Link Building in 2013, Year in Review


Has your favorite been marked?

Lately Google has been picking out more and more link building practices and identifying them as manipulative – ideal for manipulating search engines to secure higher rankings.

Do you know which techniques and practices have been selected for this dubious honor?

If you’re not sure, don’t panic just yet. Despite being labeled as having a high potential for abuse and manipulation, not all links built using these methods are automatically going to be marked as being bad links.

Video: Should I add rel=”nofollow” to links that are included with my widget?

The way around a dark label

You might think that a technique has to be abandoned when Google says something bad about it, but this is not always the case. For each of the techniques below there is a “way around” the manipulative practice label.

    • Press release marketing – Once thought of as a legit way to spread the word about your brand, many SEOs saw press releases as a way to spread links far and wide. From now on, making sure that any links you include in a press release are nofollow will help keep your link profile from falling under suspicion.
    • Guest blogging – Guest blogging has been heralded as one of the best link building techniques so far, at least it has been in the past. The SEO community has gone through a vast range of emotions regarding guest blogging; at first it was the greatest, then it was the worst idea ever, and now it is back to being something that can be good or bad, depending on how it is approached. Guest blogging is still a great way to bring in new traffic to your website or blog, but any links need to be nofollow from now on. It’s safe to say that any links back to your site in a guest post aren’t natural, so nofollow is the way to go!
    • Infographics – Another of the top link building ideas, infographics have steadily fallen from grace until they have reached the position they are in today. Everyone used to make infographics and use them as link bait, getting links every time an infographic was shared or embedded. This isn’t a bad idea still, but definitely make sure that the links built this way have the nofollow attribute attached just to be safe.

this infographic brought to you by your friends at RankPop

    • Advertorials – Though they were popular at one time, advertorials (paid advertisements, often in the form of promotional blog posts or announcements) are the opposite of editorials and aren’t really all that reliable anymore. Most of the success from this form of link building and marketing was that people didn’t know if it was paid for or if the publisher just loved the brand that much. As such we would advise against using advertorials to promote your business, but if you have to use them definitely identify the content as promotional and paid for, and make sure to nofollow any links back to your website!
    • Comment links – Again, once popular and now much less so, comment links have long been a source of links in the past. Now however you’re going to find fewer forums and message boards that allow links in the signature area, and most blogs are not allowing them in comments either. If the place you are commenting does not add nofollow to a link, make sure that you can do it yourself, otherwise you’re better off not adding any links at all.

Your takeaway

All of the techniques mentioned above are still viable ways to build links, however if PageRank is what you’re after you may want to steer clear. In order for your website to avoid unwanted scrutiny you will want to add nofollow to any links built using the methods mentioned above.
In the end, these techniques are now ideal for generating interest and driving traffic, and less about increasing anyone’s rankings.


Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source:
  •  License: Image author owned

Kris Dietz loves creating something amazing then spreading the word about it! My mission is to develop and mold SEO into an amazing outlet of sharing valuable resources. I enjoy networking and meeting like-minded individuals.


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