Ben Holland answers: “What are Some Bad Link Building Techniques That Should Be Avoided?”
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Hi, I’m Ben, an Account Manager here at Vertical Measures. Today I’m going to answer a question we get a lot. What are some bad link building techniques that we shouldn’t do any more?
These techniques have been around for a long time, and they were very beneficial in the past, but now Google has dropped the hammer with the Panda and Penguin updates, and they’re no longer viable. You should not practice these at all, whatsoever.
Today I’m going to cover five different topics: Article marketing, spamming forums and comments, free directories, site-wide footer and site-wide sidebar links. These are all bad practices that used to be very profitable, but now are just dropping you in the rankings instead of increasing them.
First I’ll touch upon article marketing. Article marketing is when you write up about a simple topic, 500 to 800 words, and then you give it to an article site. You have your link inside of the article, so it gives you link juice back to your site. They post it for a small amount of time, and then the article is taken down.
There are two things that are bad with article marketing. One is spinning articles. A lot of these sites will take the content that you’ve developed, put it in a program and spin the content so the words are different, but it talks about the same thing. In many cases, it’s not even legible, and they’ll just have your link all over the Internet with bad content surrounding it. This builds lots of bad links to your site, so it is a bad idea, as well as the limited lifetime of these links. Many article sites will only have your article up for a month, six months, or a year. After a while, your link becomes dead, and it’s of no value to begin with.
Next is spamming forum and comments. This was a big practice early in the 2000s, where you’d go into a forum that talks about the topic your site is about, or maybe a blog that has lots of open comments on it. Then you write about your site, how it relates to the forum post or the blog post, and then link back. This was a great practice, but no longer. Google is devaluing all of these links, and they’re not even follows any more. Most of the time moderators will take it down if you put a post up that is purely just to get your link on their website.
The next is free directories. Directories were a really good practice four or five years ago, especially the free ones. You don’t put any money in, and your site is listed amongst all the other sites in your topic and sending juice to you. Great domain authority on these sites, but no more. These free directories are not passing juice any more. It’s a bad idea to put your link on there because it will have a negative effect on your SEO. If you have your link in a bunch of free directories, Google’s going to see that as a sign that you’re spamming the directories, and they’re not going to value your site as high on the SERP.
Next are the site-wide footer and site-wide sidebar links. I’m going to take these in tandem as they’re about the same thing. A site-wide sidebar is usually, on a WordPress site, on the right-hand side or the left-hand side. You’ll see there are a bunch of links, previous posts, maybe reference sites, something like that, even sponsors. Those links go across the entire domain, as well as the footer links. Your link up here is on every single page for that. That can send you up to thousands of links to your site from that site. That’s not good. They don’t want to see a bunch of links from a single page to your site. You want to have a good link from a good site in a certain spot. You don’t want it to be all over and appear spammy.
These are five link building techniques that you should avoid moving forward. I’m Ben Holland, and thank you for listening.