Backlinks for your website are no longer optional today. These links play greatly into your PageRank and they’re one of the biggest indicators to Google that your website is host to quality content. While all marketers and website owners today know the importance of building these links, it’s still easy to run into mistakes that can get you penalized by search engines.

There is such thing as a bad link building strategy. When link building plays such an important role in optimization, you need to make sure you’re only using high-quality, relevant links that boost the performance of your website on search engines. Are you making any of these 5 common mistakes below? If so, it’s time to solve them for good so your website doesn’t suffer any unwanted consequences.

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1. You buy links on other websites

Buying links is bad news. Google has spoken out about the danger of buying links, and it can get you banned from search engines. SEO is all about natural links. The best way to get natural links is to write content that’s naturally link-able and attracts backlinks. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to get your link on other websites.

The best strategy is to work with a freelancer or agency who can help you with outreach. Creating quality guest posts or articles to publish with approval on relevant blogs is a great way to get a backlink without being seen as spam. This process takes time, but it’s an excellent investment. Getting your link out on the web matters, and it should be a key part of your marketing strategy (source:

2. You’re using no-follow links

A “no-follow” link is a link with a special value letting Google know that this link shouldn’t be counted in search engines. Sponsored content is the most common example of a no-follow link. What you want instead is a “do-follow” link. You’ll most likely find no-follow links in blog comment sessions, forum posts, and sponsored content.

Focusing on no-follow links is a waste of time. You can spot a no-follow link by looking for the tag in the code: <a rel=”nofollow” href=”URL”>anchor text</a>. You can see the href attribute in this link is a no-follow tag.

3. You get links from irrelevant websites

It’s tempting to get your link just about anywhere when you’re first building your outreach strategy. You think more links are better than no links, and that thought process makes sense. However, you should be picky about where you’re getting backlinks from.

Low-quality, irrelevant websites might do more harm than good. Google uses links to learn more about your own website content. If you’re a small internet startup with a link on a gardening blog, that’s not going to be very clear. It will come off as spam, and that’s bad news for your page ranking.

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4. You aren’t paying attention to your anchor text

Anchor text is serious business. Using a vague yet easy to incorporate anchor text like “click here” or “read this” won’t do much for helping your SEO. Using a targeted keyword in your anchor text is much more effective, whenever possible. Just don’t let this keyword become an excuse for not including a natural-sounding anchor text.

Natural always wins any day of the week, but you shouldn’t opt for vague text that says nothing about your website content. A good sign of a quality SEO agency is their focus on the anchor text. An SEO expert will be able to assist with choosing quality anchor texts to use with your backlinks.

5. You’re using too many sitewide links

A rookie mistake in the world of link building is exclusively using sitewide links with the same anchor text. You might as well be waving a red flag in front of Google’s face. The recent update Penguin is flagging websites with too many exact anchor text match backlinks.

If you’re working with clients and you’re adding a site-wide footer link with something along the lines of “Best Marketing Company New York” with a link to your homepage, you should stop doing this ASAP. Instead, use a no-follow link or a branded keyword instead such as “Marketing by Company Name.”

As you can see, backlinks can be tricky. They sound straightforward, but there’s always more to learn and the rules are always changing. The more you can stay educated about trends, algorithm updates, and more, the better equipped you’ll be to find quality backlinks for your website. Just don’t be caught making any of these mistakes above.