Every SEO component comes with an array of potential mistakes. When it comes to link building, the list of potential mistakes is large. For instance, targeting the wrong keywords is the number one mistake people make followed by using black hat tactics unknowingly.
When you’re overseeing a link building campaign, you can’t afford to make mistakes, some mistakes (like using link farms) can get you blacklisted from the search engines. Not knowing any better won’t make a difference-search engines aren’t forgiving.
If you want a thriving SEO campaign, you need a strong and flawless link building strategy. Below are some of the top link building mistakes to avoid.
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Mistake #1: Most of your anchor text is an exact match to your keywords
When the internet was new, just about everyone linked to other webpages using the anchor text “click here” and “visit this website.”
Anchor text should be natural and varied. What does it mean to have varied and natural anchor text? Having varied anchor text means not using the same anchor over and over for every post.
Natural anchor text requires placing your link so the anchor text is part of the sentence. For example, say you’re a SaaS network security company and want to link to a webpage outlining your services. Natural anchor text phrases would include:
network security is critical
cloud-based security services
affordable cloud security solutions
In contrast, using the anchor text network security would not be considered natural anchor text because it’s an exact phrase match.
Caveat: there is a time and a place for “click here” anchor text
While it’s not advised to use “click here” for anchor text where SEO is concerned, it can be used when your goal is to get people to click your link. Using the word “click” in anchor text is a proven marketing technique. It’s also a persuasive writing strategy taught by successful copywriters who make six figures writing one page of online sales copy.
This classic anchor text phrase is best reserved for pages you aren’t trying to rank. For example, you might use “click here” anchor text in a sales letter that goes to the same checkout form as your “buy now” button. However, your sentence should tell readers what they’re going to get by clicking.
Avoid using “click here” as anchor text on or linking to pages that are indexed in the search engines; you don’t want to dilute your SEO efforts.
Mistake #2: Paying for backlinks
You can’t pay your way to the top of the search engines. If you do, you won’t stay at the top for long. That’s not to be confused with paying for legitimate SEO services. However, looking for sites to publish your content for a fee will almost always end in disaster.
Seek to acquire your backlinks from publishers relevant to your industry and audience. Make your backlinks count. You’re not just getting ‘link juice’ from your links – you’re also generating traffic. Untargeted paid links tend to reach the wrong audience and turn out to be a waste of money.
Caveat: Sometimes a publication fee is acceptable
There is a difference between websites that publish any content for a fee and credible, reliable websites that publish carefully vetted content and charge a fee for publication. It’s critical to know the difference. Avoid publications that accept every submission. It’s probably part of a link farm and will soon get blacklisted by Google.
Mistake #3: Not tracking your clicks
Your SEO strategy is a process that requires your effort to improve over time. You can’t improve a strategy you aren’t tracking. To know what needs improvement, you need to track the traffic you receive from all link sources. Tracking is the only way to discern where your efforts are succeeding and where they are failing.
How to accurately track your traffic sources
First thing’s first – don’t track your traffic with a WordPress plugin. You’ll get some information, but it won’t be comprehensive and the developer might stop supporting the plugin. At that point, installing new tracking software won’t allow you to compare data from the past.
Google Analytics has become an industry standard, but track your traffic with Matomo (formerly Piwik) to get a well-rounded view of your traffic. Unlike Google Analytics, Matomo manages personal data according to data privacy laws, which makes it superior in that regard.
Learn from your link building mistakes
Throughout your link building campaign, you’re going to make mistakes. Treat each mistake as an opportunity to learn something new and improve your link building strategy. Mistakes, when learned from, are the precursor to wisdom.