With the power of link building, you can attract direct traffic to your site – but more importantly, you’ll boost your domain authority, which in turn will boost your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a critical piece of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, and a favored campaign for experienced digital marketers all over the world.

Unfortunately, link building is also not easy. There are many ways your link building campaign can go wrong – and if you want to see the best results, you’ll need to improve your approach on an almost constant basis.

How Most Link Building Campaigns Fail

If you want a better chance of seeing good results from your link building campaign, it’s important to have a grasp on the main reason link building campaigns fail:

Lack of adequate budget

If you want to build high-quality links, you need to make a sizable investment. That means hiring a professional, such as enlisting the help of a link building agency or working with an employee or contractor. If you want to build many links, the costs of your campaign will multiply. If you don’t take link building seriously and you don’t invest enough, you’re not going to build any momentum.

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Link schemes and penalties

Many people get impatient with the “correct” way to build links, and they turn to link schemes to close the gap. A shady company promises they’ll build 100 links in 100 days, or something similar, and the client jumps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, many of these black hat practices are direct violations of Google’s terms of service – and the organizations using them end up with long-lasting, harsh ranking penalties as a result.

Overreliance on earned links

Earned links can be great. When you write good onsite content, you’ll naturally attract links from external authorities, pointing to your site – and you’ll never have to worry about a penalty. However, if this is the only element of your link building campaign, it can be inconsistent and unreliable. The best link building strategies incorporate both link earning and direct link building to compensate for each other.

Poor onsite content

Strong onsite content is a prerequisite to a good link building strategy. Remember, you’re constructing links that point back to your site – so if the destination pages are poorly written or aren’t optimized for your target audience, you won’t get much value. And if they’re particularly bad, they could end up getting your links removed.

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No early momentum

It’s hard to build momentum in a link building campaign, especially when you’re starting from scratch. Your brand has little onsite content and no meaningful reputation, so it’s hard to get publishers to agree to publish your work. It’s an uphill battle to overcome this, and some business owners simply throw in the towel prematurely.

Excessive link building speed

According to Link.Build, “an overly-heavy focus on link building–to the exclusion of all else–can foster a culture of corner-cutting when it comes to quality.” It’s tempting to build as many links as possible as fast as possible (especially if you’re eager for results), but this could be your undoing.

“Bad” external content

Modern link building strategies often rely on high-quality external content. Properly housed, your link won’t just pass authority to your site – it will also add value to your readers. But if your content is poorly targeted or poorly worded, your links won’t be as reliable or effective – and your brand reputation could take a hit too.

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Unoptimized link placement and context

The placement and context of your links also matter. If your link doesn’t make sense with the rest of the article, or if it’s the only link readers encounter, it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.

Poor link diversity

Good link building strategies incorporate diversity. They include links to many different internal pages and rely on a wide variety of publishers. If you try to only build homepage links, or if you rely on the same sources repeatedly, it will be your undoing.

No plan to scale

Even if you get a good rhythm for your first few links, scaling can be difficult. You’ll need a solid, future-focused plan if you want to succeed long-term.

Focusing on the Positive

While there are many ways that link building can fail, there are also many ways it can be done well. You’ll have a wide range of options for developing your link building campaign, including the types of content you write, the publishers you choose, and even the keywords you target. Plan your strategy carefully and work with an expert if you can to mitigate your risk of failure. 

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