Linkbuilding tactics to stop, drop and roll with

I admit that SEO is mostly about links.

Sure, it’s about writing kick-ass on-site content and a bunch of other stuff too but without other websites talking about yours? It’s pretty difficult to rank well and get organic search traffic visiting your site.

Even Mr. Google says so himself:

But to build organic traffic, you need to build links… without building for links.


Google hates people who link build for links.

But how do you know if you’re doing it right?

Here I explain tactics you should stop doing right away, explain why what you’re currently doing may be wrong and what you should be doing instead.

Be ready to have your mind blown:

Stop doing these things… they’re really, REALLY bad:

You want sites to be linking to your content that are… well… high quality. That means that you should stay WELL clear of:

  • Link farms (baa) – these are sites where you just submit your links and hey presto, it’s live.
  • Web directories (unless they are related to your industry, but for these purposes I’m talking about ‘web directory’ etc)
  • Blog comments – this is generally fine if you’re a blogger and are commenting on other people’s blogs, but don’t do it as a link building activity as it won’t increase your authority.

These activities don’t really count as link building anymore and are traditionally thought of as spam. Any website owner with a comments field will know that spammers try to get links from your site for this exact reason… and usually with a tell tale comment…

*Warning in joke*

Anyone actually ever googled ‘[Insert name here] Technique to rank #1 in Google’?

*Ends in joke*


When the world of link building was just starting out, it was ALL about quantity. It didn’t matter where you were getting links from, as long as you were linking.

Nowadays things are a bit more complicated. If you’re linking from these sorts of sites? They won’t count for much. You may not necessarily be penalised for it (but you could be!), but they won’t be passing you any of that beautiful link juice.

You’re not going to like this one… Things you shouldn’t really be doing (but probably are):

Now. Bad sites in Google’s eyes are sometimes hard to spot. They may ‘look’ like good sites and you may think that you’re doing a good thing, but it may end out harming you.

You’re not going to like this one I’m afraid.

Bad sites are often sites that accept guest posts for links. These are sites that leading link research tool (aptly named Link Research Tool) deem as High Risk.


They often feature too much heavy anchor text for ‘golden’ keywords like: Buy THIS PRODUCT NAME. AKA, the “really obviously a paid link”.

They’re sites that actively promote the ‘old style’ of link building, where you could contact a site with relevant content to them, and for a fee, they’d add it to their site with a juicy link.

Well? Nowadays, these sites are frowned upon as Google Guidelines clearly state that any paid for links MUST be No Follow.

Sure, it’s completely understandable why some site owners still do it and I genuinely don’t blame them.

I’ve been there. When given the choice of being paid and getting a gig, vs not being paid, those link building are often forcing the hand.

It’s the guys paying for the links and often demanding a follow link that are causing no end of problems.

What you should be doing:

You should be seeking links from high quality websites. These are sites that are:

  • Relevant/related to YOUR industry
  • Those that you’d expect to be talking about your content
  • Don’t have an open guest post for all policy (these are article farm websites)

You should target websites that have a higher authority website than yours. Whether you measure that with Moz’s Domain Authority or use Link Research Tools Power * Trust, there are loads of trustworthy free toolbars you can download to your browser to find out whether a site is good or not.

If you’re asking for a link – never mind paying for one, or giving away free stuff for it, then get ready for it to be NOFOLLOW. No exceptions.

“WHAAA? But Jelly… HOW can you build authority if you’re not passing the link juice through?”

I’m going to drop some heavy advice here and get ready because it’s THE most important lesson on link building you’ll ever read:

In essence, you want to find sites that can drive traffic to yours.

That may sound like a “Well DUH” moment but…

When you enter the world of link building, this end goal is often lost. People get obsessive about ‘THE LINK’.


But remember this:

It’s not just about the link for a link sake – think about the MUCH bigger picture of driving TRAFFIC and conversions (if you’re trying to sell something).

If you’re link building to increase your authority? You’ll not get very far with the ‘new’ Google.

If you’re link building to get more people to visit your site? Then you’re on the right track.

It’s all about generating relevant traffic. After all, that’s why you’re building links in the first place isn’t it?

If people who you are paying or asking for a link off of are good enough, then it won’t matter.

So stop thinking about link building for links, and start thinking about the traffic.