Digital Marketing Hacks

Old School Link Building 05

5 Old School Link Building Methods That aren’t Worth Your Time

If you’re lazy to curate high quality content, lazy to guest post, lazy to do a content outreach, lazy to list your business on relevant business directories and are looking for a quick fix with your SEO strategies. I got bad news for you, old school link building methods no longer work as well as they used to.

Over the years, I have flirted and played around with using old school link building methods to drive backlinks back to websites that I built. The results are… close to nothing. It never stuck with me. Furthermore, I enjoyed writing, why would I submit my articles to weird looking directories or spam forums, I would rather be spending time on writing for my own blog and site right?

However, people still do it, and it still works to a certain extent, and I think people will do it until Google finds a way to permanent stop it without devaluing the weightage on ethically built links.

1) Forum Signature Hacking

The first old school technique is participating in forums and then linking back to your website/course/eBook on your signature. There are people that participate in forums whilst doing so, and there are those that go around spamming, creating threads hoping they are able to drive traffic back to their site.

I wouldn’t recommend this method because many forums have disallowed using linked signatures. Secondly, this technique has been widely abused and used by SEOs, Google has also severely devalued this technique. The links generated from signatures are also largely no-follow. There’s no much weightage with them. It’s not really worth the effort.

There’s also an interesting case study done by Ahrefs stating that a removal of forum links helped them increase traffic.

What You Should Do Instead:

If you love forums and are genuine about participating in forums and adding real value to users, then, that’s. Firstly, this will prevent you from getting banned. Secondly, you can then refer the users on the forum to your site or post in the right context to do so.

2) Spam Blog Commenting

Really? It’s 2017, you’re going to go about commenting on blogs just to get that 1 no follow link back to your site, that has no editorial value whatsoever.

Here is one way NOT to do it:

I was being nice in the comments, but it’s obviously a blog commenting tactic.

What You Should Do Instead:

Can commenting on blogs, answering questions on forums and internet platforms be helpful in driving traffic? Yes. There’s a right way to do it. Basically, leave helpful answers that’s relevant to the post or page, and THEN include your link in the comments section pointing to statistics, guides and etc. This can come in the form of statistics, research or opinion.

3) Submitting Your Content to Article Directories

This is commonly known as article marketing. It’s submitting your articles to article directories to 1) get a link back from a directory 2) hope someone else sees your article, uses it on their site, and links back from their site.

Google has an algorithm that accounts for submission of content to article directories, however, getting a link on article directories will not grant you as much link juice as it did before.

Here’s the problem, many article directories are filled with low quality spun content. Hence Google has decreased the value of these article directories.

MOZ’s, an SEO authority mentioned that article marketing is mostly a scam.

I personally don’t do article cause there’s so much time needed in syndicating these articles. Secondly, I don’t feel good uploading my hand written curated articles on this content farms that looks spammy like this:

Article Spamming

You can see my email onthe top right hand corner. It’s hell of an ugly website. Look at the horrible looking Sun. Jesus, they should fire their designer.

What You Should Do Instead:

Forget article directories in general.

I recommend publishing on Linkedin and Medium. These are good channels to promote your content. However, you might face a duplicate content issue when you publish on these mediums. Be sure you fix it using the Medium Import tool, or re-writing your content when publishing on Linkedin.

4) Paid Link Building

Well, I don’t have to tell you this already, buying and paying for links is heavily frowned upon by Google and it’s often said to be a black hat SEO technique.

How to reject a paid link opportunity without being an asshole:

Rejecting Paid Links

Google can’t go to the extent of tracking emails or bank transactions to find out if the links are paid or not. However they can look at other factors such as link reciprocity, long-term behavior and relvancy of the site link to you. Even if so, there are many SEO services, consultants etc. that manage to get away with it. In the long run, you’re far better off playing by the rules than attempting to beat the rules.

Here’s my take: Google, being a billion dollar company and having the brightest brains in the world would be smart enough to eventually figure these tricks out.

One of SEO courses I participated in Singapore recommended students to first create 200 pages around keywords, secondly, reach out to bloggers, influencers, and ‘pay them 50 dollars’ to get a paid link, stating that it’ll be worth it, in the long run. That’s horrible advice! Especially so from someone who positioned himself to be an SEO guru.

Backlinks has to be topically relevant. I can’t get Xia Xue to link to my site. Her site is about… her. Whilst my site is about SEO.

What you should do instead:

Forget paid links altogether. Reach out to the the press, do a PR pitch, either that, guest blog on smaller sites to earn yourself natural backlinks.

5) Anchor Text Manipulation

Lastly, the one common “un-natural manner” that SEOs build backlinks is manipulating the anchor texts of their backlinks. For Eg, Including keyword rich terms such as “SEO Services Singapore” in their backlinks. This is a manipulation of backlinks and may land you with a Google penalty.

Google’s has also largely discouraged this.

What You Should Do Instead:

You should build natural links through guest blogging and content outreach, use diversified anchor text instead of keyword focused one. In most cases, if the site that you’re guest blogging on cares about editorial value, they’re more likely to reject your guest post if you’re ‘anchor text’ hacking.

The 2 Step Litmus Test

Here are the two steps litmus test that I use to determine when determining if my link building strategy is stuck in the old ages, or it’s updated for the new world of SEO. I also ask myself 2 basic questions:

Question 1: Does this link to my site has any editorial value?

Links should be seen as a way to send human web traffic, and should not be seen as a way to ‘pass page rank’, as mentioned by many SEOs.

Question 2: Is the site linking to me relevant?

The whole point of links in the first place is to inform internet users of relevant data and research. If you think of it in this way, then linking internally and externally will make a lot more sense.

When you’re coming from a relevancy or editorial stand point, content becomes important, branding becomes important. It’s no longer just about backlinks. This a much healthier approach towards SEO, instead of obsessing over trying to get backlinks or Google rankings.

Ultimately, there are sites you can work with on the internet, from guest blogging to content submission, to do content promotion, to guest blogging to earn links and traffic from. There’s no need to relying on old school link building strategies that no longer work in the new world of SEO.  

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