The Five Link Building Red Flags: How to Spot Link Building Snake Oil!

The Five Link Building Red Flags: How to Spot Link Building Snake Oil!

"There are no guarantees in real white hat link building, that makes it a terrible business plan, which is why no agencies are ACTUALLY doing it. So, the question is then, what exactly are these "white hat" agencies selling you, and why is it so expensive?!"

When most people invest in link building, they believe that they are receiving a permanent kind of "authority" in their niche. Perhaps this results from the overuse of metrics such as "Domain Authority," or "Page Authority" as a full-proof sign of quality. The truth is, these metrics can be a false representation of both the strength of your backlink partners, as well as your own SEO. For starters, even if a high PA backlink is secured to a page you're trying to rank, it doesn't always help that page rank in the SERPs. Why?

Firstly, DA and PA are machine-learned keyword-agnostic predictive metrics that are solely intended to predict a site's rankings. They were not formulated as a predictor of a domain or page's likelihood to pass on a measurable ranking.

Secondly, Google has stated many times over that it doesn't use any third-party authority metrics as part of their ranking algorithms.

The digital marketing space is full of both opportunities and pitfalls. It's critical to know when to take chances and when to keep your head down, especially when it comes to link building. This can mean the difference between skyrocketing a brand’s online presence and potentially incurring Google penalties.

Here’s how you can identify bad link building practices before they lead you down a slippery slope:

1. Anchor Text Manipulation - When any third-party service attempts to accept anchor text rich guest post offers without actually conducting warm outreach with their own prospects, they're doing little more than reselling white-label guest posting services using another company's business partners or simply reselling low quality link packages. Be aware of these devious tactics.

2. Social Media Spam - Beware of services offering social links, low-quality citations, and comments as a way to increase your backlinks profile; these practices greatly risk irritating members of Facebook groups and other social networks who will recognize it for what it is and apply heavy penalties accordingly.

3. Anchor Text Selection - Link schemes are heavily frowned upon by Google, particularly those involving “exchanging money for links” or large-scale campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links. If anybody tries to sell you this kind of package, get away quickly!

4. Outreach Communication - As any genuine link builder will tell you, using an un-branded email address or failing to CC a client on emails won't instill much confidence in the legitimacy of your link building.

5. Moz Spam Score Increase - Is your Moz "spam score" going up? This can not only be an indication of a poor quality inbound link profile, but also a correlation with potential link penalization.

Building effective backlinks requires thorough research, ethical tactics and practices, as well deep understanding of SEO principles; neglecting any one area could have dire consequences for your brand's image so make sure your strategy incorporates the best practices outline above before engaging in any activity related to link building.  Please see our article on Google's quality guidelines to learn more.