5 Link Building Lies You'll Hear

Travis Bliffen
by Travis Bliffen 08 Dec, 2015

Rolling over to a new year is a trigger point for "this or that is dead" articles; you would think that Google only makes update at the end of the year the way articles start popping up.


That being said, here are five link building tactics that will still work in 2016 unless Google does decide to actually make a yearend change, in which case, we will cover it here.


1. Guest Posting is Finally Dead


Low-quality guest posting for the sake of building keyword rich anchor texts has been a bad idea for a few years now, if you are still doing this, it is time to get up to speed. If you are reaching out to high-quality sites that market to your audience, guest posting is never going to die. Even if it didn't boost your rankings, it would still send qualified referral traffic, an instant win. So next time you read about the imminent death of guest posts in a headline, save your time and read something useful like how to build high quality links without writing a ton of content or tips on how to create great content.


2. Web 2.0 Link Building No Longer Works


In the past many link builders would start link building campaigns off by creating blogs on sites like WordPress, Blogger and Rebel Mouse. In the past, a single article, often times spun, would be added to the blog and linked to the money site. These blogs would then have high volumes of low-quality links built to them in order to boost the Page Authority hosting the link. This method is no longer a good idea, as a matter of fact it should have ended in 2013 at latest. 


That being said, you can still derive value from building out Web 2.0 sites. They can be a good source of traffic, can help you control your online brand reputation, and they can still be part of a good link building strategy. In order for them to have value though, you need to spend the time to create blogs that actually offer value to the reader. Every site should be set up as a standalone blog that people would want to read. Quality content, regular updates and ongoing link building to these blogs are a must if you go this route in 2016. Here is a great example of Tumblr, a Web 2.0 site being used by a brand properly.


If you don't have the time or resources to manage Web 2.0s properly, focus on outreach link building instead.


3. PBNs are All You Need


Done correctly, private blog network (PBN) link building can be pretty low risk and incredibly powerful. These types of links are like dynamite though. If you aren't experienced, using them is dangerous. Failing to use them in just the right quantity can be disastrous and they are not always the best solution. If you are not familiar with building PBNs, don't risk it, there are too many things that can go wrong. If you are using them, don't make the mistake of using only these types of links. Link diversity is very important and you should be diversifying your efforts by getting links that drive traffic as well. Don't try to cut corners and use just one type of links in 2016 or you are going to get burned. If you aren't sure how to diversify, check out our recent post on creating your first 44 backlinks.


4. SEO Software is "Only for Spammers" or is a "Push Button Link Building Solution"


There are tons of pieces of SEO software on the market today that range from automated link building tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker to tools like Scrapebox, often referred to as the Swiss Army Knife of link builders. Automated link building is not a good idea in 2016 unless you know exactly what you are doing, why you are doing it, and fully understand the risks of your methods. Other pieces of software are also wrongly demonized by those who don't quite understand the many legitimate uses for those tools.


Take Scrapebox for example, it was originally made to be a bulk comment spam tool and for that purpose, it is not useful to link builders any longer. On the other hand, you can use the tool to find broken links, locate resources pages at scale, and to pull URL lists from even huge sites, all of which are legitimate uses. Next time you read about a tool being the reason for an SEO failure, remember, no tool is better than its operator.


5. Link Building is All You Need


This may seem obvious to some of you but I have gotten numerous calls from people asking for our link building services and wanting to pass on any on-page SEO reviews or edits. As I touched on last week, SEO has evolved and with it, our role as marketers has also evolved. In order to successfully promote and rank a site, technical on-page SEO, page speed, UX, content assets and link building are all needed. If you want to get to and stay on top in 2016, you need to build assets that deserve to be ranked and that users will enjoy.


Bonus Tip: Stop Asking - Start Researching


I see and hear one type of question all the time. How many links do I need? What anchor text ratios should I use? How long does my content need to be? Etc. Etc. Etc.


The truth is, there is not a set number that you should shoot for across the board. If you are trying to rank for roofing services in St Louis, take the time to see what the top 10 sites are doing and make a side by side comparison of those metrics. You will quickly see that every keyword, niche and location takes a different combination to rank so stop asking for generalizations and spend that time doing research. My go-to tools for competitive research are SEMrush and Majestic Backlink Explorer, neither of which I am affiliated with.