• Tue. Jun 14th, 2022

The 7 worst link building myths that are holding back your campaign

As long as search engines keep their algorithms in secrecy, the industry will continue to be rife with spam and myths.

I would say it encourages companies to pursue bad strategies rather than strategies that work.

This is why some people have lost faith in the value of SEO. It limits opportunities more than it creates new ones.

As you read this chapter you will notice a number of popular myths that cast a negative light on link building and leave people afraid to pursue manual link building practices.

It’s understandable where the industry is coming from.

You’ve probably heard or read advice from link building experts like “It’s not 2006 anymore!” And “link building should be completely natural”.

But I would say that leaves us blind to the right opportunities for bonding.

Do search engines justify links by their purpose (value) or by their means (practical)? I would say the latter.

But the point here is not to discuss ethics. It is to highlight the value.


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Here I would like to dispel seven popular link building myths and misconceptions that cause more harm than good.

Once we shatter these myths, we can deliver more value to our customers by better understanding the basics of relationship building.

Myth 1: backlinks are a factor in Google’s “top” ranking

This myth dates back to a Google Q&A, when Andrey Lipattsev, senior Google Search Quality strategist, said that links, content, and RankBrain were the top three ranking factors for Google.

But if that were true, it would ignore a vast majority of signals, such as user experience, query intent, and hundreds of other ranking factors to prioritize pages based on the amount of backlinks they have.

John Mueller even clarified this.

Google’s ranking factors are dynamic and use different algorithms to determine the results of different queries for different user intentions.

But countless correlation studies have shown that the top three results pages tend to have a large number of backlinks.


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The question is:

Do these pages rank well because of their backlink profile – or do they have so many backlinks because they rank well?

All is relative.

Would a result in position 4 with more than twice as many clicks end up knocking down content in position 2 with twice as many backlinks? How do Google and Bing compare these different considerations?

We do not know. So we should not limit our strategy.

Does this mean that backlinks are not an important ranking signal?

Of course not.

The influence of links may be greatest in first page search results when most other factors remain equal.

Myth 2: The penguin penalty

Penguin is an algorithm, not a penalty imposed by Google.

The distinction is important for two reasons.

  • Google will not notify you when your site is downgraded because of its backlink profile.
  • Recovering from an algorithmic devaluation offers simpler solutions.

Despite Google’s promises that Penguin 4.0 doesn’t trigger negative site-wide ranking actions, countless case studies have proven otherwise.

Check out these case studies here and here for more evidence.

To recover from negative SEO caused by spammy link building, just disavow links that are considered obvious spam.

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t worry about Penguin if you pursue good linking strategies and avoid link farms and networking.

Even if Penguin intercepts malicious links, which every site has, I still wouldn’t panic, as there’s a good chance Penguin won’t even save those individual links.

Myth 3: link quality can be defined by DA or PA

How do search engines define link quality?

We are not sure.

So how do you define link quality?

This could be seen as more of a misconception than a myth.

Third-party metrics, such as Domain Authority (DA) and Trust Flow, are just barometers or guesses about how one site stacks up against others.

DA is not a ranking signal, nor does it give us a complete picture of how good a website is for link building.


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I have come across so many sites with a high AD that have been abandoned or just obvious link farms.

It is not a question of specifically destroying DA. The problem is relying on a single proprietary metric to justify unwanted link campaigns and bill customers.

So let’s try to figure out what a good link is:

  • The linking domain offers relevant content for your business.
  • The link domain has a high traffic value.
  • Anchor text is contextual.
  • The linked page provides value to users.
  • The website has an editorial process in place for the content.

It really is that simple.

What’s dangerous about this line of thinking is that chasing DA leaves you blind to the opportunities right in front of you.

This includes ignoring relevance, new websites, and even the fruits at hand in DA’s fruitless quest.

Myth 4: asking someone for a link is spam

As we have all heard, asking someone for a link or exchanging a link between sites is spam.

There are countless examples of “expert advice” indicating that you might risk manual action if the site you link to often does.


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But retrieving quotes or manually searching for a link from a directory or relevant publication should not be lumped together in the same category as link exchanges.

If so, it would mean that creating broken links and creating resource links should be avoided.

Myth 5: High link speed contributes to manual penalties

Many people worry that building tons of links to just one piece of content could negatively impact their keyword rankings.

As impressive as search engines are, their ability to index the entire web and identify trends like this would be next to impossible.

Also, it makes sense that a very original and valuable webpage on its own is generating backlinks exponentially.

Every time someone links to your content, it increases their visibility and gives them the opportunity to acquire additional links.

If this increases keyword rankings enough, this effect worsens considerably.

This is the whole idea of ​​organic link building.

That said, if you acquire a ton of shoddy links from spam content networks and directories, then you could end up with a manual penalty or a significant devaluation of the link profile.


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Myth 6: guest posting contributes negatively to link building

We’ve been hearing that guest posting has been dead for years.

These statements, like many of Google, were later rescinded or clarified.

Why would search engines punish you for guest posting to a highly relevant and trafficked post to promote your business and thought leadership?

Obviously, contextual links are valued more than homepage links in your signature, but spamming your contextual links with keyword-rich anchor text could be doomed to failure.

Posting guests just to link up misses the point of link building.

Posting guests, and even acquiring untracked links, could have indirect benefits in your digital marketing, ranging from increasing your brand’s visibility on the web to your flow of traffic from those sources.

Myth 7: Link building is about linking

This brings me to my last point that link building is about more than increasing the volume of links to your site.

Link building can:

  • Increase the visibility of your brand on the web.
  • Increase traffic to your domain.
  • Show the authority and value of your brand.


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Primarily, manual link building should be more about building relationships with other websites for marketing opportunities than just acquiring a link.

I compare it to building a brand in many ways.

That said, link building has an obvious direct result in your ranking, but it also offers a lot of positive indirect results that happen behind the scenes.


The moral of the story?

Avoid spam, but don’t shy away from handy fruits and good opportunities in the pursuit of DA or appeasing a penguin god.

As with anything online, digital marketing is just as filled with facts as it is with mistakes.

Know the truth and follow the best link building practices to get the best results for your marketing campaign.

Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita