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Top 5 Mistakes Brands Make When Link Building

How do you turn a good page into a great one? You build links organically and reap the SEO and web traffic benefits.

In reality, however, it’s not quite as simple as this. Marketers keep making the same link-building mistakes, torpedoing their strategies before they even get off the ground.

Let’s examine the top 5 mistakes so that you can identify and avoid them.

Mistake #1: Letting Those Links Build Themselves

The idea of ‘organic’ link-building is often misunderstood. Yes, the days of buying poor-quality links and expecting to benefit from these are over. But at the same time, ‘organic’ links aren’t simply links you gather passively through great content – you still need to encourage these links actively.

Without a proactive link-building strategy – i.e. without getting the word out there, making sure your content gets seen, and networking with potential content partners – you will struggle to compete for high-value search terms. A tree might grow organically, but you still need to give it the optimal conditions to thrive. It’s much the same deal with link building.

Mistake #2: Failing to Define Your Strategy

Work hard, not smart… said no one, ever. We’ve already touched on the importance of being proactive when building links, but just putting in the hours and effort will not deliver the desired results. Going at it blindly means spending a lot of time, energy, and money chasing uncertain goals.

You need to know what you are chasing. How many links will you need to compete for a particular keyword? How are you currently performing, and what improvements do you want to see? How long do you expect this to take? Define these metrics so you can measure your progress. Work smart, know what to look for, and chart your course to more effective link-building.

Mistake #3: Missing Out on the Volume/Quality Balance

What’s best: achieving one or two medium to high-quality links or scoring heaps of low-quality links? The answer might be ‘neither’. You need to target both volume and quality, getting plenty of organic links from reputable but lower-quality sources and building links from higher-quality publishers.

Getting loads of links from the highest-value properties on the web is the best bet, but realistically, this just isn’t going to happen. It isn’t easy to build high-quality links. If you’re emailing potential partners on spec in an effort to forge a connection, you’re probably just going to be ignored. You need to build relationships over time, fostering strong partnerships in online and offline settings. While you need to work towards this, you also need to be hitting a good volume level at the same time. Volume/quality is a tricky balance to strike, but it’s an important goal.

Mistake #4: Trying to Cover All the Bases

You find a link-building strategy that works – Great! – but you’re hungry for more (and you should be hungry because this is a competitive marketplace, and you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket). So you try another tactic, and another, and another, etc. soon, you’ve got more strategies than you know what to do with. You’re no longer sure what’s working best and what’s lagging, but you keep pushing on all fronts in an effort to keep up the momentum.

This is another example of working harder, not smarter, and you really don’t want to do this. Instead, think carefully about your strategies.

You found that first strategy, and it worked. You’re right not to put all your eggs in one basket, so adding another approach is wise. However, you must also apply the same careful measurement and consideration here. If this second strategy is not delivering results, eliminate it and try another. If you can focus on two or three solid strategies, you will achieve much more than running 11 or 12 random ones. You can always add more strategies carefully as your business scales.

Mistake #5: Not Prioritising the Right Pages

Which pages are you prioritising for link building? If you are focusing on your homepage, this is good – high brand recognition and a strong homepage will provide excellent results across your whole site. If you’re prioritising mid-to-late funnel pages – answering specific user queries with a slight commercial angle – this is good, too. These pages can slip under the radar of even the big hitters and provide significant SEM success.

How about top-of-funnel pages focused on driving high volumes of cold leads? This approach is going to prove difficult. The big brands already have a tight grip on these page types. Considering your approach and prioritising the right pages will improve your link-building results.

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