10 Common Misconceptions About Link Building
For many years now, link building has been a constant in content marketing and SEO. But does it still carry as much importance and influence with Google? The answer is yes. Absolutely.
A study published on Backlinko found that the number of domains linking to a page was the factor that had the highest correlation to rankings in Google. What’s more, the data showed that a site’s overall link authority strongly correlates with higher rankings.
But in spite of this evidence, and the one million Google search results analysed to gather it, a number of misconceptions about link building still exist. So, let’s debunk 10 of the most common.
- If you build it, they will come.
A worrying number of digital marketers and SEOs still believe that if you simply create great content, users will come flocking to your website in their droves. This is somewhat true for high-profile brands and websites, but the rest of us still need link building to even stand a chance of gaining a prominent position on Google.
- You don’t need links to rank
The increasing intelligence of Google’s algorithm has led some people to believe that links are no longer a ranking signal. Even though it’s not the only factor in Google’s algorithm that matters, a strong backlink profile remains crucial. The more authoritative, relevant backlinks you can achieve, the higher your site will rank for target keywords. It’s that simple.
- Only high domain authority links matter
High domain authority (DA) isn’t the be all and end all of your backlink profile. Sure, it is highly advantageous to seek target sites with high metrics, but things like relevancy are taken into consideration too. More often than not, relevancy is more important than DA. Google’s algorithm looks for diversity in your backlink profile as well, which means a profile of over 100 links with 90+ DA would be viewed suspiciously.
- You must build links to pages you want to convert
In theory, this makes perfect sense. In reality, its near impossible to achieve. If you ask sites to link to the pages you want to convert with, you’ll come across as spammy and aggressive. Also, pages optimised for converting rarely have valuable information or are worth linking to. Building links to other pages on your site, such as linkable assets (see below), will increase your chances of success.
- Linkable assets need to be content-heavy
Linkable assets are pages designed to specifically attract links and social shares. This has caused several SEOs to create word-heavy ultimate guides or in-depth research reports that outdo competitor word counts. But it doesn’t have to be like this as long as you concentrate on building an authoritative resource that people in your niche will be interested in.
- More emails = more links
Casting the net far and wide with link request emails will surely have the desired effect eventually, right? Not exactly. You’re much better off sending thoughtful and personalised emails that speak to each individual webmaster. Your objective is to effectively persuade the recipient as to the value of linking to your site.
- Link building is only good for algorithms
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only benefit of link building is algorithmic. First of all, there’s the increased brand visibility you’ll get. Secondly, link building can lead to relationship building, as you’ll end up conversing with thought leaders and authority figures in your niche.
- Only exact match anchors matter
In the old days of SEO, one way to get ahead was to use your target keywords or brand name as the anchor text for backlinks. But times have changed and only having a couple of variations of anchor text could give you a penalty from Google. Besides, when you’re link building the right way, the webmaster will end up using the anchor text of their choice.
- Link building requires technical abilities
Link building does not require coding or web development ability; it’s more about creativity, communication and strategy. In fact, link building can be boiled down to the process of properly articulating the value of your content or website to webmasters and curators.
- All follow links provide equal value
Not all links are created equally, and this doesn’t even relate to the difference between follow links and no-follow links. For example, .edu links are among the most sought after for link builders. But links on a scholarship page are not the same as those on a carefully curated, professor’s resource page. Search engines are now smart enough to know what hard-earned links look like.