6 Outdated Linkbuilding Techniques You’re Still Using

No area of SEO has evolved more than linkbuilding. Unfortunately, if you’re still using any of these outdated linkbuilding techniques, you’re not boosting your ranking – you’re damaging your website.

 

1. Directory Submissions

The promise

Directories are the internet equivalent of a phonebook, containing lists of thousands of websites, categorized by topic and subject matter. There were (and still are) hundreds of directories, covering every niche imaginable – and the majority of them allow free website submissions. By taking the time to submit your website URL to the directory, you can receive a completely free backlink – and a boost to traffic from the directory’s visitors. Simply rinse and repeat a few dozen times, and your link profile receives a healthy boost!

Why it doesn’t work:

When was the last time you searched for a website through a directory site? Much like phonebooks, directories are now completely redundant. Search engines have replaced them as the dominant tool for finding relevant websites – and Google and co. have realized. Links from most directory sites carry virtually no SEO value, and en masse submission is more likely to lead to a site penalization than a rank boost.

 

2. Blog Commenting

The promise

With millions of blog posts published each year, it wasn’t long before pioneering SEO-experts found a way to capitalize on them. Most blogs have a Comments section that allows users to leave thoughts, feedback…and hyperlinks. By identifying industry-relevant blogs, it’s possible to drop links back to your own website, either in the comment itself, or through the Your Website section of the response form. In-texts links are subject to site Admin-approval, but Your Website links are almost always approved.

Why it doesn’t work:

Anchor text. It’s the word or phrase used to contain a hyperlink. There was a time when it was beneficial to optimize anchor text, and stuff it full of as many keywords as possible. Sadly, as with most SEO tricks, Google eventually wised-up. Nowadays, Google monitors a site’s anchor text, and looks for two key factors: niche relevance, and diversity. Blog commenting tends to distort your anchor text, forcing you to leave backlinks with identical anchors – your name. These links alert Google on both counts, being both irrelevant to your website and completely undiversified.

 

3. Content Farms and Ezines

The promise

Ezines, content mills and article submission directories, different names for the same thing: content farms. Sites like Hubpages and Squidoo allow for content creation on a staggering scale. Articles on emerging trends, popular news stories and industry developments are pumped-out by the thousand, with submissions coming from community members, journalists and, of course, SEO professionals. By creating and submitting hundreds of articles, thousands of backlinks can be acquired – allowing businesses to build links quickly, efficiently and extremely cheaply.

Why it doesn’t work:

A little something called Panda. Google’s now-infamous algorithm update was created with the sole intention of identifying and destroying content farms… at least in terms of SEO value. Most content farms had incredibly low barriers to entry, and would publish any content, from any author. This lead to huge databases of completely worthless, keyword-stuffed, spam-ridden content. The value of the websites became undermined, forcing Google to tackle the problem head-on – dropping farms from their rankings, and devaluing all of their backlinks. Ouch.

 

4. Press Releases

The promise

Content creation is one of the few linkbuilding techniques that has stood the test of time – with one exception. Press Releases are an old-school, old-fashioned and completely outdated type of content creation that thousands of SEO professionals still use. The basic premise is simple: your website issues a statement about itself, and sends it to dozens of press release websites. These sites then publish the content – linking back to your site in the process. Sounds a lot like blogging right?

Why it doesn’t work:

Too much like blogging. Press releases inhabit a weird middle ground between journalism and blogging, combining self-promotional content with third-party publishing. Their reputation was worsened by the staggering frequency with which most SEO pros issued press releases – publishing meaningless content on a daily basis. Unfortunately, neither people nor search engines care about your new office space, or your latest client – and Google has long since devalued most PR sites. Stick to blogging!

 

5. Blog Rolls

The promise

A decade ago, it was common practice to include a blog roll in your website’s sidebar. Containing links to other blogs and related websites, it was viewed as a useful tool for resource-hungry visitors and SEO experts alike. Getting a site included on a blog roll provided a relevant backlink to a page of your choice, and by adding a target website to your own blog roll, earning a reciprocal link was as easy as sending a basic outreach email.

Why it doesn’t work:

Social media. Blog rolls were a fantastic tool for building relationships with other businesses, and promoting each other’s content to a relevant target audience. With the popularization of social media sites, this need became redundant. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram, businesses can engage with their peers in seconds. Tweets, shares, direct messages, public lists and blogging roundups are more popular than ever – and blog rolls have become a dying breed.

6. Buying Links

Google’s crackdown on linkbuilding has been fuelled by one primary objective: eliminate bought links. As a result of Google’s algorithm changes and high-profile penalizations hitting the news every day, few businesses are willing to swap links for money. Instead, it’s far better to perform outreach with a purpose, offering your recipient genuine value through your content, resources or help.

 

What you can do instead

Thankfully, legitimate outreach is easier than ever, thanks to increasingly sophisticated automated backlink tools. Competitive linkbuilding allows you to identify the businesses that are responsive to this style of linkbuilding – and by automating the entire process, you can build links in a safe, efficient and effective way.

 

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