Have you ever tried Googling tips on link building? Well, I have. Surprisingly, most of the posts shared outdated or even wrong information. It took me lots of scrolling to find bits and pieces of valuable advice. And some of the poor-quality posts were ranking remarkably well on Google!
The Internet made it very easy to share your thoughts and ideas with others, which is great. But the flip-side of it is so-called “experts” rushing to give advice on topics they are barely familiar with.
I was not the only one sharing the frustration. By talking to some of my colleagues, I realized that a lot of people actually follow those “expert tips” and get burnt…That is how an idea for this post came to mind. What if I ask digital marketers in my circle to share the worst link building advice they have ever heard about!? Bingo!
This is how this post was born. Here are the top 5 most ridiculous tips that experts shared with me in this round-up:
Can you believe that people were actually recommended to do that? Crazy! Let’s take a look at what other absurd link building advice people heard. And remember to NOT follow it 🙂
Worst Link Building Advice 2021: 45+ Experts Shared What NOT To Do!
1) Matteo Gasparello
Let me tell you a story.
An old client of mine wanted to rank for a long tail, high competition keyword. The keyword, on paper, was great because the search intent was purchase-focused.
The problem was, the client said: “Let’s create a page with as much content as possible. This is what Google wants nowadays to rank pages and to generate backlinks.”
End of the (sad) story.
This was the worst link building strategy I have ever heard for two reasons.
Reason one, nobody links to you just because your content is long. People link to you and share your content because what you say is meaningful and helps others.
Reason two, Google doesn’t rank pages just because it’s long. Longer content tends to perform better because it covers a topic in more detail, so people stick around that page longer, but a higher number of words is not enough of a reason for Google to rank your content higher.
Please let’s all try and stop going for the “hack” and the quick win at all costs, and let’s make the internet a better, more interesting place by creating more interesting content.
2) Irina Weber
Website/Blog: SE Ranking
Guest Posting negatively affects link building. This is the biggest misconception that I have ever heard about link building. Guest posting on highly relevant and authoritative resources is a good way to increase your brand visibility across the web and market your business. It’s actually one of the best ways to secure links and establish long-lasting relationships.
3) Kevin Indig
Using software like Xroomer to spam post links across thousands of blog posts or youtube comments is probably the worst link building idea I know. There was a time when that worked – but that time is long gone. Instead, anything that’s hard to replicate at scale, such as building long-term relationships, gets you links nowadays.
4) Ryan Robinson
Oh man, the worst link building advice I’ve ever seen is to spend hours going around commenting on blog posts that go after the same keywords as the article you’re including as your “website link” in the comment submission process. It’s bad advice because it’ll almost guarantee your comment being marked as spam and you could burn a bridge with the owner of that blog—rather than instead reaching out to try and establish a relationship with them (that could grow into something like an eventual guest post).
5) Jason Barnard
That a no-follow link is not worth pursuing. They always have been worth pursuing as long as they are relevant… Even more so now with Google’s change in stance on how they treat them, but also in a world of entity-based search where a link is considered to be a relationship between two entities (pages). No-follow or follow, a link is still a relationship!
6) Joe Williams
Website/Blog: Tribe SEO
The worst link building advice I hear is that you need X number of backlinks per month. Clients like to hear something concrete, so agencies suggest a number. Already the mindset is on volume first, rather than quality. You’ll hear things like: “you’re in the travel space, you’ll need at least 200 backlinks per month”. Chasing 200 high-quality backlinks per month is no easy feat, so often corners will be cut, the quality will drop, and web spam will increase. When this happens, you’re on a one-way ticket to a search engine penalty.
7) Justin Champion
Website/Blog: Inbound Strategy Camp
The most bizarre piece of advice I ever heard around link-building was that adding a ton of comments on blogs with links back to your site helps with ranking in search results. This advice probably came from the 90s when we didn’t know any better than to spam everything we could get our hands on, however, today it’s simply not true.
That said, there are still benefits to adding relevant comments on relevant blogs with links back to your site. Adding helpful comments with links to relevant comment can help with traffic to your site, reputation building, and even lead generation if you lead people to an optimized conversion path. But rankings? Not so much. If you do invest in this tactic though, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of relevancy. Make sure the sites you comment on are writing for your target persona and you’re adding helpful, relevant comments and links that make sense to the context of the post.
8) Vlad Calus
Don’t do link building – it’s so 2015. Nobody cares about it.
9) Vukasin Vukosavljevic
Popular SEO websites are great. Personally, I absolutely love Backlinko, Moz and Webris. Since they’re insanely popular, it goes without question that a lot of people are reading them regularly.
So if you go and blindly copy an email template for prospecting or to chase backlinks from Brian Dean, you’d be sending emails that a lot of other people are using as well. No authenticity, you’re not standing out one bit and, as a result, most of these campaigns fail to achieve anything meaningful.
Plus, I think the marketing world needs more authenticity and more honesty at the moment. You don’t have to create everything from scratch. But if you take somebody else’s template, do some editing on it. Use it as inspiration, but make it sound like you. It goes a long way, trust me.
you. It goes a long way, trust me.
10) Suganthan Mohanadasan
Website/Blog: Digital marketing consultant
Always try to get “follow” links and avoid “no-follow” links. – It’s terrible advice cause you should aim to have a good ratio of “follow” and “no-follow” links to keep your link profile look natural. In the wake of a recent announcement made by Google, soon no-follow links ‘may’ start passing PageRank.
Use a template and send mass emails to a scraped email list – Again this is bad because it has the lowest success rate. Just like you, there are thousands of others sending similar templated emails. Your email will likely get flagged as spam.
Ask for a link in your first email because your content is better and adds ‘value’ to your readers. – It’s a classic mistake made by link builders. You need to build relationships before you can start asking for links. If you’re going to send someone and email out of the blue and ask for links, it’s not going to be efficient.
Always aim for sites with high DA/DR metrics. – The domain metrics like DA, DR are good to get an idea about the popularity of the website; it’s helpful to get links from such sites. But, don’t neglect sites with lower authority. They might gain power over time. Also, you must focus on getting links from sites that are topically relevant to your site. Topical relevancy trumps DA/DR.
11) David Alexander
If you build it, they will come.
While content creation is an essential component it’s not the end of the content marketing cycle. In the early days of SEO when the competition was thin on the ground, you might have gotten lucky with this tactic a handful of times but those days are long gone. If you want to generate backlinks the only option is to be proactive. I see so many bloggers and website owners boasting about the number of articles they can produce but fear this comes at the expense of properly marketing each piece.
12) Jordan Stella
People like to say that link-building is a numbers game. It shouldn’t be. Don’t just cast a wide net and hope things stick. Take the time to research prospects first and craft meaningful messages that provide REAL value.
13) Jeff Previte
So many marketers and SEO experts approach link building with a narrow focus. There’s a lot of bad advice centered on writing crappy backlink request emails. And yes, outreach plays a big role in link building, but focusing just on acquiring links is too shortsighted. In fact, the term “link building” is limiting because really what we are talking about is relationship building.
The one-off backlink requests can get you small wins, but you’re better off developing and maintaining strong relationships with people in your space who are genuinely looking to delight their audience. And if your content aligns with that mission, you’re going to get backlinks. That goes both ways too – if their content fits your mission of delivering value to your readers, link to them.
In short, remember you’re engaging with human beings who have human audiences. Avoid the BS email templates that are insincere and focused on cheap flattery. Instead, showcase how your content benefits their readers. And continue delivering value to them on an ongoing basis.
14) Chris Makara
The worst advice I’ve ever heard is that Fiverr is the place to go when you need links. For a mere $5 you can get thousands of links to your site.
Are they relevant sites? No.
Do the sites have strong domain authority? Unlikely.
But for $5, you can get countless links.
And in the end, links are what matter…not where they come from 🙂
So, I’d say relying on Fiverr is the worst link building advice I hear about.
15) Oksana Chyketa
When it comes to link building, I’ve tried tons of strategies and I guess it’s easier for me to say what the best link building advice is rather than the worst. I can also tell that all the strategies you can find all over the Internet are workable but not always 100% efficient. The effectiveness of every single link building strategy depends on your goals, your business type, and your niche. With the right strategy in place, link building can help boost your ranking, drive traffic, and establish yourself as an industry expert.
The thing is that every business is unique and has its own peculiarities which lead to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And when I hear that there is no need to experiment with different tactics but relying only on the proven ones, I consider such pieces of advice to be the worst. I strongly believe that what works for one business might work for you but it also might not. So, instead of ruling the so-called inefficient link building strategies, give them a chance and probably they would bring more value for your type of business than you expected.
16) Dmitry Dragilev
Buy links from blogs that rank high for your keyword. It’s the worst idea ever.
17) Anna Fox
Website/Blog: Hire Bloggers
Post comments to get links! Blog commenting for the main purpose of getting backlinks is poor networking. It is always obvious when you are commenting just for the sake of getting a link! Blog commenting is a relationship-building tactic, on top of everything else. You need to be commenting to add value to the content, to bring a new perspective and encourage the discussion.
Anything else will be obvious and may ruin your relationships with the blogger! If you lack inspiration, you can run quick question research to find what people like to discuss on the topic and comment on a good question. That always works great for creating an engaging discussion! Do comment a lot. But never do that for links!
18) Ivan Palii
I keep hearing from colleagues that backlinks are no longer playing a big role, but that’s not true. Backlinks are still the primary method Google uses to prioritize pages in SERPs. A solid backlink profile allows you to prove to a search engine that you’re a trustworthy brand that quality sites within your niche are actively referring to.
However, all websites reach a certain point where external links are no longer the number one reason why their competitors are outranking them. Among the most significant reasons are internal links, behavioral factors (i.e. bounce and exit rates and the average time on page), and other sources of traffic that a particular page has.
19) Robbie Richards
Someone recently told me the quickest way to build a ton of high authority anchor-rich backlinks was to use press releases to syndicate content with in-text links. This may have worked years ago, but like most things, it got abused, and as a result, is now viewed by Google as a Link Scheme. Don’t use press releases for link juice, you’ll put your business/clients at risk.
20) Jeremy Boudinet
The worst link building advice I’ve seen is people falling for the pay-to-play model. (i.e. if you pay us x dollars, we’ll link to you on our site). There are vastly more cost-effective ways to drive links using real relationships, PR services, HARO, et cetera. The goodwill and friendly business relationships you create from organic, relationship-driven link building are huge.
21) Dario Zadro
Website/Blog: Zadro Web
I’ve been in the SEO industry for quite a long time. Back in the early 2000s (pre-Penguin and Panda), link building was all about anchor text, and lots of it. I remember back then thinking about how this will go south for many SEOs. Like most people, I too experimented heavily with link building back then. That era had terrible advice for sure.
Fast forward to today, and link building still has inadequate information. Bad advice ranges from thinking there some magic ratio of anchor text to people still building links without any strategy. The worst advice comes from SEOs not experimenting on their own. If I can add some good advice here, it would be that high relevance and good authority are essential.
22) Joel Widmer
Website/Blog: Fluxe Digital Marketing
Some of the worst link building advice I’ve seen comes from ‘experts’ who only focus on one thing and use that one thing to try and fix everything. (If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail approach) So link builders trying to fix UX and conversion problems with more links or SEO’s trying to fix or rank poor quality content by optimizing it more etc. Some of the worst advice I’ve heard from these types of people are things like:
“You don’t need link building or an SEO strategy if you just create better content.” Another big piece of bad advice is the link-builder saying they don’t need input from the client on customer research for their keywords, instead they rely solely on their keyword research tools. No better way to rank for a bunch of irrelevant search terms!
23) Kosta Bankovski
Website/Blog: Netpeak Software
Any advice telling to choose link donors based only on metrics like Domain Authority, Trust Flow, etc. Long gone are the days when website evaluation was based solely on PageRank score or any equivalents with different names. If you want to get high-quality backlinks, you need to take a complex approach to the link building process. Unless you want to get backlinks from trash PBNs, check the site for niche relevance, quality of external links, quality of backlinks, traffic, etc.
24) iEva Zelca
Answer to question: The worst advice I’ve heard is just to buy cheap links. On top of the fact that paying for links is a violation of Google’s terms of service, you can also end up with bad links. You need to know where your links will come from and is it worth your investment. Domain Authority (DA) is a good barometer to look at but you can’t only rely on DA.
Linking domain should offer content that is relevant to your business and it should have high traffic value. You should avoid spammy sites but there are plenty of good opportunities with lower DA that can be beneficial to you.
25) Miłosz Krasiński
Website/Blog: Miłosz Krasiński
Don’t check just primary and secondary traffic (I hope you do), neither the ratio between IP addresses and domains. These are very important metrics but the traffic itself it’s taken into the DR equation. Evaluating the link by DR won’t take you far. The most important metric for me as of 2019 and beyond its ultra topics relevance.
If the domain is only and only having topics about one single subject matter than it’s the one you were looking for. And lastly, check the ratio between incoming and outgoing links. If the number of outgoing links is higher than incoming links it’s a sign that you might get very little link juice, as a result, it won’t be as powerful as you would like to have. I don’t have to mention that but the URL you trying to get the link from should be indexed right?
26) Lilach Bullock
Website/Blog: Lilach Bullock
It’s one that still makes me laugh: that you should only get very high DA sites and that search engines don’t even look at the rest. While it’s definitely a huge plus to get a backlink from a high DA site, you also need to build a lot of links to see real results. Basically, you need to find the sweet spot between quantity and quality. And don’t go for spammy websites – that could definitely damage your SEO.
27) Sameer Panjwani
Go and find blogs and forums where you can leave a comment. That’s the worst possible thing one can do. Firstly, in most cases, the links are no-follow but the whole point of contributing a comment in these platforms is to add value and not to build a link.
28) Adam Connell
Website/Blog: Blogging Wizard
The web is littered with terrible link building advice but one of the most dangerous things I see people saying is “You should do [insert terrible tactic] because it’s working for me and Google won’t find out.”
… Then Google finds out. Goodbye, search for traffic. Goodbye business.
Just because something works now, doesn’t mean it will always work. And if you’re giving link building advice, it’s critical to include context so beginners don’t end up going down the wrong path.
29) Mile Živković
The worst bit of link building advice I’ve heard is that a website’s DA (domain authority) is all that matters when building a new link. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I have seen quite a few sites with high DA that were not getting a link from. Here are some other things you should keep in mind besides the DA:
– the relevance of the website/link for your business
– the traffic the website gets
– the inbound links that the website gets
30) Jessica Foster
Spinning existing content and submitting it to obscure article directories. With a little research, you can tell that most of these sites are link farms. You’ll end up with a lot of sketchy backlinks if you use this method.
31) Eli Schwartz
Website/Blog: Eli Schwartz
Link building is an overly complex process and even Google’s John Mueller recently said it’s impossible to know which links even work. With that in mind, the advice to just buy sponsored posts is a terrible waste of time and money.
Most of the sponsored posts I have ever seen to be such low quality, I would be surprised if they had any effect whatsoever on rankings. I have always found that PR efforts that end up with links have a far better impact and there is no money that needs to be exchanged.
32) Marie Haynes
Website/Blog: Marie Haynes Consulting Inc. and Wixseolovers.com
Because I started my career in SEO in doing penalty removal, I have seen a LOT of really bad link building. I remember one case where a site was hit hard by an early iteration of the Penguin algorithm. We were working like crazy to disavow unnatural links, but they kept appearing. Every week there would be a new onslaught of low-quality directory and article links for us to disavow.
The business owner was convinced it was a negative SEO attack. But, it felt different to me.
It turns out that the business owner’s nephew was trying to learn SEO. He got most of his advice from really dated forum posts and was secretly trying to help his uncle by building links to his site. He had no idea that he was costing the business so much money and time!
33) Ross Simmonds
Website/Blog: Foundation Marketing
The absolute worst advice I’ve ever received for building backlinks was to hire someone to comment on 150+ blog posts and add a link to the target site in the comments/author name.
34) Paul Granger
Website/Blog: Website Promoter
The worst link building advice I have ever heard was web blog comments or sitewide links usually in the footer, these types of links can quickly get you into trouble with search engines, If you do your research on link building you will soon find out what the best practices are.
35) Chintan Zalani
Website/Blog: Elite Content Marketer
That you can spam top ranking blog posts (even irrelevant to your industry) with generic comments that link back to your money pages. There’s zero value for a reader in it.
36) Jeilan Devanesan
The worst link building advice I’ve ever heard is to build a bunch of websites and link back to your own site. There’s no traffic value, the sites have no authority, and with enough sites, it’ll get flagged as spam by Google. That’ll ultimately hurt you and your business.
Not all links are created equally, and with some effort, you can get high-authority, high-traffic sites to mention you or link back to you and over time, you’ll see drastic increases in traffic and conversions.
37) Sujan Patel
Website/Blog: Voila Norbert
The worst advice I got was that you should pay for links. Stay away from paying for links wherever possible. Google rewards natural links and if a site is charging you for a link then naturally they’ll be doing it to other link builders as well.
38) Georgi Todorov
I attended a webinar and some SEO “gurus” said that the best links are links from PBN sites. And that even a total beginner, someone who doesn’t know SEO can rank sites by following the steps in their course to build PBN sites. That’s not true. It was a scam.
39) Lesley Vos
No matter how you get a link; the main thing is you’ll have it. Buy links, hack their CMS, spam in comments — everything works because the more links you get, the better.
40) Nick Dimitrou
The worst link building advice that I’ve heard is link building is solemnly used for increasing your SERPs visibility, in most instances that’s the case although link building should be treated as a multi-channel point of reference to your website. Which means that by strategically building links to your website will not only help you increase your organic traffic but also increase your referral traffic.
And if you leverage link building strategies like guest posting(which is not dead btw) will allow exposing your blog/brand to relevant people as long as your guest blog is published into a niche-relevant website.
41) Angelo Rosati
Website/Blog: Rebrandly URL Shortener
The worst link building advice I’ve ever heard is that quantity is more important than quality, and that you should reach out to a huge number of people in order to get results. The spray and pray approach doesn’t work anymore.
43) Bogdan Klopov
Asking someone to add your link is spammy and useless. There are countless examples from “SEO-experts” saying there is no need to waste time for outreach. You only waste time and do not get the desired result.
I completely disagree with this statement. By the way, broken link building shouldn’t be avoided as well.
44) Venchito Tampon
Link building is only earned, and not built.
While the majority of SEOs think that link building can’t be built and easily done in so many ways, the truth is, links are earned through a series of steps. It is built practically – inserted on a page in some ways, but the macro perspective of actually doing it is actually earning. A series of steps that determine the earning ability of a link building campaign can be summarized in the following:
- Content asset published appealing to a specific linkable audience
- Link prospects (publishers, journalists, content creators, etc..) that have niche interest and are relevant to the content being pitched to
- Email copies that are written to provide value to recipients, instead of spamming people to aggressively get links
45) Tom Pick
The worst approach to link building is to Google “cheap link building” and click on ANYTHING in those results. As Google’s algorithm has gotten more sophisticated over the years, quality backlinks matter.
It may be possible to get lots of backlinks quickly and cheaply, but they won’t be high-quality links. Relying on a dodgy service to build cheap backlinks is not a path to better rankings. But it may get your site penalized by Google.
46) Darren Foong
Website/Blog: ReferralCandy.com & CandyBar.co
The worst link building advice I got was to ‘just start writing guest posts’. It’s almost like telling someone to just start running marathons to get fit: it makes sense, but you have to work up to it or you’ll get hurt along the way.
Not all guest posts are equal; some guest posts will get one backlink, or worst, one nofollow backlink. Knowing where and how to guest post is something that won’t get an answer if you “just start guest posting”.
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