7 Link Building Lies You Should Ignore
Author: Sujana Marie
You’d think that after all this time, we’d have it all figured out when it comes to SEO, and specifically, link-building. However, you’ll always find a difference of opinions and best practices change with time as search ranking algorithms and techniques evolve.
What we do know is that any attempt to manipulate Google’s link schemes can be extremely bad for your SEO rankings.
However, just following the guidelines set by Google doesn’t necessarily help you maximize the value of your link-building campaigns or approach it in a way that’s best for your brand.
Here is where there is plenty of confusion and misinformation out there. For those new to link-building, it can be a head-spinning ordeal to separate reality from fiction, truth from lies, and facts from hearsay.
That’s why we’ll dispel some of these lies below, helping you approach your link-building strategy with a clear head.
Lie #1: You Only Need Great Content
If there’s one thing the top-dog of the search engine world, Google, has been consistent on, it’s this:
Content is king.
No matter to what degree you optimize your website for on or off-page SEO, if you don’t have great content – you won’t make much progress climbing the SERP rankings.
That being said, some website owners make the critical mistake of interpreting this as “I only need great content.” It may be true for websites that already have high numbers of organic traffic, domain authority, and brand awareness. Because their content is already easy to find, it creates a snowball effect where new content automatically leads to new backlinks.
However, for most, that’s simply not the case, especially when just starting out. You’ll need to be much more proactive about promoting your content and getting others to link to it. Luckily, professional link-building services like this, work with SEO agencies to offer holistic digital marketing solutions.
Remember, Google incentivizes linking to high-authority domains to get more value out of external links. If you’re still in the process of building your domain authority, there is simply less incentive to link to your content, even if it’s found and is high quality.
Lie #2: Ranking for Google’s Algorithm is the Only Thing That Matters
From RankBrain to Google BERT, many SEO experts have staked their entire careers on being able to game Google’s algorithms.
However, as any real expert will tell you, ranking highly on SERPs is not the only thing that matters. A successful digital marketing campaign is one that approaches SEO holistically and that isn’t built on shortcuts.
Yes, no one is turning down prime real estate on the prized first page of search results. But, understanding the other reasons why link building is important will lead to better and more lasting results.
For one, securing a link from another site results in immediate as well as ongoing brand visibility that’s independent of Google SERPs. If a reader wants to learn more about something specific in a blog post and is shown your link, there’s a high chance they’ll end up on your website.
Earning the trust of other domains to link to yours also just looks good for your brand.
Lastly, you should be looking at link-building campaigns as an opportunity to network within related niches. Instead of looking at it as a one-time chore, see it as a long-term opportunity to keep growing your brand’s influence.
Plus, research shows that less than half of Google searches end in organic clicks to non-Google sites. Clearly, SERP rankings are important, but they aren’t the whole story.
Lie #3: Quantity is Everything in Your Outreach Campaigns
So, we want more backlinks. And, we want them from as many different sources as possible.
Easy! All you need to do is blast as many other domains as possible with an email outreach campaign, right?
Well, not exactly.
Sometimes quality trumps quantity. Many SEO experts believe strongly in the 80/20 rule: that means to put 80% of your effort into 20% of your leads. By focussing your efforts on a smaller pool of leads, you’ll be able to:
- Find the most relevant and high-authority domains
- Make a stronger case through highly personalized and well-crafted outreach emails
It only makes sense that it will be harder to compete for links from high authority domains. At the same time, it’s proven that personalized outreach campaigns are much more likely to succeed.
It’s unlikely that you’ll get a link after just one email. You’ll need to create a dialogue and nurture a relationship. However, if you’re successful, this will create more value in the long run.
Lie #4: Only Chase the Whales
If you look through Lie #3, good for you!
Unfortunately, some take this too far, only focussing their back-linking campaigns on the top single-digit high domains.
Yes, if you’re successful, you’ll have highly relevant and valuable backlinks to your content. However, that’s a big IF. Also, you’ll lack variety when it comes to niches and backlinking domains.
Just as in life, it’s all about balance.
While Google does reward high-authority backlinks more, it also takes variety and volume into account. Plus, having a large number of backlinks from only a small number of domains will look suspicious.
If you’re in a very niche pursuit, it might also be the case that almost all the high authority domains aren’t very relevant to your content. In this case, it might be more algorithmically worth it to get links from a site that has lower DA but is more relevant.
It may also be easier to establish long-term “relationships” with other new, up-and-coming websites. If they produce quality content, they may yet grow into a high authority website. Like interest, these backlinks will pay dividends as their authority grows over time.
Lie #5: All Follow Links are Equal
If you don’t know, there are two types of backlinks: No-follow and Dofollow. Links with the no-follow attribute do not result in any Google PageRank score for the website being linked to.
This leads many to believe that you are only to make sure that your backlinks are DoFollow, and you’re good to go. As long as it’s from the same domain, two DoFollow links will pass the same ranking to your website.
Once again, things aren’t that simple.
Google’s algorithm takes into account a number of other factors, such as from which section of the website or exact page the link is and where it’s located on the page. For example, a link that’s above the fold (the visible area when a web page first loads) is worth more than a link near the bottom of a page.
Many are turned off by the more technical aspects of link building. In this case, working with a link-building agency like Uprankly.com can be of help.
Google can even estimate how easy or challenging it is to earn a link on a specific page based on its content and purpose.
If at all possible, you’ll want to try and secure follow links with the highest possible value.
Lie #6: You Only Need to Link to *Insert Here* Pages
This lie is a hot topic of debate in the SEO community. Depending on who you listen to, you should try to exclusively link to your home/landing pages, blog posts, or money pages (income generating pages).
The issue with this is that it violates known guidelines about how the Google algorithm and consumer minds work.
From an algorithmic standpoint, Google doesn’t only take into account the content of the origin page and the page being linked to. It also takes into account the context of the link on the original page and compares it with where users end up on your website.
That means that some links will be more relevant when directed to your landing/home pages, others to your sales pages, and others to specific blog posts.
Linking only to your sales pages can come across as overly aggressive, to both visitors and Google. If users follow a link and are unsure why it takes them to a specific page, it will turn them off and likely result in them bouncing off your website altogether.
Lie #7: You Don’t Need Backlinks to Rank
Last but not least, let’s address a completely false but stubborn myth.
This is simply not true.
Google’s PageRank algorithm takes a number of factors into account, including backlinks. In fact, the #1 result on Google SERPs has on average 3.8x as many backlinks as the next 9 results.
Perhaps the most important truth you can get from this article is that there is no simple truth when it comes to link-building. Whenever you come across a phrase like “only this matters,” you should immediately put on your skeptical hat.
Legimitally building almost any backlinks without violating Google’s policies will be good for your website. That’s not only true for your SERP rankings, but for your brand awareness as well.
However, the most suitable for you will depend on your time, knowledge, niche, and what you want to achieve. By ignoring the lies and focusing on developing the best strategy for you is the best first step on the way to sustainable growth.