Are you stuck in your past? Hanging on to the good old days of link-building when SEO was simple and easy to understand? Whether for good or otherwise, those days are done for, and with them, practices of the old have gone too. Unfortunately, many of us still hold on to the old link-building practices which no longer apply, and could prove to be counter-productive to your SEO efforts. Here are some old link-building practices that you need to get rid of!
1. Directory Submissions
Not all directories are bad. But the problem happens when you start placing your site in directories like crazy - some of these directories might not even be relevant!
Directories used to help search engines find sites, and as you can imagine, such links mattered a lot. However, search engines have grown huge, and no longer need to rely on those directories to find websites. So the point of most directories now is moot.
2. Generic Emails
We now live in a world of digital footprints. Blogs, social media, search engines — these things make finding information on a person extremely easy…especially bloggers. People no longer want to be addressed as the masses - they want personalization and special attention.
Many bloggers make the mistake of creating one single email campaign, and send it to an entire list without stopping to think about who they're reaching out to. If they can't take the time to do that, then subscribers don't want to take time out for them.
And this is more true for bloggers and website owners than the layman.
When reaching out through email, take the time to find out exactly whom it is you are reaching out to. Ask yourself who is the owner of the site, what might they be interested in and how can they be reached. Maybe they prefer social communication, or maybe they're not interested in linking at all!
3. Looking at a website's PageRank value
PageRank is Google's way of measuring a page’s value. The goal of any link builder is to find pages with a high value (or PageRank) to link back. Link building services actually used to (and still do) charge not just by the link but the PageRank of that link. The higher the PR, the more costly the link.
Getting a high PR link nowadays doesn't mean the same thing as before. Unless a high value link sends leads, is a major industry site and adds value, it is a useless link. Just looking at the PR doesn't help anymore. A lot of bloggers have this habit of opening up a directory, and extracting a list of websites with the top PR. They then try to get links from them, not understanding the importance of relevance.
When evaluating a website as a potential backlink, as yourself whether the site and its authors are reputable, whether it has good incoming links and a positive web presence, and if the content is well-written. The answer to most of these questions should be Yes before you proceed.
4. Keyword-Specific Anchor Text
Anchor texts are supposed to tell the users and search engines what they can expect to find on that next page. It was considered a good SEO practice to place links on target keywords as anchor texts, and it helped websites rank better. So many bloggers started using this technique to spam search engines and
add keyword-specific anchor text everywhere they could. A phenomenon now referred to as SEO over-optimization.
Search engines now are smart, and no longer need keywords to help them correlate links and websites. This is not to say that the inference process is perfect, and that links are no longer valuable. But nowadays, a straight-up URL might be almost as good as a keyword-focused link. I say 'almost' because you cannot replace the all-important focus-keywords, not yet anyway. But you don't want to over-do it either.
The point is, as long as it’s a good site linking to you, don’t be concerned about what the anchor text says. Hell, if the NYT wanted to link to my personal blog, I wouldn't care if it used 'xyz' as the anchor text :P
So, do you still follow your old ways? After reading this post, you should know better, and I hope it has helped you improve your SEO practices with respect to link-building. Give us a shout-out in the comments section below if you liked this post :)