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The Art of Link Building


Using link building as part of your SEO strategy can be a roll of the dice.

Links are important for achieving higher rankings and search visibility. However, as Google cracks down more and more on practices deemed as spam, the risks of link building are just as great.

Though it remains an important ranking factor for most search engines, link building is fraught with black-hat tactics and bad actors – one wrong move, and you may end up taking a walk on the dark side.

So, how do you steer clear of the common link-building pitfalls?

The Dark Side Of Link Building

So, what exactly is on the “dark side” of link building? What happens to sites that use spammy SEO tactics in their link development strategies?

The thing about black-hat tactics is that they sometimes work really well – that is, until they don’t. When they stop working, they tend to implode. And when that happens, you could be in for a lot of work undoing the damage.”

And if you’re not careful, your website could wind up banished to the outer regions of Google forever (or at least until you clean up your backlink profile and win back your good standing).

Manual penalties by Google may be rare, but they aren’t the only risks of poor link-building tactics.

Ultimately, they can be very costly, as you’ll end up wasting money on links that either don’t work now or will stop working in the future.

Avoiding Penalties Proactively

The best way to avoid the dark side of link building and milk the strategy for all it’s worth is to avoid penalties proactively. This is the framework you need to use to do it:

Start with a solid strategy. 

Before you ever build a single link, start with a solid strategy. It’s on you to understand the mechanics of link building and the terms and conditions of Google and other search engines. You should know exactly what it takes to build a high-quality, natural link, and you should be prepared to follow those criteria exactly. You also should have a documented strategy in place for all your employees or contractors to follow, so you never run the risk of building a problematic link that hurts your reputation.

Work with vetted partners. 

Many companies struggle to build links on their own, in part because it’s an overwhelming responsibility, both in terms of knowledge and time expenditure. Instead, they turn to the help of link building agencies and contractors. This can be enormously beneficial, but it can also work against you if you choose the wrong partner. Always make sure to vet your partners carefully, and choose people who are going to practice white hat link building tactics.

Use a backlink or website rankings checker. 

A backlink checker is a tool meant to help you identify and evaluate all the links currently pointing to your website. Other website rankings checker tools allow you to see your current position compared to the competition. When you enter your domain, you’ll populate a massive list of all the links pointing to that domain and where they’re coming from. Here, you can measure the success of your link building campaign so far and pinpoint any links that might be problematic. This is especially helpful if you know you’ve experienced a penalty or a ranking drop; it will help you narrow down the list and identify the source of the problem.

The Bright Side Of Link Building

Link building isn’t all bad when used carefully.

The good news is there are steps you can take to build your links safely without risking your site’s search visibility and rankings.

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