So you’ve heard all about link building and you’ve been working hard to create some links to your website. But alas, you are not yet ranking in the search engines and you are wondering if this link building thing really works, or if you’re doing something wrong?

Here’s why your links are failing to get you ranking:

The Links are Not Diverse

The websites that you have built links from are really important. If you’re always getting links from a similar set of websites, then the links are not diverse enough. Start getting a better variety of links and Google will start rewarding you. Having lots of links from 5-10 websites is not as good as having just one link on 100 diverse websites.

The Links are Not Trustworthy

You really need to assess where you are getting these links from. If they don’t appear to be trustworthy sources, that link is doing more harm than good. Google will think you have paid for the link to be placed on this untrustworthy source.

How do you define an untrustworthy source?

  • There is no SSL certificate (no https:// in the address bar) meaning this website is not as secure as it could be
  • The URL is completely unrelated to the title and content of the website
  • There is no contact information
  • The domain is in English, but the website is in a different language

They are Low Authority Domains

The websites you are getting links from might not have that much authority. If Google isn’t ranking that website, why would a link from that domain increase your chances of ranking?

If you build links from high authority websites that rank well in Google, get lots of good traffic, have strong social channels etc., you are much more likely to be rewarded by Google.

Of course, these are much more difficult to come by if you haven’t got the connections. So how can you stand out when you’re contacting these high authority websites?

  • Show an interest in their existing content when you contact them. You could also hunt out a spelling error or a broken link on their website and let them know. Include a really great sample, or opening paragraph for a topic you think would fit well on their website.
  • Ensure the content or topic you are suggesting is not already written about on their website – this way you are adding some unique value.
  • Mention your social fan base and explain you will be happy to share the article on your social channels.
  • You could offer to link back, but the chances are that if it’s a high authority domain they might not want your links, so don’t use this as your main tactic.

Your Links Are Not in the Right Place

If your links are always in the same place on every website, e.g. they are always placed in the sidebar or on the footer, then this doesn’t fit with what Google would expect from a published piece of content. It’s saying to Google, “this website is just linking to my website or blog feed, but they are not really endorsing something I have published on their website”. This doesn’t work because Google are aware the links are placed for promotional reasons only.

There is Nothing Unique

If all the content you are getting republished is the same article, just on multiple websites, then again this is adding no real value. Google rewards uniqueness and de-values duplicated content. The idea is to get endorsed for unique editorials across a range of different websites. Not only are you building valuable links to your website, you are also adding value to the website you have been published on.

Your Content is Irrelevant

When you’re looking for link building opportunities, you need to focus on websites that are relevant to the niche you are promoting. If you own a pet related blog but you’ve got links from fashion and beauty related websites, this could potentially be more damaging. Google sees this as adding no real value and might perceive it as a manipulative tactic purely just to rank.

Link building is definitely getting a lot harder, and more time and effort is needed to achieve good results. But high-quality links will benefit you much more in the long-run and should stand the test of time as well.

If you haven’t started link building yet, you should have a read of Two Link Building Strategies. If you get link building right from the start, it will serve you well down the line.