google curious about refurbishing bronze teaspoons, you would type in something like “How do I refurbish bronze teaspoons?” That is an obvious search query. Another might be “Information on refurbishing bronze teaspoons.” You can use some of those, but again, keep it to about a third.
Here’s one more important one: If you don’t have traffic, don’t post links. Remember, links are supposed to be people recommending or talking about your site, not so much your own advertising. So if you have no traffic coming to your site, who’s posting the links? It’s pretty obvious pretty quickly that you’re doing it yourself. This can be tough for new sites; if you find yourself stuck, try buying traffic on Twitter or through other avenues.
As for content, there are a few things to remember – first of all, duplicate content is bad. You should try to keep your backlink pages at about 80% unique content. Secondly, keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. Search engines know what you’re doing and they don’t like it. This includes tags – in fact, Matt Cutts from Google has specifically said that they don’t like tags because they do consider them keyword stuffing. If you’re going to tag things, keep it to a minimum. Don’t leave out other keywords, either; 80% of traffic can come from “long tail” keywords, so neglecting them is a bad idea. In general, again, you’re trying to write for real humans, not for computers or search engines.
Last but not least, there are some sites with certain semantics that you should avoid to stay out of trouble. Large numbers of footer or sidebar links aren’t going to help you – in fact, your site can be penalized just for having too large a number of sidebar links. Also, in something that may be somewhat obvious, when a site advertises paid or sponsored links, or “free SEO links here” or similar phrases, those sites are more likely to hinder you than help, because those links just don’t look genuine.
So just try to avoid doing anything that looks like you’re trying to buy links or artificially drive up your rankings. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll find things go a lot more smoothly for you when you’re working on link building.
These tips are courtesy of Josh Bachynski. See the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mQmaSj9siU&feature=player_embedded (Video is 40 minutes long; link do’s go from about the beginning to 7:00.) Or get in touch with Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.