The world of link building, just like digital marketing, is forever changing.  The methods that use to work for link building have quickly become outdated.  To help make sure you’re not still in 2011 when it comes to link building, here are 6 old strategies to ditch and what to replace them with:

Old: Repetitive Anchor Text

Once upon a time, you could build several links using the exact same anchor text for the keyword you were looking to rank for time and time again, and you ranked for it.  Slowly, Google started introducing penalties for this behaviour.  These days, you can’t get away with it.  The giant search engine doesn’t like unnatural patterns in your link profile and a heavy dose of one keyword raises suspicion.

If you think about it, links you naturally obtain are often using either the business name as the anchor text, the domain, “click here” or “their website” etc.

Pie Chart of Anchor Text Percentage

New: Vary your anchor text and concentrate on building a high-percentage of natural-looking links, such as your brand name.  On occasions, mix your brand name in with the keywords you are targeting.

 

Old: Link Exchanges

The original method of link exchanges was to create specific “links/resources/friends” pages and dump all of your exchanges in there.  The person you were exchanging thing would do the same on their site.  Hopefully you ditched this method a long time ago.  Having your link on a page with several others, some of them probably not even related to the site they are on, isn’t serving as a benefit to you.

Handshake

New: Webmasters have been clever with their way of exchanging links more recently.  Exchanging articles with a link in the content has taken off and is a more sensible approach and one less-likely to get you penalised.

 

Old: Blogroll and Footer Links

For a short period of time, it became fashionable and effective to build links in the blogroll and footers of external websites.  Often, this included paid links.  In today’s game, having sitewide links in the blogroll and footer are often frowned upon by Google.  It’s rarely worth taking the risk anymore.  An exception being where you can get your link in a blogroll of a high quality website of course.Blogroll links

New: This method was replaced by building in-content links and is one of the most successful methods still working.  As with all links these days, get your links within articles from good, relevant websites, whether you attract them without much effort, or via guest posting.

 

Old: Article Directories

I was never a big fan of this method, but submitting articles into directories such as Squidoo, Ezine Articles and Hub Pages gave out some small link benefit at one point.  Nowadays they’re generally filled with spam and the amount of link juice coming from them isn’t worth your time.  And you’ll need to put a lot of effort into them to get traffic.  Google’s updates over the past year have also seen a number of these sites lose their own keyword rankings, which suggests they may have lost their value too.

Article Spinner

New: Instead of writing numerous articles for the sake of 1 link at a time, produce much better content that can attract links into your work that give you more link juice.  Doing this means you can put some of this work on your own blog to attract links, as well as writing articles for third party websites that have a link or two pointing back to you.  The phrase “content is King” is coming back into fashion.

 

Old: Directory Submission

Directory submission used to be the first-port-of-call for many link builders to get a website off the ground.  This was mainly because they were quick, easy links to get.  Easy for one, easy for all.  Submitting your website to low-quality directories these days is a no-no.  Especially if they are paid.  Google don’t like you paying for links remember.

If you’re in these poor directories, your link is likely to be placed amongst low-quality websites.  These could be adult websites, casinos, online pharmacies etc.  Do you want your link amongst those?  No you don’t.  Aside from the low-quality directories, there are a couple of human-edited, niche directories out there that can give you a tiny benefit.

Example of Directory Link Building

New: You’re probably only submitting to directories because you don’t have time or creativity to do some proper link building.  That’s when you may want to consider outsourcing it.

 

Old: Why You Shouldn’t Setup Social Profiles Solely for Links

Some social networks allow you to include a DoFollow link in your profile, and services such as KnowEm make it quick and easy for you to setup more than 100 social networking profiles with a link back to your site.

I’m unaware of this working as a link building strategy, but I’ve certainly come across instances of it being used to try manipulate Google rankings regardless.  This method really does not work and is not advised.  Think about it, your profile is likely to be just 1 of 1000s of other profiles on the site, so the quality of the link you are receiving from your profile is going to be filtered down substantially.  On top of that, if you’re not using your profile, you’re probably not going to have many followers and therefore a lack of links pointing to your profile, making it one of the weakest pages on the social network.

Example of Twitter link

New: Instead, sign up to all of the social networks you plan on using and use them.  If they give you a DoFollow link, great.  Social networks should be used in this way for social media and not link building.  By all means use them to get your content out as link bait.

Need help with your link building?  Call me.

PS – I hope you enjoyed the 90s clip art :)