7 Link Building Tactics to Avoid

Many webmasters have seen significant drops in traffic and rankings in recent weeks, thanks to the Penguin Update. Most of the sites that were hit by this update had aggressive link-building profiles characterized by unnatural anchor text and links from low-quality sites. Rather than being penalized, these sites’ backlinks were devalued, which led to a drop in traffic and rankings. If you want to prevent this from happening to your site or pick up the pieces and reestablish your site’s search engine visibility after the Penguin Update, avoid these 7 questionable link-building tactics.

1. Article marketing

Article marketing used to be an easy way to build links and boost rankings, but most article marketing sites have been devalued by Google and other major search engines because they have such low-quality content. It requires little effort or creativity to hammer out the substandard articles accepted by article marketing sites.

2. Poor guest blog posts

Guest blogging is an effective, white hat link-building tactic that has become wildly popular over the last couple of years, but a growing number of people abuse the technique. There are some very low-quality blogs out there that accept guest blog posts with excessive links. If your site’s link profile is full of guest post links from low-quality sites, don’t expect search engines to be pleased. Focus on writing high-quality blog posts for reputable websites if you want your guest blogging efforts to bear fruit.

3. Site-wide links

If your link profile has a high proportion of site-wide footer links with keyword anchor text, you probably felt Google’s wrath during the Penguin Update. The overuse of site-wide footer links is considered a no-no by Google, so avoid it at all costs.

4. Low-quality press releases

Spammers syndicate press releases packed with backlinks via free, low-quality press release sites because there are no editorial guidelines or costs to worry about. Avoid syndicating press releases in this manner if you want to maintain good search engine visibility and avoid having your backlinks devalued. Stick with paid press release sites that only publish high-quality press releases. Furthermore, don’t publish press releases solely for the sake of obtaining backlinks. Publish press releases when you actually have something newsworthy to announce.

5. Directories

Directories with no standards (and trust us, there are tons of them) don’t offer any value. The only worthwhile directory links come from reputable local business directories, such as Yelp, and industry directories that receive a significant amount of traffic.

6. Forum links

Forum links are generally considered to be spam because the majority of forums aren’t moderated sufficiently and get overrun by spammers. Getting forum links is generally a waste of time, unless you actually become an active forum user who provides valuable contributions.

7. Social bookmarking sites

There are so many abandoned social bookmarking sites filled with spammy links that carry no value whatsoever. Adding your links to social bookmarking sites that get no traffic or attention is an absolute waste of time. Getting social media attention is becoming increasingly important in SEO, but search engines can spot phony social media activity from a mile away.

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