Link building is one of the cornerstones of SEO and essential to rank for most competitive search terms. Doing link building the wrong way can quickly get your website into trouble and many websites and business have gone from the top of the SERPs to almost bust overnight due to the wrong link strategies so people are naturally cautious. This has also lead to many myths about link building spreading across SEO blogs, forums and social media over the years and this article is going to put a few of them straight.
Links from directories do not have any value
Back in the old SEO days when link building involved submitting your website to as many places as possible directories were high up on the list as a main place for getting links from. When people started to spam this tactic too much and many link directories started to lower the standards of what they accepted or even let any website add it’s link with no oversight things started to get out of hand. Many directories deemed to be low quality or simply for the purpose of adding links were heavily penalized by Google and then after the Penguin updates people quickly stopped using them.
However, this does not mean that all directories are bad. Like with all links it depends on what the quality of the site is and what it’s doing. If there is a website run specifically for businesses in your local area with a directory and they are accepting listings and vetting them then by all means you should be looking to get a link from that site. As with all link building, use your judgement and analyse the quality of the site beforehand.
Don’t get links from sites with less authority than you
No this is very wrong. As long as a site has quality content and isn’t spamming then the link is still valuable to you if its DA 50 or 20 site, of course the higher the linking sites authority the better but it doesn’t mean that lower authority sites have no value.
Getting links too fast will get you penalised
Another myth and one which even seasoned SEOs believe! There is some truth to this though, if you create a new website or publish a new page and then get a lot of links with the same anchor text or text that is overly optimised for search terms than Google may not see these links as natural as when a link is truly built naturally it is normally not using your target search terms! However, if your business happens to blow up in the news or a piece of content goes viral and suddenly you are getting lots of links then this is fine and Google can tell that they are natural. So yes if you are doing forced, low quality link building too quickly then expect them to either not count at all or for Google to come after you, otherwise you’re fine.
Don’t link out to too many sites
This is something else that did have some truth to it in the past but in the last few years Google has stated is not true anymore. Many years ago in the Google webmaster guidelines it said “Keep the links on a give page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)”, however people took this as a web spam rule and soon after 100 was the benchmark figure a page should not go over for outbound links. Matt Cutts helpfully cleared this up in 2009 though explaining that this was more of a user experience guideline which is why it was not listed in the web spam section.
“Does Google automatically consider a page spam if your page has over 100 links? No, not at all”
Matt Cutts, 2009
Even though the advice was dropped from the guidelines in 2008, Google publicly reinforced this in 2013 but also added a note that they make take action against that page if there were signs of obvious manipulation and/or spam.