Five Easy Ways to Fail at Link-building and Ruin Your Reputation at the Same Time

Link building. It’s time consuming, often confusing, and sometimes downright tedious. Plenty of even the most “expert” bloggers just wish that it wasn't necessary - that the search engines would start paying less attention to who is linking to a blog. But that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

Links are still the easiest way for a search engine bot to determine the importance and trustworthiness of any site on the web. Content quality has become far more important than it was perhaps before the coming of the great Google Panda back in 2011, but links are still an important ranking factor whatever your blog's niche, with everything from a car wash POS site to a blog about cats and bunny rabbits needing good links to help build the traffic it needs to survive.

Bad link building techniques can kill your website's reputation with search engines very quickly. Some bad link building is a result of a person's lack of knowledge while some is downright black hat and very naughty. Here are five ways you should  never try to build links – or let someone build them for you.

  • Submitting your URL to hundreds of directories, both free and paid these days is a great way to attract some really rotten links. These directories themselves have very poor rankings as the majority of them are filled with spam now (sad but true, as they were once decent resources). This is a great way to devalue your site in the eyes of the search engines because you are hanging in a bad neighborhood.
  • Join a bunch of forums and create a forum signature that is crammed with links. Then ask the same question in a dozen different forums. Find yourself banned from every decent on-topic forum because you are a spammer. The admins who run good forums talk to each other and word about spammers tends to travel fast.
  • Create a couple of Quora accounts. Use one to post a question about where to get the best information about (X) when information about (X) is exactly what your blog offers. Wait a day, go back with another Quora account and answer your own question with – surprise! - a link back to your own site. And do it all from the same IP address. Wait another day and then go back and find your accounts suspended and your links removed.
  • When blog commenting, do nothing but plug your site. Add absolutely no value to the conversation. Don't even bother to read the blog post you are commenting on, just add “nice post dude” everywhere. And then sign your post with a spammy keyword stuffed “name” not your own. Wait a while, and watch as you become the object of hatred of every good blogger in your niche. However, on the upside, some of them might even include you in a post – a post about how much they hate spammers.
  • Follow the example of a really big company. Hire an over ambitious SEO firm to build links for you. Don't pay any attention to what they are doing, just keep throwing money at them. Suddenly rank for ALL your keywords and even some you had never even thought of. Rejoice. Then cringe in horror as you are exposed to the world by the New York Times for link buying, search engine manipulation and link farming. Well maybe you won't make the New York Times, but it never hurts to dream..

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