As an SEO specialist or someone who needs to manage multiple websites, you may be in a difficult position, struggling to get everything right. However, despite your best efforts, things may not always work in your favor. In the SEO industry and in particular the field of link building, complex tactics often comprise of multiple variables.
If you get even one of these variables wrong, it throws most of your SEO down the drain and honestly it can be hard to trace what went wrong. While many SEO specialists rely on guest posting as their primary link building strategy, the fact is that Google has been cracking down hard on guest posting too. Google does not want people to buy a spot on other websites, so even the slightest hint of having paid for a post on a blog or another website can be disastrous.
If you’ve watched your guest posting strategy become more of a hit or miss affair, then we’ll try to help you. In this article, we will outline a couple of common issues which could be plaguing your link building strategies and discuss how to fix it. Well also discuss a new yet increasingly popular tool which helps make the life of a link builder a lot easier!
AN IMBALANCE BETWEEN BUILDING AND EARNING LINKS
Many SEO specialists and marketers experience what is best labeled as stagnation in their link building strategy. Generally, this is what causes an imbalance in the links that are built and those which are earned. Many of you reading this may already know the value of earning a link as opposed to building it manually. If anything, it can be just as valuable.
Earning links requires creating and promoting content that’s amazing, unique, and linkable on your website. Earning a link employs a hands-off approach because people automatically link to it, and it appears more natural. So, you don’t have to worry about Google penalizing you for link manipulation or quality. Though growth using this strategy is a lot more difficult and unpredictable despite how astounding the quality of your content may be. So, there is no guarantee that any links will be earned.
While link building, by contrast, is easier to control, it does not have the same potential as link earning. So, your strategy should incorporate both types of link building. Any imbalances here can end up skewing the results and render your strategy less effective.
Another issue that many SEOs need to deal with is a lack of diversity in their link building campaigns. Links need to be built from various sources, the more diverse, the better because it comes across as more natural. So, you’re exposed to a wider audience, which improves your domain authority and helps you get more traffic.
However, diversifying your links can be complicated, and you’ll certainly run into a couple of issues which includes but isn’t limited to the spam score of the link. It is also hard to tell how good or of real value that link will be to your website.
Let’s look at this problem more closely:
- Source diversity: When you build the very first link to your website from an external source, it passes a good amount of authority to your domain. Though the second link from the same source does not pass as much. Subsequent links have a much lower value. So, you need to diversify the sources used. Anyone who relies on a handful of sources is going to see their ranking plateau.
- Using PBNs: Many SEOs continue to use PBNs as their primary source of diverse link profiles. However, that’s despite many influential names in the industry warning against using private blog networks. That said it is still a good option if you can figure out if the PBN is clean, offers value, and isn’t spammy. We will get into how you can keep an eye on all this using a special tool towards the end of the article, so stay tuned!
- Link Exchanges: We see no harm with link exchanges, but if you continue to build links for one page and not diversify to other pages, it will go stale quickly. Even with link exchanges, a constant exchange of links with a handful of websites isn’t a good idea, because Google is smart enough to see that you’re engaging in some type of linking scheme to manipulate rankings. So, here too, you will need to be careful and limit the number of links and pages via which the links are exchanged.
- Timing is Everything: Finally, timing is everything when it comes to how you build links. So, instead of building a dozen links at the start of each month, you might want to spread them out across three to four weeks. You also don’t want to follow a rigid routine when adding a new post to each website, try a looser approach with a flexible schedule. The more random looking, the better.
COST VS. BENEFIT ANALYSIS
The most common mistake we’ve seen people make is not paying close enough attention to the costs and the benefits associated with it. If you are not sure if a particular link building strategy is going to work, how can you predict long-term success? How do you know when and how to improve?
We see this all the time because those who are making this mistake don’t realize that they are and because of that they neglect the importance of tracking their links.
Not tracking your links means you don’t know which of the links did the best for you, and you have no stats to compare to know why a link worked or didn’t for that matter. So, you are blind to the results; these are things which you could easily see and help to hone your technique if more time was spent on analysis of the links built.
When calculating the ROI of your campaign, you need to consider many variables like total traffic results, profit margins, conversion rates, and the costs associated with the results. Consistent reporting and an understanding of the metrics will allow you to forecast the results and interpret which of your efforts are effective and which aren’t.
All of which means that you can make meaningful improvements. We will dive into link tracking and the best tool to use for it a little later in the solutions section.
LOW QUALITY OR BAD SOURCES OF LINKS
The choice of bad sources is an issue which we acknowledge nobody does deliberately, but it can ruin an otherwise good campaign. During the early stages of your link building campaign, a bad link or a link from a site which is spammy can make it hard to establish a baseline authority. Once you have a tight network with good quality links, a couple of bad links will not crash your rankings or attract a penalty.
The most obvious sign of a bad link is low authority. Though low authority sites can be useful if you’re unable to attract the attention of higher authority websites, however, if the domain authority score is under 20, or those who have used spammy tactics or have bad content will end up doing more harm than any good.
Some times it can be hard to detect if a website is a bottom feeder, and that’s where using tools that track your links can come in handy. However, if you’ve already built the link then it is too little too late. That said being able to track a website before getting a link from it can be useful and that’s something, we discuss a little later in this article.
HOW MOST SEOS APPROACH LINK BUILDING?
The most common link building method is via guest posting. Some SEOs may have a network of blogs which they are familiar with because they post regularly there and it has been shown to improve their rankings. Others may take a more manual approach by searching for blogs within the niche which accept guest posts. Usually, the latter method is used by SEO specialists that cater to a myriad of niches.
Once they find a couple of blogs and websites who are willing to accept their articles, they get the articles written and have them published with a backlink to their client’s website. However, there is a better, more scientifically proven method of building excellent links. We will walk through the steps below. Some of you may already be familiar with the steps and so feel free to skip ahead.
Step no. 1: The first step, as mentioned above, is to find websites that will accept blog posts. This is easily accomplished using Google dorks. For instance, if you’re searching for blogs and websites in the fitness niche, you can search Fitness intitle:”write for us” (Reference: https://geoffkenyon.com/advanced-search-queries-guest-posting/)
Step no. 2: Once you have compiled a list of all the potential sites where you’d want to publish articles or guest posts to acquire backlinks, you need to test them first. Testing the websites will help you establish which ones are good and which are a waste of your time. To do this, you’ll want to subscribe to each website’s newsletter using a dummy email address. Click here for the detailed guide.
That way you’ll be updated as soon as a new article is published. As soon as you see a new article has been published, you’d want to track it using a tool like Link Tracker Pro. Tracking it will give you an idea of how soon the article is indexed, and you can monitor how well it is doing for the targeted keywords once the articles are indexed.
It takes a couple of weeks for Link Tracker Pro’s algorithm to finish analyzing all the backlinks to provide you with a detailed report of all the quality links for blog posts. Once you know which websites are healthy, you can contact them to get your article published and be assured that the resulting backlink will work wonders for your website or your client’s business.
GOOGLE ISN’T A BIG FAN OF GUEST POSTING
Numerous algorithm updates over the past five years have been steps taken by Google to eliminate links built by guest posting or guest posts. Google’s AI reportedly tries to figure out which posts are natural and which aren’t.
It also regularly penalizes websites it sees as either selling or exchanging guest post links. That’s why testing websites is so important, and tools like Link Tracker Pro are an indispensable part of anyone’s link building strategy.
DEALING WITH THE SCOURGE OF TOXIC LINKS
Many SEO specialists have no idea if the backlinks they are building via guest posts are coming from a set of toxic websites. Google does not exactly publicly label a website and its link as being toxic, but if you get a backlink from it, it can cause major damage to your website’s reputation and subsequently ranking.
We ran a case study some time back on 278 blog and their blog posts. When we put the links through Link Tracker Pro’s algorithm and found that 122 of these links were toxic.
Which means around 45% of them would have had a negative impact on our website had we built backlinks from them. However, many were stilling paying and attempting to get their articles posted on these websites.
SAVE MONEY BY ONLY BUILDING GOOD LINKS
One of the best features of this strategy is that you’ll actually save money and effort on link building by only building links from healthy websites. So, you’ll be avoiding a lot of negative ranking and the fact that you may, later on, have to disavow the toxic links and build fresh links.
Not to mention the fact that unlike all other conventional forms of link building, you won’t be link building in the dark but will actually know if the website is worth your time, money, and effort.
TEST PBNS BEFORE LINKING FROM THEM
The biggest issue with buying PBN links is not knowing if the network is clean. Consider the fact that buying a bunch of links from high authority websites could yield great results, but only if the network was spam free. Here too Link Tracker Pro is your friend.
Never make the mistake of using PBNs without proper testing, especially if you’re liking them back directly to your money site. One way to test a PBN is to first point the links to niche relevant articles and then test for link toxicity.
If the PBN passes the test, you can then directly link it to your money site. This approach will also work if you are building a PBN of your own using expired domains.
POSITIVE LINKS VS. POSITIVE RISE IN SERPS
One of the best things about using this strategy we outlined above is that you only build links from healthy websites via guest posts or articles. Whether it is a news website, blog site, or even a Web 2.0 property Link Tracker Pro will tell you exactly what you need to know before building a link back to your money site.
That said using a single tool does not mean that you can go crazy with how you build links, and test hundreds of links which you can do but will make sorting through them difficult. Remember to always first highlight, and narrow down your niche before starting any link building strategy.
Once you have the niche in your crosshairs, then the tool can help you identify healthy websites from which you can link back to. As a general rule of thumb if you are unsure of the link, perhaps link it back to a web 2.0 property which is then linked back to your money site. Though with Link Tracker Pro you don’t have to worry about link toxicity or using a multi-tiered approach to build links.