4 Link Building Myths Businesses should Avoid in 2019
Can I just use this moment to say that April Fools are absolutely moronic and that we as a society should just stop from participating in this idiocy entirely? I’m not the only one to have made this suggestion; Microsoft first lead the way here when their marketing chief Chris Capossela warned employees to not participate in annoying hoaxes and pranks in an internal memo. I used to be able to tolerate the jokes a decade ago but the world has collectively gotten more absurd in the ten years since that satire is now pretty much dead.
Misinformation has become so big of a problem now that news that would be promptly dismissed as lies ten years ago are now actually taken as ‘truth’. This is true in politics but also true in fields of businesses that aren’t always based on transparency, as is the case with the world of SEO. There’s still a lot that we don’t know about the algorithms used by Google and other search engine providers, which leaves a void that SEO services and marketers like to fill with ‘tips’ and ‘hacks’ that aren’t always based on facts and supporting data, something that we should always endeavor to avoid.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Are you familiar with the website Goop? For those unaware, Goop is a lifestyle company founded by the actress Gwyneth Paltrow that promotes a new age-y approach to life. I like to think of myself as fairly open-minded and I do believe in the benefits of meditation but Goop takes the new age approach into a catastrophically moronic level. For one, Goop has vaginal jade eggs for sale at US$66 that they claimed could help “connect the second chakra and yoni for optimal self-love and well being”. That is certifiably insane.
I get that people would very much like to live well but vaginal jade eggs aren’t going to help you with that, there are other things you could put in there that are certified to give you pleasure if you so desire. In a world where truth is a commodity, separating the fact from fiction is important, especially when the subject is something that’s always been shrouded in secrecy the way SEO is. It’s been two decades since Google search was publicly launched but the world is still no closer in figuring out how the search engine looks like under the hood than 20 years ago.
This secrecy is by design, Google’s search algorithm is their 11 herbs and spices; a trade secret that allows Google, or Alphabet, to be the giant that they are now, hence the secrecy. As a result, SEO can seem like snake oil at least 50% of the time and that even within the industry, there are several common misconceptions around SEO and the concept of link building. Backlinks might not have the cachet they once held when Google’s algorithm was much cruder than they are now but they’re still pretty important and figuring out what is true about link building should be a priority for businesses.
There’s no valid, objective metric for link quality
If you’re thinking of working in the Land of the Rising Sun, the Japanese government has the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), a standardized test to evaluate and certify the Japanese proficiency for non-native speakers. The English world also has the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Anyone thinking of measuring how their Japanese or English holds up could simply take these tests to measure the quality of their proficiency but no such reference criteria exists for backlinks.
Spend enough time reading up on SEO and you’re going to come across several terms such as Domain Authority, Trust Flow and Citation Flow. They might sound like legitimate metric but they’re just terms made up from third-party that merely aims to predict how a website performs when compared to others in terms of SEO. These metrics are not wholly without merit but businesses shouldn’t take them as gospel either when it comes to evaluating the quality of your backlinks.
Don’t hesitate to ask for links
There are some circles out there that consider asking another website for a link is considered spams. This is decidedly not true however as it’s common for websites and/or businesses to submit their information into a relevant directory or publication for promotional purposes. This is especially important for event websites because they have to rely on directories and publications to market their events. This strategy should be not confused as spams as they’re commonly used in most link building strategies.
Backlinks are important but they tend to be overrated
In truth, any valid SEO strategy should encompass much more than just backlinks. The technical makeup and performance of your website should always be considered and so is the quality of your contents. There’s simply no silver bullet when it comes to SEO especially now that Google’s search has become much more sophisticated compared to a decade ago. There’s the question of a user’s intent for example, where Google tries to match a query with the intent of the user to present them with more appropriate results.
Only strive for links that are relevant to your industry
One of the more common advices in link building is to always maintain relevant backlinks. So for example if you’re working in the food industry, you might not want to concern yourself with links coming from a music blog. While this is true in that non-relevant links can be a source for spams, there are cases in which non-relevant links aren’t a problem. In the beginning of this piece for example, I included a link to Microsoft’s ban of April Fools’ joke, which aren’t exactly relevant to SEO and there’s also a link explaining the JLPT several paragraphs above.
I use these links merely for analogies and while they’re not directly related to SEO, it falls under my editorial authority to use them because I feel they help explain the point I’m trying to make. The world is connected and it’s actually pretty common for publications to digress from time and time and as long as the placement of the link makes sense, cases like these shouldn’t be frowned upon, especially if said links comes from websites and publications of reputable standing.