Joel Klettke is a Search Engine Optimization specialist at Vovia. Joel's also an experienced writer and local marketing expert.

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5 Bad Link Building Habits To Avoid

badhabitWant to make the most of your link building? Don’t let these bad link building habits cost you time and money!

1. Fail to Plan? Plan to Fail!

When NASA sent a man to the moon, careful planning and strategy went
into every last detail of the lunar flight. While SEO isn’t rocket
science, trying to fly by the seat of your pants will rarely get you off
the launch pad.

Ask yourself,

  • What types of links does this site already have? Where do we need to improve (anchor text, authority)?
  • Where is my industry active online? If so where and how can I engage them?
  • What is the unique sales proposition of my website? Of my
    company? How can I take what’s unique about my business and turn it into
    a linking opportunity?
  • How is my business involved offline? How might this translate into linking opportunities?
  • What are my competitors doing? How can I imitate or improve upon what they’ve done?

Create a list of linking opportunities and then prioritize. What links
are low-hanging fruit? Which ones require time or money to acquire?
Where do you need to build relationships? Organizing a plan of attack
will keep you focused instead of blindly chasing every opportunity you

2. Lost in A Sea of Spreadsheets

To quote the sage wisdom of Mary Poppins, “A place for everything and
everything in its place”. Poorly tracking your link building campaigns
(or not tracking them at all) can cost you hours of time and hundreds of
missed opportunities. Don’t drown in a sea of
spreadsheets that never get cross-referenced.

Not sure how to track?

  • Create or buy a centralized database.  If you’re not using a link
    managing software, start investigating.
  • Track important metrics: the link type, page rank, price, anchor
    text, the date you contacted/submitted and the contact information you
    used. Trust me, you’ll need it later.
  • Track the niche of the opportunity – you may get another client in the same industry.
  • Track poor opportunities and dead ends. This will help you avoid investigating them again later on.

3. The Canned E-mail

“Dear kind Sir/Madam,
What a lovely site. I am contacting you for the purpose of exchanging links. Please e-mail me to discuss this  opportunity further.”

Yuck! If you’re sending out a canned message, don’t be surprised when you crash and burn. While templates can save you time and effort it’s better to invest the time in being personable.

  • Be genuine. If you like their site, give them specific reasons why. Stroke their ego – flattery will get you everywhere.
  • Be compelling. What makes your content worth sharing? What is your added value?
  • Be persistent. Don’t pester webmasters, but don’t give up if you don’t hear back the first time. If the answer is a no, try to find out why without being a mosquito. Maybe you can create other content they’ll find more interesting?

4. Unnatural Selection

Many well-meaning SEO’s go
out and create an enormous number of links with exactly the anchor text
they want to rank for. However, doing this en-mass doesn’t look very natural to search engines. A normal link profile has links with anchor text like “Visit website”, “Website” or “Click Here”. While it might seem counter-intuitive, it sometimes makes sense to build links with less than optimal anchor text.

  • Don’t over-optimize! Vary up your anchor text.
  • Don’t reject a linking opportunity just because you can’t get the anchor text you want.

5. The Path Of Least Resistance

The extent of your link building can’t stop at links you can create yourself. We all know getting authoritative links can be really time consuming and difficult. The siren song of cheap and easy directory submissions, blog comments and forum signatures can be hard to resist but just like your anchor text your link sources need to be diverse.

  • Pursue links from authoritative, relevant sources in your niche.
  • Diversify your back link profile! Blog comments and free directories are okay in moderation but you need some muscle behind your link building campaign.
  • Quantity is no replacement for quality. Even a few great links can have a bigger impact than hundreds of mediocre ones.