Link building is one of the most vital SEO strategies and the hardest to get right. Unsurprisingly, some SEO specialists might choose to use shortcuts instead or even ignore them entirely, hoping they don’t have to put in so much effort.

But the truth is that they do, and you do too. Hardly any website with a successful SEO strategy has not adopted a meaningful link-building approach. That’s your goal, too. But you might be making some mistakes hindering your site’s progress. Read on to learn about them and start fixing up.

1. Assuming That You Don’t Need Links

Perhaps the most classic mistake in link building is assuming that the quality of your content is enough to attract links to your website. While this is true to some extent, you would be harming your website if you believe you don’t need to put effort into proactively building links. You do.

Think about some excellent articles, books, videos, etc., that greatly help you but are not mainstream. It is one thing to write quality content, but it is another to promote it to get to people who need to see it.

Link building achieves the latter, and when you start thinking about it in this manner, you start to rest on your oars less.

2. Not Repairing On-Page SEO First

The people who exist on the other side of the spectrum of our first classic mistake are those who prioritize link building entirely over their on-page SEO. They ignore that link building is essentially a content promotion strategy, and its success largely depends on how you engage on-page SEO tactics.

Link building strategy is not an excuse not to optimize keywords on your website pages or to not write good meta descriptions. Even the quality of your writing – grammar, coherence, conciseness, etc. – counts. Therefore, before mapping out your plans for link building, ask yourself if you already have a robust content strategy.

3. Performing Poor Outreach

Link building is hard work, and part of that hard work is building meaningful relationships with journalists, editors, bloggers, and other people who have the potential to grant you qualified backlinks. And because there is so much competition for space, the game has changed radically.

It’s hard to win over any editor by using the cliched template of simply requesting a link to your post since you have read many of their articles. Right now, you have to personalize your emails and focus on establishing a relationship first while explaining how your content would be of value to their platform.

4. Targeting Authority Over Relevance

You might have heard several warnings to avoid low-authority websites when building links. Instead, they say, you should focus on platforms with a huge reputation. That’s not good advice, or we could rather say it’s incomplete.

If you are starting your link-building journey, getting the attention of big sites would be very difficult due to the competition. But besides that, you will most likely be best served if you target relevant websites, not just those with high authority.

A high authority website would give your content popularity, but if your target population is not among the website’s target audience, you’ll be wasting a lot of backlinks. Hence, relevance is more important.

5. Discounting No-Follow Links

On the surface, all links appear and behave the same. However, on the backend, not all links contribute equally to your search engine rankings, which is what every SEO specialist and site owner is targeting. No-follow links carry a specific instruction that search engines should ignore them for page ranking.

In the context of link building, many websites use no-follow links for sponsored content or when they can’t fully vouch for the reliability of the sites they are linking to. So, say you are guest posting, and the editor says you’ll get a no-follow link. Is it worthwhile?

Some people might say no, and that’s where they miss it. No-follow links may not help your rankings directly, but they help you indirectly. Organic clicks and traffic still count, especially if the link is well-placed.

6. Using Link Farms


Source: Pixabay

Several SEO specialists have been there – the position of the novice who thinks they can game the system into acquiring links. Link farms are born out of this idea. And despite numerous crackdowns over spam and link farms over the years, they still exist if you know where to look.

The issue is that you shouldn’t even look for them. Paying for links defeats the purpose of link building: acquiring qualified links from high-authority websites relevant to your brand and content.

More so, many link farms engage in shady practices that may jeopardize your website’s security, even if Google does not explicitly punish you, a fact that is likely once you start purchasing links.


Link building is complex and challenging, but it is essential for any website that wants to rank well in search engines. By avoiding the classic mistakes discussed in this article, you can improve your chances of success and build a strong link profile that will benefit your website for years to come.


Are reciprocal links still effective for link building?

They used to be at one time, but they are not as effective anymore. Search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated in detecting reciprocal link schemes, and they may not provide as much value as other types of natural, one-way backlinks. You are better off building genuine relationships than relying on such shortcuts.

Can social media links contribute to my link building efforts?

Social media links are often no-follow links, so they may not directly contribute to your website ranking. But they are still a form of link building that can increase your brand visibility, drive traffic to your website, and attract the attention of bloggers who may link to your content – perhaps even with do-follow links.

What role does content promotion play in link building?

The simple answer is: a huge role. One may say that link building is a type of content promotion. The whole point of having a link-building strategy is that simply creating great content is not enough; you need to promote it to increase its visibility and attract backlinks actively.