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4 Link Building Strategies That No Longer Work

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category GuestBox Link Building

guest post by Eric Conklin

So as usual, the winds of search engine optimization are changing and with them SEO's and link builders are reanalyzing their strategies and working towards finding a better way to produce high quality, relevant inbound links. With the recent panda updates by Google, we are seeing fewer content farms making it to the first page of Google, although that unfortunately also means quite a few problematic sites coming up that were originally on page 2 that no one knew about.

Such is the problem with the constant updates to the Google algorithm. There are a lot of low quality sites on page 2 that end up moving up when sites on page one get penalized. Chances are, no one even knew any of these sites existed, and know they are in everyone's first page.

Keeping your site afloat amidst the chaos and mass hysteria of a Google update takes time and patience. You can't simply rely on old school link building strategies any more. But to anyone who pays attention to what guys like Matt Cutts have to say about web spam and link building, the changes that have finally arrived really aren't much of a surprise.

What's Changing in SEO

As search engine optimization continues onward, it becomes clear more and more that on site quality and natural looking optimization are of much more value to Google than it was originally. Google has always placed value on large, actively updated sites with unique content, but they are shifting further and further in that direction as we speak.

When it comes down to link building, the biggest change in Panda is the reduction of effectiveness in spam strategies that have normally carried a lot of smaller companies and SEO’s afloat for so long. These tactics are wearing out, becoming weak and even pathetic compared to more advanced, smarter link building tactics that high quality SEO's are using.

What No Longer Works…

You may or may not have heard of some of these strategies. There are real reasons why they have become less effective in recent months. Google looks to constantly eliminate spam and unwanted link from their index and gets smarter about it every single day.

These strategies are either downright against the Google webmaster guidelines or simply straddling the fence when it comes to SEO ethics. For one reason or another, they have been slapped and don't work any longer.

I know this because as an SEO, many of my colleagues and coworkers have mentioned stories about these strategies to me, about how their sites used to rank using only tactics like these then, all the sudden, WOOSH! They vanished out of thin air, or dropped to page 3 or 4. Sad, especially when you consider that these tactics generate zero traffic outside of the rankings they occasionally produce.

Anyways, here are the 4 most overrated and overused link building strategies that have become useless after the Google panda update:

1. Forum profile spam. Remember back in the day when you could order 80,000 forum profiles for 20 dollars, have 10 percent of them get indexed by Google and immediately land your site on the first page for a moderately competitive keyword, within a week or so?

Well, Google's web spam filtering has gotten advanced enough that they are typically indexing less than one percent of these sorts of links, and are giving them almost no value for the ones they do index, especially if the site is irrelevant or the forum has zero content and zero links of its own.

Sorry spammers. Better find something better to do!

2. Blog comment spam. At one point, scrapebox blasting was one of the most awesomely effective tactics in SEO. You could fire out a scrapebox blast at 5 or 10 thousand dofollow auto approve blogs and post generic comments with a link back to your site. The links weren’t worth much, but got indexed very well and produced great results.

Nowadays, Google's web spam filtering has slowed the progress of this tactic down significantly and made it so much harder to get anywhere. By recognizing blog comment spam in a more intelligent manner, Google is taking away the effectiveness of this strategy.

Sad because it just means most spammers will spam more to make up for it.

3. WordPress theme sponsorships. This was one of the most popular grey hat tactics of 2010 and managed to improve site rankings for quite a few people amidst that time. Basically, you make a WordPress theme and embed a link to your sites into it, forcing people who use the theme to link to you. It's definitely on the borderline when it comes to SEO because people don't have to use the theme and link back, but once again, Google didn't like it.

As a result of excessive footer link manipulation, Google has isolated this factor of link building and reduced its effectiveness significantly. Nowadays, it's almost impossible to get any serious link juice coming in from this sort of strategy simply because most these footer links are worthless. You'd have to make a lot of WordPress themes to get any real results now.

4. Authority homepage link networks. If you aren't already familiar with these, they were another grey hat strategy that allowed people to post their link on the home page of a high PR site. These sites were typically expired domains that required had very little relevance to any subject matter that people put links on them about, the definition of a link scheme.

Unfortunately, these strategies started to become stale as Google beefed up site relevance and activity factors post panda. Nowadays, a site that is 100 percent static and filled with random links sets off multiple red flags for the Google algorithm, making the links worth much, much less than high PR links on an active, relevant website.

Link Building is No Longer About How Many Links and How High of Page Rank

The simplest formula in SEO that everyone knows is this one:

Links + Content = Traffic

As time went on, link value became important, as did the overall quantity of links and what anchor text was used to define your site.

But nowadays, a natural looking, relevant link profile is just as important in SEO as is having a ton of links. Sure, a huge IP spread is good, but not if the links are spam and clearly worthless and valueless. Instead of focusing on old school grey and black hat strategies, here are some more effective tactics to try out for link building:

1. Guest blogging. Finding a relevant site in your niche is as simple as typing into Google (your niche) + submit a post. There are plenty of high PR blogs that will not only get you direct, high quality traffic, but also huge boosts in the search engines. Why waste your time on forum profiles when one of these links is worth more than 100,000 XRumer profiles, and less risky?

2. Article marketing. Classic and simple, there are tons of tools to improve your return on investment as well such as article submitters like Article Marketing Robot and others. You can get a good ROI on each article you write just by doing this a few times.

3. Viral link baiting. Ever notice the sites Google likes the most tend to go viral? Well, why not help yours go viral a little bit faster by doing a giveaway or a contest? Have your site visitors send their friends to your website and in exchange, they get a chance to win a price such as a free vacation, free item you have in stock or tickets to an event. You can make it anything you want.

You'll need some sort of viral script software to keep track of the hits and give out prizes fairly, but overall it's a worthwhile strategy to invest in if your site is simply sitting around on the web with no one linking to it.

About the author

Eric Conklin is a consultant and blogger with Maryland Web Builders LLC and has worked on numerous SEO campaigns and website projects. His main project,, is an SEO company that offers performance based ranking programs and competitive prices on SEO campaigns. Check out our website and inquire about our SEO services today!


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