How to Build Links Search Engines Will Like on Your Web Marketing Site

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

In web marketing, you can get into trouble when link building because for years, link building has been abused as an SEO strategy. So, search engines have put automatic filters and whole teams of engineers and editors in place to check for

  • Sudden, unexplained link growth

  • Links from bad neighborhoods

    That’s SEO shorthand for a group of sites known to be sleazy. If you go out and acquire 100 links from sites selling suspicious pharmaceuticals or get-rich-quick schemes, you might end up associated with them in the search engines. That will hurt your ability to get a high ranking.

  • Signs that you’re selling links

  • Any other sign that you’re getting links purely to improve your ranking

You can get yourself into trouble in a few classic ways, though. Steer clear of these topics.

Link buying and selling

At one point, anyone with a budget could go out and buy dozens of links from quality websites, thereby helping his or her rankings. Ah, the good old days.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. In 2007, Google cracked down hard on websites that were selling links. As a result, those sites either dropped out of the Google index or fell so low in the rankings that they might as well have.

If you sell links, you risk severe penalties from search engines. They really don’t like that. Yes, you’ll find all sorts of ridiculous double standards. It doesn’t matter. Shaking your fist because you got dumped from the rankings but another site didn’t won’t help you after you’re penalized.

Don’t sell links. And, if you buy links, you risk

  • Acquiring a lot of links suddenly and tripping the search engines’ spam alarms

    That can result in a temporary but automatic drop in the rankings — that’s no fun at all.

  • Getting caught up in the mess if a link broker is discovered and his websites are banned

  • Spending a lot of money on links that end up worthless

Don’t buy links.

Link exchanges

Exchanging links with another website probably won’t hurt you, but it won’t help, either. Search engines figured out this trick years ago and ignore any reciprocal links.

Link trading can hurt if you end up in a bad neighborhood. If you’re linking to those sites and they link back to you, they may take you down with them if they get penalized.

Link networks

Never, ever, join a link network. Most of these networks ask you to provide link text and a URL. Then they seed your URL among many other sites, in exchange for you posting a few links from their network.

It sounds good, but it makes inclusion in a bad neighborhood even more likely than a link trade. Plus, you give up all control over who links to you and how. And, these networks are known as the worst offenders when it comes to SEO cheating.

Don’t use link networks, link “wheels,” or whatever folks name them to try to get you to buy. Ever.