Wether link building is the most important factor for SEO or not remains highly debated, but most digital marketing experts agree that it’s important either way. There are a ton of great ways to build natural links that improve your SEO and help your business find more customers, but we aren’t going to talk about those today.
In this article we are going to look at five of the worst, and most common, ways that you should NOT build links as a small business. You might have seen a few of the tactics recommended elsewhere, but we are here to set the record straight!
1 — Buying Backlinks on Fiverr (or anywhere else)
One of the first things that many business owners think to do is actually one of the worst things you can do — buying cheap links off of Fiverr. In case you’re not familiar with Fiverr, it’s a website where freelancers offer services (gigs) that start at five dollars. Hence the name.
For the most part, the gigs on Fiverr are actually pretty good for the little amount of money that you are paying. However, many of the service providers on Fiverr are very deceptive with their gigs and take advantage of people who are new to internet marketing. A perfect example of this is a gig that promises to send hundreds (even thousands) of high-PR backlinks to your page for only five dollars.
The first problem with this is that the links are rarely the quality that their gig describes. Meaning you won’t get what you paid for anyway. The second (and more serious) problem is that these links will get you punished by Google.
The last thing your business needs is to be on the bad side of Google. In terms of web traffic, Google is the gatekeeper and they’ve been known to send website into a never-ending SEO purgatory for getting caught trying to cheat their system.
2 — Posting Worthless Comments
Many blogs will allow you to add a link to your name in their comments section and even allow you to post a link in the comment itself. Doing so results in a nofollow backlink to your website, which isn’t as valuable as a dofollow link in the eyes of Google. However, these nofollow links from blog comments do help slightly.
If bloggers allow you to put a link in their comment section and they help your SEO a little bit — what’s the problem? The problem is that people learn about this strategy and start blasting useless comments in every direction.
They’ll copy and paste the same generic comment that they think works with any blog post:
Great article, this was very interesting to read. Check out this site: URL
This defeats the entire purpose of commenting in the first place. It doesn’t add to the conversation and it doesn’t help build a relationship with the author of the blog. Instead, take the time to read the article and add something valuable to the conversation. And never post a link in the actual comment unless it’s relevant and useful.
3 — Spinning Articles and Publishing Them Elsewhere
A popular link building strategy for many years was to use article-spinning software to re-word your articles and then you would submit that article to directories or publish it on spam blogs. It was very effective for increasing SEO and building a ton of links. But those days are long gone. However, there are still people trying to find ways to manipulate the strategy to sneak around Google’s spam filters.
Article spinning results in an enormous amount of repeat content online, which is considered spam by Google. In addition, most of the article spinning software makes the new content near impossible to read. The result is wasted time, money, and the potential for serious punishment from Google.
4 — Automatic Directory Submissions
Google frowns upon anything that’s automated when it comes to link building, because it is counterintuitive to how links are naturally built. Another trend that is finally starting to die off is the use of software to automatically submit your content to thousands of article directory websites.
This is another tactic that falls under the categories of ineffective and against Google’s policies. Google might not ever punish you for it, but the links from those directories have very little value today.
5 — Paying, Bribing, or Bartering For Links
Google’s policy is very explicit that you cannot offer an incentive in exchange for links. In June of 2015, Google hit the company Thumbtack with a manual action for unnatural links. When that happened Thumbtack didn’t even rank for their own name. What Thumbtack was doing was adding points to the profiles of businesses who added a Thumbtack link from their website back to them.
The interesting thing to note here is that Thumbtack is backed by Google Ventures. If Google is willing to punish a company that they’ve invested in, what do you think they’ll do to your business? Offering any kind of incentive for links is never a good idea. You might not get caught doing it, but if you do it could cost you all of your organic search traffic.
About the author
Kyle Stout is a freelance writer based out of Orange County, California. This article was written on behalf of Nett Solutions.