For most things that I do in life, I like to have a few hard and fast rules, some things I am careful off, and I like to keep things pretty simple and not over complicate them too much. I treat link building in the same fashion, and so there are a few things that I try and avoid and a couple of rules that I follow. The first and only major thing to avoid is to SPAM. And the major rule I try to follow is to be natural.
Obviously there are a lot of spammers out there on the internet. They might be black hat SEO’s or they might just have too much time on their hands, or they might be link builders. What is a spammer? For me, a spammer is someone whose sole aim is to build a link, without adding any value to the other website. A blog comment like ‘great post’ with a link, or maybe a forum signature that has lots of links in it without adding any value to the forum itself.
If this is your link building strategy then you may have some initial success. But be prepared that many of your links will be deleted. Forum and blog owners usually take some pride in their websites and resent people using their website for personal gain without giving anything back.
Don’t get me wrong, forums and blogs can be a great source of links and a useful part of a link building strategy. But don’t deface someone else’s website with your link. Add value to their website and I am sure they will be more than happy for you to add a link.
The second rule I follow after DON’T SPAM, is be natural. What is natural? Now, just suppose for a minute that I am a search engine. And I see a website that has lots of links. And for a minute I think that this site might be important. Then I see that the site has all of the links with optimised anchor text. These are the words that form your link – like ‘Click here’. Then I see that all of the links point at the home page of the website. And then I see that all of the links are ‘do follow’ links. Maybe, just maybe by now I am starting to get a little bit suspicious.
Is it possible to over optimise your website? Ask someone that has had their website removed from the search engines all together and they will probably say yes. Search engines don’t want you to manipulate their results, and they exact severe punishment for people that are seen trying to manipulate their results. And for most people, if your site is removed from the results, the best thing to do is to start again. Sure you can apply to be re-instated, and plead your case, but if the big G decides you have been doing the wrong thing then you might just have to start again.
So, when you are looking at a link and it is ‘no follow’ – take it. And if a webmaster won’t give you the anchor text you want – no problem. And where is the line when it comes to link bulding? Well you won’t really know until you are on the wrong side of it – and then it is too late.
That’s it. My two rules for link building. Where you looking for something more complicated than that? Sorry about that. In the words of Zig Ziglar the famous American motivational speaker – ‘If you give enough other people what they want, you will get what you want.’ Website owners want quality content to add to their sites and members that will create intelligent informed discussion. And link builders want links. If the link builders meet the website owners somewhere in the middle then everyone is happy.
Remember Rule number one is Don’t Spam. And rule number two is be natural.