We all know how important link building is in SEO these days.
In fact, Brian Dean of Backlinko says:
Despite all the hoopla and hype over social signals and content, ranking in Google is still all about backlinks. (Smart Passive Income)
For most marketers, the goal of creating and sharing great content also encompasses getting backlinks and boosting their rank in search.
Of course, we now live in a time when link building can be automated. Software tools as well as cheap outsourcing are readily available at your fingertips.
However, there are some pitfalls to automating your link building efforts. Let's take a look.
1. Quality Matters More Than Quantity
You can have a lot of links pointing back to you, but if they aren't quality links, it won't necessarily boost your rank in search.
Google puts a greater focus on organic growth these days, which means a sudden influx of links to your site can appear unnatural.
When a human being links to you, it leaves a trail of evidence. When a machine links to you, it leaves a different kind of trail of evidence.
At first, the shotgun approach of software automation may seem alluring, but its effects may have very little upside, and possibly even some downside.
2. Automation Offers Less Control
Your goal as a business should be to manage your online reputation and care about the quality of links you're getting.
Automation means less control. Software tools may be able to take advantage of loopholes or exploits, but the links you get won't necessarily be targeted or focused.
Having dozens or even hundreds of irrelevant links pointing back to your website doesn't really benefit you or your prospective customers.
You want your links to be placed on relevant sites and blogs, in appropriate locations. You don't want them scattered all over the place.
3. Automation Can Harm Your Reputation
Not only does automated link building offer you less control, it can actually harm your reputation with other site and blog owners.
This largely depends on the types of tactics the software tool uses, but if it involves leaving irrelevant comments on various blogs across the internet, rest assured it can get squashed just as soon as it goes up.
In most cases, blog owners will view these types of comments as spam, and immediately weed them out or delete them.
Now when that blogger or site owner sees your company name, they will have a negative association with it. Is it really worth the trouble?
4. Automation Can Harm Your Rankings
Let's say that Google catches on to the unnatural growth in backlinks to your site.
Not only does your site get de-ranked, you'll actually find it really hard to repair the damage you've done!
Search engines don't forgive quickly. It's not impossible to regain your rankings, but it will take considerable time and effort.
At first sight, it may seem like automation could get you off to a great start, but in reality, it can have the opposite effect, especially if Google grows wise to your strategy.
5. Your Website Performance Can Diminish
While automation software may have certain upsides, the wrong tool can also slow down and diminish the performance of your site.
This is particularly bad if you already have a lot of traffic coming to your site. You don't want to turn away potential customers, right?
Remember what was said earlier about machines leaving their traces?
A slow website can be a tell-tale sign that an automation tool is being used by the site owner, and that's problematic, because that means search engines know what you're up to.
Automated link building is generally perceived as unethical.
If you can set it up right, this type of link building can bring positive results.
However, you would have to be far more strategic and calculated than most tools allow you to be.
In general, the tactics they use can do more harm than good.
Natural, organic growth is the best type of growth. Ideally, you should take your time, invest the effort, and earn your links as you go.
Image: India7 Network