SEO is and has always been an ever changing industry.
What’s working today may not work tomorrow, thus creating a lot of confusion among the site owners.
While link building has been one of the most popular ways to improve website ranking, there are enormous controversies that have created some myths and lies about the strategy.
While most of them are quite silly and don’t affect the SEO, some of them can actually get you into trouble.
But, how to differentiate between a myth and a fact?
We’re here to help.
In this article, we’ve carefully chosen some of the common myths about link building. Pay close attention to them and follow the right strategy accordingly.
There could be a number of reasons why people fell for those myths when it comes to link building.
One of the biggest reasons is the search engines. They tend to cover their algorithms in secrecy, thus making the link building industry flooded with lies and myths.
In case you don’t want to get yourself into trouble, check the following myths that won’t get you anywhere near success.
Guest Post is No More!
This is the worst kind of myth that I’ve been hearing for years- “The guest post is dead!”
The root of this myth is a statement from Matt Cutts, and it’s also a good example of why you should use some logic before wrongly interpreting every piece of information you get.
However, while he did say the guest post is dead, it was later clarified that he meant spammy guest posts.
Just ask yourself.
Why would Google punish you for publishing a value-driven content on a highly relevant, trafficked website?
Well, you would certainly get some penalty for spamming the links with keyword-rich anchor texts.
So, the thing is clear now. The guest post is still one of the best link building strategies only if you maintain the quality and use contextual links with naturally occurring anchor text.
Do not write guest posts just to build backlinks, instead make it helpful for increasing your brand visibility and get organic traffic.
I can’t believe so many people still believe in this myth.
While a link isn’t the only factor that will help your site to rank, it’s still one of the most crucial parts of your SEO success.
In fact, the truth is, nothing works better than building highly authoritative, relative backlinks when it comes to rank on Google.
The better the backlinks, the higher the site tends to rank for its target keywords.
You can also check the link building case study by David Farkas if you still don’t understand the importance of backlinks.
This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard from any SEO expert.
Some people think websites will naturally link to your site if you have great content.
It can only be true if you’re already famous and have a number of fans waiting for you to publish something new so that they can share.
No matter how great your page is, you can’t expect people to link to it unless you promote it.
Considering the number of blogging sites these days, no one is going to link to anything you’ve written and publish to your site without you promoting it first.
That’s where the concept of guest post has come.
Unless you fall into those famous website owners who don’t need to worry about the backlinks, approach the webmasters from your niche, create a value-driven guest post, linking it back to your own content to get some amazing SEO effects.
This is the kind of myth that has influenced the rise of PBNs.
There was a time when new website owners, as well as some SEO experts, thought that getting a huge amount of backlinks for their site would help them rank higher.
Getting blinded by the thoughts, they started to get links from anywhere they could without verifying their quality and background.
This is where the private blog networks had experienced their success.
These sets of domains were solely built to provide backlinks to other websites and could provide a significant amount of link juice.
However, those poor quality PBNs are of no use these days and whoever is getting backlinks from these sites can get penalized.
Today, the quality of a backlink matters more than the quantity. You need to evaluate the prospective domain before you approach for the link.
Most people are quite sure that wherever they place the link on a certain page, the value remains the same.
This is definitely not expected from someone who has a bit of knowledge on SEO and link building.
The fact is, links placed within the content tends to provide more link juice than links placed in the header, footer, or any of the sidebars.
Also, where you place the anchor text also affects how easily your page is going to rank.
Regardless of the placement, not all links have the same value.
Backlinks from a high-authority, high-traffic, relevant website will provide you rank higher than a site that is not.
So, if you still think getting backlinks from any site will help you rank higher, you might be putting your site, as well as your business at risk.
You Should Go for Exact Match Anchor Text
Unlike other myths, this one wasn’t born out of utter fiction.
During the old days of SEOs, using the target keyword or the brand name as anchor text was a common practice.
This was an effective link building strategy, along with cloaking and keyword stuffing.
However, SEO has changed a lot since then and for the better, of course, thus turning this concept into a complete myth.
You can expect from a minor to a major penalty if Google sees you using only a few variations of anchor texts.
Needless to say, Google will consider it spammy rather than a natural backlink profile.
So, while you’re creating an article, make sure you come with a diverse anchor text distribution and they all blend naturally in the content.
This is a myth most of us heard about.
While there are so many SEO experts warning us about this practice, the fact is, doing it in the right way won’t put you in trouble.
Asking for backlinks through manual outreach is a common practice and definitely has its good side.
You manually found a domain, wrote a nice pitch to the publisher, requesting to publish a guest post that will link back to your site.
If you are thinking that is too much work on your plate, please do contact a reliable agency that can secure manual outreach based guest post backlinks.
This is a fair exchange and common practice among the website owners. There’s no way it can be something spammy.
But, when you can get a penalty?
If you get your backlink from a site built only for this purpose, there’s a high chance Google will consider this as a malicious practice.
Sending a Lot of Emails Will Help You to Get Links
It’s an old school sales principle that doesn’t work quite well in guest post pitching.
I know a lot of people who send the guest post request to anyone whose site has the tiniest bit of relevancy with their niche.
They think the more emails they send the more links they will get, which is wrong in link building.
The webmaster can only be convinced to publish your guest post if your outreach email is more organized, thoughtful, and personalized.
There are a lot of guest post requests in their inbox and yours one will never see the light of success if it’s not better than those emails written on some boring templates.
So, instead of blindly following such myths and annoying the publishers with a flood of emails, opt for a personalized pitch and building a relationship with the webmaster.
The Penguin Algorithm is a Penalty from Google
This myth has been scaring a lot of site owners since Google launched its “webspam algorithm update” in 2012 that was later known as Penguin update.
However, that really doesn’t mean each and every website will be the victim of the update since it’s an algorithm, not a punishment from Google.
The only websites that will get penalized by this algorithm update are those with spammy links.
So, if you’re avoiding PBNs and pursuing a good linking strategy, you will not be a victim of the update.
This is a myth that can actually ruin your SEO effort and caused by a statement from Andrey Lipattsev, Google Search Quality Senior Strategist.
So, what did he actually say?
According to his statement, links, content, as well as RankBrain are the top ranking factors.
However, the fact is, while backlinks are one of the crucial ranking factors, they aren’t the only ones.
If it was true, it would ignore about 200 other Google ranking factors including user performance, mobile usability, UX, query intent, among others.
In reality, the nature of Google’s ranking factors is quite dynamic, hence it employs different algorithms for determining the results for the queries from different user intent.
Thanks to John Mueller for clarifying this.
However, there’s another thing that might have something to do with this myth.
Several studies have shown that pages found in the top three results are likely to have a significant number of backlinks.
This is where the confusion arises.
Are the pages ranking well due to the number of backlinks they have or are they getting backlinks because of their position in the SERP?
The truth is, a page in position 4 can easily overthrow another page from position 2 with twice as many backlinks if it gets more clicks.
So, while backlinks are definitely important, other factors remain equal.
With so many claimed SEO experts out there, link building strategies are filled with facts as they are fallacies.
While link building isn’t rocket science, chances are you will get confused between those myths and facts if you’re new in SEO.
However, if you think carefully and go through some case studies, you will see those myths are just a common practice without having any strong base.
So, don’t let them ruin your reputation, as well as your ranking. Learn how to spot the truth and follow the best SEO practices.