My last article was on the tactics that do work for link building in 2018, however it is just as important to consider what tactics no longer work and what you need to chuck to the kerb. As well as building links on a regular basis, I’m also a blogger and have written for a number of larger publications, therefore I’ve been on both sides of the coin, helping me to identify what leaves me writhing with frustration.
1) Attaching a press release as a PDF
Don’t be a dick. You can attach the article as a word file, but you really want all of the core details in the email itself, with the attached word file just to show the entire article. You also want to leave the images off the article, as these should really be offered at the end of the email as a ‘please do let me know if you’d like me to send over some images’. If you attach huge files it most likely won’t get through and if they are in the article then they are probably the wrong dimensions.
2) Blindly following DA
I have spoken about this topic before, but it still rattles my gears. People seem to think the Moz DA has a direct correlation with the websites rankings or trust from Google. Have a quick look at a spammy link building directory of the past that has absolutely no rankings and you will probably see a decent DA of 50+. Then have a look at a small time blog and you might only see 20. However if you do a simple check on SearchMetrics or SEMrush, you will see their actual rankings on Google and the search volume for the associated terms, which will often completely contrast with the DA.
3) Competitor’s Old Links
Don’t get me wrong, I look up what our competitors are doing each month, both for inspiration and to make sure they aren’t hijacking any of my stories. However when people download a giant list of backlinks and start working through the list, the fear does pop up for me. They are going through every fad, dodgy tactic and now debunked trick. These links might have been powerful back in the day and could still pass on some link juice, but you need to sift through very carefully.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t look through a competitors backlinks, this is a great tactic to find potential sites, but take great caution and consideration before acting.
4) Spamming bloggers
I’m writing this as a blogger, but it amazes me this is still a fundamental plan. I know a digital marketing agency, that aims to get 30-50 blogger links per month for their clients. When discussing how their clients were doing, they said they hadn’t seen many positive results. I then explained how I had gained close to 150 referring domains last month, all powerful newspapers, television stations and radio channels, all for a small brand with zero budget. Without going too deep, it is about aiming a bit higher with your targeting. Plus, if you get in the big papers, the bloggers will inevitably take notice.
5) “Hi, How Are You?”
This one might be confusing from the headline, but I mean spamming out emails to hundreds in one go, through a tool such as Gorkana. I receive approximately 50 emails per day like this and, big surprise, I tell them all to do one. But the thing that Really annoys me is the desperate attempt to add personalisation. “I recently read your article on … and loved it”, no you didn’t, don’t lie to me, now I actively hate you. Sure, I’m just becoming a grumpy old man with a cat on my shoulder, but the end result is the same, a bunch of people who see you as a spammer.
6) Make Interesting Press Releases
99% of the press releases I receive could put an ADHD hamster to sleep. I’d put up an example but I’m scared the mere sight will put me into a deep coma and I have a few things to do today. Needless to say, there are a fair few who are guilty of this, but it doesn’t have to be so.
7) Stop Asking For Exact Match Anchor Text
I can’t believe I’m currently having to write this, but so many people still beg for certain terms. The simple fact is, if you change your mindset and you are getting into the Sun and the Metro, you shouldn’t be overly fussed about the word using, you should be at the pub having a celebratory pint. But it’s the low level targeting mindset.
8) Content Length
Now I’m not saying all articles should be beasts, especially if you are contacting national publications, but if you are targeting bloggers, please look at their other articles and consider how long they would want it. I NEVER say yes to guest posts, however I was contacted by a fellow new blogger who wanted to share a story on how he survived a crocodile attack. This story seemed like an absolute must, so I excitedly said “yep, do send it over and I’ll make sure to link back to your blog”.
He excitingly sent over the word article, which very quickly left me in a state of frustration. The entire word count came to 250. A quick look on my website would show the average word count was 800-1,500, therefore this would barely be an opening paragraph on my site. I then took a section of the content and looked for it online and it was already existing content on his site. Their were spelling mistakes throughout and it was barely understandable…I told him to make sweet love to a strawberry plant and he honestly seemed disappointed. I’m not sure what he was expecting, but he completely missed an opportunity for a free link.