Beginner Link Building Mistakes to Avoid in 2023
Link building is vital for SEO. Yet, many beginners stumble into pitfalls. Discover prevalent link-building errors and sidestep them to solidify your SEO.
When I embarked on my digital journey, I started my first blog on Medium, naive to its potential impact. Over time, as I delved deeper into the realm of SEO and link-building, I grasped the importance of domain control and eventually built my own website, cryptoneur.xyz. Throughout this article, I'll draw from these experiences, highlighting the trials and triumphs of my link-building ventures.
Link building is a crucial part of SEO, but beginners often make mistakes that can harm their efforts. Learn about common link building mistakes and how to avoid them in your SEO strategy.
Management guru Peter Drucker once said:
If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.
This is true for link building as well. If you don't track your main backlink metrics, you won't know if your link building efforts are working or not.
Set Up Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to track your backlinks as well as the organic clicks and impressions you get from Google Search traffic.
Regarding links, it will give you a high level overview on:
- How many external links you have to each page
- Top linking domains
- How many internal links you have to each page
Set Up the Free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free resource a wealth of information about your backlinks, keywords, and website issues, helping you optimize your site and improve your SEO strategy.
Domain Rating (DR): Ahrefs' proprietary metric that shows the strength of your website's total backlink profile (in terms of its size and quality). It ranges from 0 to 100, with the difficulty increasing as the score gets higher.
Backlinks: The number of links pointing to your website.
Organic Keywords: The number of keywords your website ranks for in Google's top 100 search results.
Building links on third-party domains might seem like a convenient option at first. I remember when I initiated my blogging journey on Medium, attracted by its user-friendly interface and vast readership. However, I soon realized the pitfalls of not having direct control over my domain, particularly from an SEO perspective.
A third-party domain is a domain that you don't own. Many beginners start posting their content on Medium, LinkedIn, GitHub pages or other third-party domains. While this is a great way to get started, it's not a good long-term strategy.
The primary reasons to avoid building links on third-party domains are twofold:
Lack of Ownership: When you create content on a third-party domain, you don't own that content - the platform does. This means that if the platform ever shuts down or changes its policies, you risk losing all your content and the links associated with it.
Limited Control Over Backlinks: Even if you succeed in acquiring high-quality backlinks to your content on a third-party domain, the benefits are not as significant as they could be. Since you don't own the domain, you lack the ability to control or redirect these links to pass on the SEO benefits, often referred to as "link juice," to your own domain.
Instead of building links on a third-party domain, you should build links on your own domain. This way, you'll own the domain and have full control over the backlinks.
An advanced SEO strategy is to acquire an aged domain with a strong backlink profile. This approach can provide a significant boost to your link building efforts right from the start.
Buying a domain is as easy as going to Namecheap and searching for a domain name. When buying a domain I use the following two tools to find the best domain:
DomainsGPT: Generate brandable & memorable domain names using AI.Keyword in Domain
Including a keyword in your domain name can also be beneficial for SEO. However, it's important not to overdo it. Your domain name should be brandable and easy to remember, not just a string of keywords.
Namevine: This tool allows you to check if the name of your choice is available on all major social media platforms. For me it's not a deal breaker if the name is not available on all platforms, but it's a nice to have.
SEO is a long-term strategy. It takes time for your efforts to pay off, and you need to be patient.
According to Maile Ohye, Google (former Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google) you should allow 4 months to a year for SEO to work:
In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.
Ahrefs also asked 4,300 people how long it took them to rank in the top 10 results on Google. The results were as follows:
Based on this data, it's safe to say that you should allow at least 3 monts to see the first results of your SEO efforts.
Internal linking is a crucial part of SEO. It helps search engines understand the structure of your website and how pages are related to each other. By strategically using internal links, you can guide both users and search engines to your most important pages. This not only improves site navigation but also boosts the SEO value of those pages.
Furthermore, internal linking helps spread 'link juice' around your website, enhancing the overall SEO performance. It also increases dwell time by encouraging visitors to explore more content on your site, which can positively impact your site's ranking.
There are many different types of links, and not all of them are created equal. Some links are more valuable than others, and some can even harm your SEO efforts.
When it comes to link building, it's important to understand the different types of links and their impact on your SEO efforts.
Backlinks from strong webpages usually transfer more "authority" than weak ones. Pages that have backlinks cast a stronger vote. However, the more links there are on the page that links to you, the less authority will be transferred to you because it's shared between all of those pages (due to the PageRank algorithm).
Ahrefs' Domain Rating (DR) metric is a good proxy for a page's authority. You can see the DR of any page with the Free Backlink Checker.
Links from websites on the same topic as yours are deemed to bring more value. For example, if a plumber has backlinks from two pages: one about cats, and one about installing boilers, chances are the latter link is most valuable.
Anchor text refers to the clickable words that form a backlink. Google says that anchor text influences rankings in its original patent. You can see the anchor text of any backlink in Ahrefs as well as Google Search Console.
Nofollow is a link attribute that instructs Google not to follow the link and serves as a hint not to pass authority. A followed link is a link that doesn’t have that attribute nor the “sponsored” or “UGC” attributes. Because nofollow links usually don’t influence rankings, it’s best to prioritize getting followed links.
Because people are more likely to click prominently placed links, some links on webpages likely pass more authority than others. Consider this when pursuing links. If your link will likely end up in the site’s footer or along with 50 other sites in the sidebar, then put your energy into other opportunities.
Because Google ranks pages and not entire websites, it’s best to build links pointing directly to the page that you want to rank. However, getting links to some page types is harder. For example, getting links to commercial pages is often difficult because people prefer linking to informative content. To address this, you can use internal links to pass authority from pages that get a lot of links to your important but “boring” pages.
Backlink outreach is a great way to build links, but it's important to have a value proposition. If you don't have a value proposition, you'll likely get ignored or rejected by the person you're reaching out to.
Here are some common value propositions that you can use in your outreach:
Guest Post: Offer to write a guest post for their blog. This is a great way to get a link from a high-quality website.
Link Exchange: Offer to exchange links with them. This is a great way to get a link from a website that has a similar audience as yours.
Free Product: Offer to send them a free product in exchange for a link.
Broken Link: Offer to fix a broken link on their website.
Paid Link: Offer to pay them for a link.
Affiliate Link: Offer to promote their product or service as an affiliate.
BacklinkGPT offers you an easy way to create personalized outreach messages with a value proposition.
Creating high-quality content is not just about writing well. It's about providing value to your readers. This could be in the form of informative articles, engaging videos, useful tools, or insightful infographics. The more valuable your content is, the more likely it is to attract backlinks.
Link building is key to SEO. Avoid common mistakes by tracking backlink metrics, building links on your domain, being patient with SEO results, using internal linking, understanding link types, offering value in outreach, and creating high-quality content.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. By avoiding these mistakes, you're ahead in the race.
AI-Powered Link Building: Why I built BacklinkGPT
Explore the journey of leveraging AI for link building and backlink outreach. Learn about the 4-step SEO process, the challenges of manual link building, and how BacklinkGPT automates this process, making it efficient and less time-consuming.