Ahh, link builders, you had a good run! Remember when you could submit your URL once and get more than 100 backlinks within an hour? A fond memory, but those days are long gone. Unfortunately, the bad linking habits of many website owners and SEOs still exist—and they may be causing irreparable damage to your rankings and your reputation.
Here are three very, very bad linking habits you need to quit right now.
Paid Text Links
In a pre-Penguin world, digital marketers could (and did) pay for keyword-specific anchor text links back to their pages. And they did it in droves—if 10 was good, 100 was better. We live today, however, in a post-Penguin world, where excessive keyword-rich anchor text usage can actually cause your search engine rankings to plummet.
Google rolled out the Penguin over-optimization penalty back in April 2012 in an effort to stop people from buying links to boost rankings. If you’re still working on link building networks and paying for links, STOP. It can be a tough climb out of the depths once you’ve been slapped by the Penguin.
Linking for the Sake of Linking
“There’s no such thing as bad press!” That may be, but there is such a thing as bad linking. Do you still chase links with the mindset that any link is a good link? If so, STOP. It’s not about how many links are pointing to your site—it’s about having the right links pointing to your site. Ask yourself, “Who owns this site and are they reputable? Is this site related to my industry or interests in some way? Is the overall quality of this site good?” If you can’t answer yes to all three of these questions, reconsider the link.
Link Bait / Thin Content
Let’s say XYZ Company outsources their content writing at super low rates. They get quick ‘n dirty copy written primarily for search engine robots. These over-worked, under-paid writers crank out 20 so-called variations of the same article. No one really checks for grammar, punctuation or spelling, and the voice of each piece is completely disjointed from all your other pages.
But hey, it’s jam-packed full of keywords and you’ve got 20 new pages, right!? Technically, yes, that’s what you’ve got. Is it what you need? NO. If you thought being slapped by a Penguin hurt… you need to learn about Google’s Panda.
The Bottom Line
Once you’ve kicked these nasty, old link building habits, you can begin to replace them with healthy new habits. When you shift your thinking from, “Must… get… links…” to “I’ll continue to create and share quality content for my audience,” only then will your pages begin to see more qualified traffic and increased conversions.