4 Common Link Building Mistakes – And How To Reset Your Strategy

What determines where in the rankings your website appears when a user plugs key terms into a search engine? It’s a complicated calculation based on the search engine’s algorithm, the content on your website, and your site’s domain authority (DA), among other factors. In order to give your site the best chance of ranking well, then, you need to take all of these moving parts into account, and a key part of that process is ensuring your website has links on other pages. Known, aptly, as backlinks, these links help enhance your site’s credibility. Or, at least they do when executing link building correctly.

If you’re working to improve your business’s digital marketing practices and move your site up the rankings, you need to ensure you’re following proper backlink protocols, or the ranking algorithm could dock you. Unfortunately, many businesses slip up by making one of these 4 common mistakes because they don’t understand the requirements, but it’s also possible to clean up those links and get your marketing campaign back on track.

Mistake #1: You’ve Skimped on Your Mobile Site

When Google ranks your website, it goes through several different steps. But, one of the most important things it does is regularly crawl your site to collect the content. Unfortunately, if you’re building your backlinks based on elements of your desktop site that aren’t visible on mobile, you won’t benefit nearly as much. Google ranks sites on a mobile-first basis, so desktop-only content is less valuable. This information can help you prioritize which parts of your site you want to build backlinks based on. But, it also offers a more important lesson: your mobile site needs to be as good as the desktop version.

Building for mobile can be tricky. So, hire a designer skilled in this area. There are plenty of sites that will help you build a decent desktop site on a budget. Yet, mobile design demands a commitment. Plus, you’ll need to budget for it. Still, doing so will benefit your backlink strategy.

Mistake #2: You’re Repurposing Content

The slogan, “Content is king” may seem like old news these days, but it’s still an industry reality. That said, you need high-quality content. Do not plagiarize or replicate it across sites. This can be tempting to do when you’re trying to create a lot of backlinks in different places. However, just because the content may not reach the same readers, that doesn’t mean Google won’t notice.

Don’t think you have the time to create all that original content? That’s okay. In fact, it’s not always in your best interest to write your own content if you don’t have the skills to create a large number of quality posts. Savvy backlink creators can ensure you’re putting out content that follows SEO guidelines, is connected to real author profiles, and – most importantly – adds real value to the conversations surrounding your content area and community.

Mistake #3: Mix Your Link Styles

Many businesses don’t know much about the technical elements underlying backlink development. A link is a link, right? Not exactly. From the perspective of Google’s crawl process, there are two important types of links: “do-follow” and “no-follow.” What’s more, even among those who do know there’s a difference between these two link types, many only build “do-follow” links.

In the context of backlink development, “do-follow” links are those links that you want Google to register in the crawl process, while “no-follow” links are meant to be ignored. As such, many businesses choose not to build “no-follow” links since they don’t yield any direct benefits. However, failing to diversify your link styles can negatively impact your rankings. This is because Google considers them an integral part of your strategy. Though the logic may seem a bit circuitous, sometimes the key to improving your rankings has more to do with following the rules than attacking the targeted issue directly.

Mistake #4: Employing Black Hat Strategies

One interesting fact about backlink development today is that strategies that were considered acceptable even a few years ago are now considered out of bounds. Categorized under the heading of black hat strategies, these practices are wide-ranging and attempt to cheat the ranking system by creating a false impression of authority. This can take several forms, such as buying links on low-quality sites or participating in private blog networks (PBNs). PBNs are carefully designed, high-quality sites, but they exist solely to host sponsored content.

Whatever the status of PBNs in the past, today they are known as link farms. Additionally, ranking tools are advanced enough to identify them. Instead of trying to find these closed networks and using them as a tool to promote your content, consider building guest posting relationships and pitching high-value articles to relevant sites. Of course, don’t forget to create onsight content of such quality that it will generate organic backlinks.

Be Patient with the Process

If you’re struggling to push your site up the rankings and close the backlink gap between your website and those of your competitors, it’s important to remember that these improvements don’t happen overnight. It takes time to evaluate your current content, existing links, and website design, among other factors. You’ll also have to review current SEO ranking guidelines, as these change regularly and rankings fluctuate with each change. And don’t forget, top companies pour a lot of money into gaining the ranking status they have. While there’s a lot you can do to improve your position, know that it’s not an entirely even playing field.

Final Thoughts

Businesses committed to improving their SEO rankings and developing better backlinks rarely go it alone. They work with web designers and SEO experts and other professionals who have the skills necessary to help them navigate the process of link building. Ask for help, be intentional, and know the rules. That’s how you’ll climb the rankings to the top. Use aboveboard, ethical practices that are true to your company’s image and message.