Some Mistakes Done at SEO

Discussion 2: Backlink Building Mistakes to Beware From A New Client: Keyword Difficulty, Relevancy of the Paragraph, and the Arounds

More Tips From A Backlink Specialist: Mistakes to Avoid When Building Links

Happy New Year all. I created a post a few months ago about backlinks and off the back of it a few SEO practitioners and business owners sent me messages asking more questions. I thought I'd address the most common mistakes (that I didn't touch on in my last post) they were making below. I've been in the industry as a Freelance link builder for pretty much 7 years, before that I was in general SEO. I've built links for FTSE 100 companies as well small startups, helping multiple niches and business types scale. Here are some mistakes you'd want to avoid when building links, avoiding these mistakes have helped me do the best for my clients over the years.

Some of the more well versed link builders might find some of these obvious, but I hope they'll help someone. They would have helped me when I was starting out all those years ago. There's so much bad information out there at the moment. Whatever level you're at, a backlink profile can be pretty daunting. Whether you're doing it for your own website, looking for someone to do it for you, or building a profile for someone else. I hope you find this useful, any questions, stick them below or ping me a message.

To Not Ask For Internal Pointer Links


So usually, when a webmaster publishes a new post, they'll go back through relevant posts and create a couple of internal links to the new posts (In which you've secured a link). If they can do this with authoritative posts, then it's going to give your link more juice (like the above). However, so many of them don't. For whatever reason, they might not link to the new post. When you're speaking to them, and negotiating, ask them to do it and they will, it won't cost you any extra and will instantly make your link more powerful. Just make sure it's a relevant post they're linking from. If their website is huge, with loads of posts, it might be helpful to find one and ask them to internally link from it.

To Not Work In Collaboration With A Client's (or your own) Content
Again, you want the best for your client (or maybe for yourself), so work in collaboration with what's going on on the clients website. If you've gone through some keyword consultation, then ideally, they want to be targeting that keyword in content as you're targeting it for linking. It works really well and they tend to bounce off each other. It might be that they're putting out content on their blog, or targeting the keyword on a product or service description. It doesn't matter…just work in collaboration. Using certain keywords for the anchor text which aren't targeted on the website at all will be a lot harder and take longer. Doable, but harder..

Check Keyword Difficulty Before Agreeing Work
The client (you can probably skip this one if you're building links for yourself) might have a keyword in mind… There's a lot of link builders out there who will simply agree and start building links. That's a mistake. It's hard sometimes going back to a client and saying no to a particular keyword. Especially if they really want to rank for it. But when you check out the keyword difficulty, as well as the age of the client's website etc. it can become evident that targeting a certain keyword won't get them the results they need. This is especially the case if the client themselves are new to their business, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in general. Take the time to educate them, and find a better angle of attack which usually comprises a voluminous keyword with less difficulty. Do this and you'll protect your relationship going forward.

Don't Just Discount Old Looking Sites
It's easy to do. If a site looks a bit old, it's easy to discount it as "spammy"…sometimes, it's a grave mistake. Some pretty brilliant sites haven't been updated aesthetically for years. Yet they still receive huge traffic and put out stellar content. On the other side, there are some really awful sites out there that look really nice on the eye. Don't decide not to place a link on a website just because it looks a bit dated.

Don't Just Focus On The Keyword, The Paragraph Around It Has To Be Relevant
So many people will just throw the keyword into the article and call it a day. By doing this, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to add contextual relevance to the link in question. The paragraph around the link shouldn't be promotional. It shouldn't suggest that you use the product/service that you're linking to, instead, it should focus on giving the reader pertinent, and relevant information that you think they'd genuinely find useful. This gives Google more information when indexation occurs. Just make sure it's information that's relevant to the service/product/website that you're linking to. It's pretty powerful and an easy way of making your link pull more weight.

Falling Into The Traffic Trap
Everyone knows, or should know, that Domain Authority (DA)/ Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR)/website authority etc is a vanity metric, and you shouldn't look to acquire links from sites based on that metric alone. Which is why most people will look at traffic instead. Traffic is 100% better to look at than vanity metrics, however traffic itself can be misleading. It depends where the client is based. If you've got a client based in the USA, finding a site with 100k Indian traffic isn't going to do as much good as a site with 50k traffic all based in the USA (unless they're looking to expand to India, or any given country, or are offering their products and services internationally). Check where the traffic is coming from before jumping in and contacting the site owner.

Don't Be Afraid To Secure Another Link From The Same Site
So many people, both link builders and indeed, businesspersons, are obsessed with referring domains. While a number of referring domains (good domains, mind you) are good, there's no harm in getting another link, using a different keyword, from the same site. This is because sometimes, for whatever reason, a link from a certain site can absolutely send your ranking for said keyword into the stratosphere. I've seen a large FTSE 250 corporate client go from second SERP to no.1 on SERP 1 after one keyword placement on a site (it was very niche, but still). Sometimes you secure links on a site that really pulls weight, so go back and use it again. It'd be a mistake not to. At the end of the day, it's not about having a chunk of referring domains or a large number of backlinks, it's about climbing the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) in your given keywords. That's all that matters.

Don't Spend An Age Sniping Your Competitors Link Profile
Sure, if you can get a few swapped out, great. However, speaking to webmasters and asking them to swap out links is a long and tedious process. Especially if the client (or yourself) doesn't have better content to link back to. If the profile is huge, you can spend an age doing this. Instead, get links off better sites. It's as easy as that. If they've got some good links from good quality homeware websites, get links from better ones, or even the same ones. Don't get lulled into sniping theirs away when you'd do just as well putting the effort into your content and fresh links.

Spending Too Much time Linking To Your Links
If you secure a link on a website, and secure other links which point to the content you have a link on, the page rank will increase and the article will become more authoritative, thus increasing the link power. However, in doing this, you're securing quality (hopefully) links to someone else's website. It's a strategy that works, sure…but in my experience, you'd be better off just building more links to your website on a long term basis. That is unless you're in a particular position and know it's the right thing to do.

Know The Rules Before You Break Them
As with all professions, there are usually rules. However, rules are broken all of the time, sometimes to the detriment of the person breaking them, but sometimes to the advantage. The trick isn't in breaking rules whenever you feel like it, but in choosing the appropriate time to do so when you're confident it'll work in the unique situation in which you find yourself. For example, I was building links for a FinTech company who wanted to "explode onto the scene". Usually, with new start ups you can't build too many links (see below) because that wouldn't logically happen. However, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had won a small business award which generated a fair chunk of traffic/media reporting. So, we built more links than I usually would have (breaking the rules) using specific keywords referencing the past success. It worked really well. Point being, if you know the rules, you can break them in certain instances.

Cracking Out Too Many Links
It depends what the business does, but if you're a start up or haven't long launched, knocking out too many links too fast isn't a good strategy. A large corporation, whose been around for a long time can take a multitude of links because it's a logical thing to do and happen. A brand new business getting too many links is unnatural, so don't do it. Why would a load of webmasters link to a startup that has no ranking and no presence? Knowing the right amount can be hard and varies from one niche to the next, and of course you have to take individual circumstances of the startup/business into account. There is a variable here. If it's a complete local service, then local outlets might write about the new business opening…for example, local food blogs etc. might write about a new restaurant opening and link to your website.

Be Dynamic With Strategy
If you own a bunch of websites or businesses, replicating what worked for one in terms of link building might do nothing for the other. Even if they're both in the same niche. You need a new strategy and thought process per project. You also don't want to just keep doing the same thing month on month. Being proactive is great, but in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as you'll know, websites don't always react the same. You need to tweak as you go along on a reactive basis. Sure, using what you know works for a certain niche might be a start point…but if you're not taking the uniqueness of each individual business into consideration and reacting to different movements month on month you won't be doing the best for your client's website (or your own website)..

Hope this has been useful or given you something to think about. This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. Thanks for reading!
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So if a blog has no traffic potential but its super relevant and ok Domain Authority (DA) its pointless?

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Like 0 traffic? So if you're saying really high DA and 0 traffic then yeah It probably wouldn't do the client good. If high traffic and low DA certainly go for it because DA is third party. Thanks :).

Solid post!

Question for you. Is it worth building links for a local business' money page(s)?

The thing is, the sites that are outranking me for our valuable keywords have fewer backlinks for those pages than I do – several pages have zero backlinks ☠️

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Thanks appreciate it. Yeah content can rank on its own without links, but links will always help (if they're the right links).

So if a competitor had amazing content, and someone wrote half decent content with a few links, the good content would still probably win. Whereas if the content was rated the same, and you had some good links in there, you'd probably outrank.

It all depends on the links. In short, yes, it's worth building the links but without the right context it's hard to give you a 100% answer you know.

Thanks for this! Does anything change with it being for local SEO? And also, all things being equal, will it matter if the links are from a website that's known to be relevant to that one geographical area
CharacterAd ✍️
Hey! Yeah for sure. So even for local SEO, in my experience, links from sites that get traffic from the same country as you're located in will be beneficial, but links from local publications will be even more powerful. So for example, if you're a restaurant and want to increase rank, getting links from food websites nationally will be good, getting links from local food websites will be even better.

Hope that helps. Again, hard to give usable advice without seeing niche, website etc. :).
Thank you!!
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Any time!

This is called real help. Thanks man you saved so much of my time. Looks like I am in right circle 🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳😊😊😊

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Haha yeah there's some good advice on this sub, there's also bad advice just take it all with a pinch of salt and do your own research. Really glad it helped you out though :).

what software you use to manage all backlinks for your clients?

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I do it manually on a month by month basis so, depending on the client, we'll just use a shared spreadsheet. No software. It's all manual really. Thanks for reading 👍🏻.

Nice Article! What are some ways to get backlinks? I an starting looking into this and the only place I currently found are forums. I saw you sayed you write articels with the links embeded bit where do you post them? Forms? Blogs?

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Thanks! Forum links are useless unfortunately. They stopped working in <year>. Probably earlier. You need links in relevant content, on relevant websites with good metrics. Usually, you'll need to offer the webmaster payment. If you're tying to do it for free it'll be harder. In those cases, you need to offer top tier content while trying to build something really useful for them. There are of course other ways to get them for free. That would probably need it's own post. Check skyscraper, Help a Reporter Out (HARO), etc.

This is great info. Do you have some link building learning resources to recommend? There's so much info out there that I don't trust.

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I'm a bit behind on the learning resources because I've just been doing it for so long you know. The learning is bad in my opinion because what you need for each and every website will differ. You learn as you go. With that said, if you have any questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer them for you.

Thanks! I have a tone of questions :)

So, how would you plan out the link building for a deep tech niche Software as a Service (SaaS) company that is in business for 5 years? We're doing solid in organic search without link building. 5-6K visitors per month without a blog basically.

I'm a marketer and an Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practicioner, but I never had time for link building. Should I hire someone full time just for links? How many links per month would make sense for a small Saas company
CharacterAd ✍️
Hey! Thanks.

It depends what customers the Software as a Service (SaaS) is targeting. When you know the customer and have a customer profile, you can refine and work out when types of website they'd utilise. Whether it's B2B etc. plays into this. Yeah that without a blog is good. Have you thought about a blog too, that could help a lot if you didn't want to use links.

It's hard answering that without seeing your site and your niche etc. the amount isn't always important, the quality of the link is more important.

Links are the hardest part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) easily. I've worked with a couple of larger SaaS it all depends on the time you have available. If you wanted to share more but not publicly, ping me a instant message and I can give you a few more well rounded answers. Sorry it's a bit vague.
thanks for the help! I think I get it
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No problem. Feel free to PM me if there's anything you don't understand good luck with the SaaS!

What are some good tools to see a site's traffic and where the traffic is coming from? Preferably free tools

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Hmm SEMrush is good, and I think you get a free trial, and a limited number of searches a day outside of the trial. It shows estimated traffic, along with where the traffic comes from.

Mind if I add something?

Build relationships. If you build good relationships, then when if, that person leaves his current position with this website/company, You'll have access to another website/company. That means more strong linking opportunities.

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Yeah totally agree. Building good relationships with website owners is hugely important. Not only does it give you more opportunities like you mentioned, but it also allows you to get better deals for the client you're working for.

Strong point!

I've been making shitty backlinks for a very long time, can you help out the execution process on how to elevate these steps for clients and for yourself? because either it is time wasting or no responses (whether I try from contact pages, form submission, email on the contact email, or even tried finding the webmaster but either I never found or they never replied, and whoever replies they only want to add paid links so in short these backlinks never happened for me so I preferred to drop and … I'm pissed right now.
One more thing: content is not possible for me as I'm very bad in writing and hiring is not possible at this stage of time so building links to money pages is the only thing I can do on my own and its getting harder day by day, algo update by update.

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Hey! Yeah, unfortunately that's the way the industry is at the moment. Website owners simply know how powerful backlinks are, especially on good sites, so they charge money for them.

Getting links for free used to be a whole lot easier but it just isn't. I'd suggest that, depending on your niche, you put backlinks to the side at the moment and work on building content and a blog for your site. If you can build something brilliant, which answers a lot of questions and has well grounded research you might find you get some backlinks occur naturally. With that said, I feel your pain.

As for not receiving responses…that's odd. Maybe reevaluate your pitch email? Depending on what email service you're using it might end up in their spam box.
Content is really important. You can write in English, even if you're not good at writing, you can write content. It just takes a while longer.
Depending on the quality of the links you're building, you might as well not bother…building links without the good quality to back can be a bad strategy. I hope it works out for you!

Thanks for the info. Super useful!

Whilst you are outreaching to websites, do you just straight up ask for a paid link placement? I imagine the Click Through Rate (CTR) would be much higher than asking if they'll link for free.

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No problem, thanks for reaching out. I'm glad it was of use to you.

Unfortunately, yeah. Pretty much. I can usually gauge by looking at the website. At the end of the day, money talks. Getting free links has gotten quite tough over the last three years. Because everyone pays, everyone else has to pay…see what I mean. Don't get me wrong, it's still possible to get free links sometimes but most sites know it's a nice way to make extra cash.

Sure, that's what I've found as well.

Still works out cheaper than paying for outreach services
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Totally. I suppose in a way I am an outreach service. However, in my experience, a lot of SEO companies will hire someone like me to do it for them…this creates an extra middle man. I prefer working direct with the business. A lot of the big business these days prefer to hire out SEO Elements than wholesale hire an SEO company anyway. That way they're benefiting from peoples expertise areas. I guess there are benefits to both sides of it.

Thank you for this post. In fact your knowledge on the topic from what I can tell is expert. I have a few questions that I would love to hear what you think about.
• Do profile backlinks help? creating accounts on sites that allow backlinks in profile pages.
• Do testing websites that give a backlink help? Like running an audit on a website that gives results on actual pages that get indexed. seen lots of these lately
• Are you doing any link directories at this point?
• Blogspot links? You see them in almost everyone's backlink profile. do they help?
• Do social media posts backlinks to a website help?
• Do Press Releases help with backlinks?
• Do you care if a link is a follow or nofollow?
• Is there more value from links from an evergreen content (pages) or do blog content (posts) still give the same amount of link juice from the same site?

Thanks again. Looking forward to your replies.

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Hey, sorry for the late reply been a busy weekend:
• Some do, it depends entirely on the site. In these cases usually you can't create a keyword link and instead, it's just a straight up URL link to your website. I imagine you're thinking of business listings etc.
• Yes of course, it's all part of the parcel of evaluating a site before deciding to place the link. Indexation isn't the be all though. It's weird. I've ranked sites when the links themselves haven't appeared in the Google console, but they have appeared in the cache. So you can do a site: search in Google for the article you've posted and if it appears, in my experience, you know the link works
• Nope. Directories stopped working years ago.
• No. The ones you see might be legacy ones perhaps, but nowadays, in my opinion, they're worthless. I certainly wouldn't invest time in getting them.
• Kind of but they don't do the same thing. They're pretty much web 2.0 links so I'd prefer to invest time getting in content links instead.
• Yes depending on where the release is coming from and it's done in a way that's providing information to perspective readers instead of it being done in a promotional way…if that makes sense.
• Depends on the profile I'm building. If I'm building a huge link profile for a large corporation targeting no.1 on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), then I'll be sure to build some no follow as well as do follow to keep it looking natural. If I'm only building a small amount then do follow. There should be a portion of no follow to a site though.
• Same amount of link juice to be honest. The content around the link is relevant though so if you can build it in an evergreen way it means the content is going to be more relevant for longer.

No worries! Thank you for your responses.

The Anchor Text Ratio of Backlinks

Discussion 1: Some Mistakes Done at SEO
Has anyone here absolutely failed at SEO? What did you do wrong?
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Two mistakes, I've made dabbling in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Firstly, I fell in love with the idea of putting beautifully designed Portable Document Format (PDF) eBooks choc full of relevant and interesting content on some my sites…believing interesting content is king. Yes, but content is only king when it is done more strategically than just plonking a PDF file on your site.
Second mistake, I (or at the least my inner geek) wrote blogs about technical issues from a technical point of view. The audience was business people. Yes, talk a little bit about the technical stuff but you do it through the lens of how it makes their business run better / makes them more money. Never forget your audience when you're writing a blog.

What's wrong with PDF files? Plonking PDF files on my site is basically my entire business model.

Because the content in a ebook-type PDF file is all over the place. All your bets are on just one horse. But if you're offering a product or service. It is very likely that you will need several key landing pages with tightly grouped keywords.
Awesome. Thanks.
PDFs aren't indexable (i.e. Google can't see their contents, so anything inside them won't help you rank). I'm sure you're aware of the advantages – farming email addresses, engagement etc but they're neutral at best in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Thanks for the insight.
It seems I might be avoiding the negatives. I give away free worksheets, but every worksheet has images to go along with them.
Also, I've been afraid Google would one day just present my content in a little preview window that doesn't click back to my site. So that might help. (The images aren't large enough to be usable as worksheets)
So long as you have other content alongside them, you're good. I once had a client that insisted their customers wanted a 50 page fashion magazine, filled with new content, with no data capture, in PDF format only, on their site each month. Content that could have been working hard for them was just completely wasted. Took nearly 6 months to talk them out of it.
Wow. That's rough. My first thought is that is obvious but at this point the only thing I know about web design is how to make my site do ok.
Consequence of corporate politics I think. One department insists they need it and convince someone at C-level, so it has to be done regardless of the cost.
I can certainly empathise with your clients. Well designed PDFs look cool, they are engaging and they also look real professional. But as you aptly mention that content would be working so much better in other contexts.
If they'd offered the lovely glossy PDF as an option alongside using that content on the site, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. As it was, it was just a money pit. It didn't move the needle on anything. They saw what we were saying in the end.
So what route did you end up taking with them?
We just converted the magazine into a premium-ish blog with fancy Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) animations and transitions and such (I forget which library – I wasn't heavily involved in the design, just the content and SEO side). They lost interest in the PDF idea when the engagement wasn't there, like we'd told them it wouldn't be.
ok thanks.
This is not true—Google most definitely indexes content in PDFs, and will display them in results. I have a couple of clients who have numerous PDFs ranking quite high.
The bigger issue(s) with ranking PDFs is whether you really want to. You can't put Analytics code on a PDF, so it's not easy to measure how much traffic you get to them (unless you have log based analytics), and they generally aren't very user friendly in terms of driving people back into the site. And personally, I avoid clicking on PDFs I see in results, because they're less user friendly (I know some will disagree—I think query intent plays a role in usefulness of the PDF).
Which is why I'm trying to move my clients away from ranking the PDFs—put up a page that summarizes the info, rank that, and link to (or gate, if you want) the PDF that has full technical specs, design, etc.
PDFs are definitely indexable. But a poor choice for other reasons.

What I love about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that it's constant experimentation and tests and analyzing results and sometimes there are successes and sometimes there are failures.
I was working on a website and it was driving me insane that the homepage wasn't getting indexed, but everything else was. Turns out I had accidentally set the homepage to noindex. Luckily it was only that way for a couple weeks. Wasn't really an experiment but with SEO sometimes you've got to be a detective!
I knew my calling would arrive some day, everyone who's been in SEO for long enough will have multiple stories of them shitting the bed, so here's a few.
• Penguin v1
• AdSense site dead because we rushed into a 301 and ended up completely screwing up the sitemap
• Multiple cases of not doing enough diligence on client sites, taking them on only to find myself in the middle of a tire fire
• Recovering a penalized domain with a double 301 and I didn't tell the dev enough, he 301'd the site to the wrong end site, ended up giving most of our 'link juice' to a site with a similar domain
And the biggest one of all was testing if SAPE is still a quick way to get a penalty on a site I didn't mean to, it got a penalty.
It's all fun though, no clients burned and in the majority of cases I didn't/we didn't lose any significant money.


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