Disclaimer: The below post illustrates a personal experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of SEO.com or the work performed with their clients.
For the most part, link building is pretty straight forward and simple. You can publish your articles, request some directory listings, bookmark links, guest blog posts, request links from other webmasters or even purchase links if you’re feeling particularly rebellious. But keep in mind if you don’t have a strategy behind it, you might fall face-first into a ditch filled with sorrow and regret.
Many times so many of us start a website in hopes that in 5-6 months we might start seeing some decent cash rolling in. Because you need link building to attain those rankings, you need to make sure the links you’re acquiring match the progress that your website is currently at. Let me explain.
Most experienced search engine optimization professionals understand that you need a healthy balance of links. Building links in moderation and keeping a proper anchor text to non-anchor text ratio is crucial. If your entire backlink portfolio consists of anchor text links, it isn’t going to look natural to the search engines. Same can be said if everything is a directory link, bookmark link and especially a comment link.
If you are submitting articles, make sure that you are using your anchor text but also make sure that some of those links back to your site are strictly the URL or business name. If your site is brand new, the number of anchor text to branded links should probably be a 50:50 ratio so your backlinks don’t look unnatural.
However, the same cannot be said about large, established websites. Odds are that if your site has 40,000 backlinks, submitting higher ratio of anchor text links aren’t going to hurt you or your rankings. For example, if you pointed 1000+ spammy, anchor text filled comment links to YouTube, do you think it’s going to make a difference? On the other hand, if you did the same to a brand new site with no reputation or authority, you’ll probably get a penalty very quickly.
I’d like to share a personal experience with this. On one of my personal websites I wasn’t following my own advice. I got in the habit of submitting content using my anchor text. There was variation of the anchor text but I never threw in my URL to make it appear more natural.
For a couple months all I saw was an increase, and for two of my main keywords I even attained first page rankings. I was very happy and hopeful that this website might actually bring in some money. Then, on one fateful day, Google dropped the hammer…
As expected, I was very perturbed to say the least. After looking through my backlinks I found that I clearly wasn’t following best practice. I wasn’t building enough natural looking, credible links. Instead I got caught up in my fantastic rankings and continued submitting content, directories, bookmarks and other links using only my anchor text.
Because I was a new site with a limited online existence, building these links worked for almost two months, but it caught up with me. If I was a site with some authority and a very healthy, natural looking backlink portfolio, this probably wouldn’t have happened.
Just remember that the links that you are pointing back to your website need to vary when it comes to your anchor text and method of link being built. I think the same analogy (for the most part) applies to life, “too much or too little of anything, is a bad thing. Keep everything in moderation.”