SEO self-sabotage: 5 ways you’re costing yourself valuable links
Did you know publishing the wrong content can cost you the valuable links you need to get better search visibility? Let's fix that.
Got a website? Want more hits?
We all do.
Some of the best hits come from good search engine rankings. That’s when you get seen by those who want your stuff.
But many business owners struggle to win enough decent links to win good rankings.
"It's often simple things holding you back from winning great links on your own. They're easy to fix – once you're aware of them."
They try promoting their content to great blogs and authority websites in their niche, get nowhere … and give up.
Or they’re driven toward SEO plans that use private blog networks and other dodgy methods that risk search engine penalties – or even removal.
That’s a shame.
Because it’s often simple things holding you back from winning great links on your own. They’re easy to fix – once you’re aware of them.
Let’s jump right in to the five ways you’re needlessly costing yourself valuable links.
1. Beginning promotion after you publish
This sounds like the right way to go about things, right? I mean, you can’t build links to a page that doesn’t even exist yet.
Well, no, you can’t. But you can make your future outreach efforts more effective by doing some good reconnaissance before even picking a topic (much less writing a post).
Don’t guess which topics interest great linkers. See for yourself. Look at their websites and social feeds.
Sound simple? It is. But it’s a step very few business owners seem to take.
2. Always putting your customers first
On first glance this probably sounds crazy. Customers are the whole point of a website, right?
Yes, they are. But you need to separate out the content you’re writing for SEO purposes (i.e. blog posts) from the content you’re writing for persuasion purposes (i.e. sales copy/the copy on the main pages of your website).
SEO content succeeds when it wins quality links.
Your customers? They don’t run popular websites in your niche. Nor have they cultivated a social following for that topic.
This means they have no power to give you quality links. Or to make you visible to those who can.
Who has that power? Bloggers, journalists, and other writers for relevant, high authority websites.
Ideally, you’ll be find topics that engage both customers and these writers.
But for the most part, when you want people to buy, write for buyers. When you want links, write for linkers.
3. Ugly URLs
When you do email outreach, the URL of your post is super-visible. The person you’re pitching it to sees it before they see any other part of the page.
If you just use the default WordPress ‘%postname%’ URL, you will usually end up with something far longer than it should be.
The nicest looking URLs are short, and they tell you at a glance what the piece is about.
Short URLs are also better for on-site SEO. In this interview with Google’s Matt Cutts, he explains that keywords are given less weight as URLs grow longer.
4. Publishing too frequently
Many business owners learn to publish something every week, or even every day.
This is zombie advice: it was badass for yesterday’s SEO.
By posting 400 words every work day, you could grow PageRank while nailing that ‘fresh content bonus’ that Google used to hand out to regularly updated websites.
Today, however, it’s much easier to win great links with one truly jaw-dropping piece than with ten average ones.
5. No visual optimisation
I used to think a well-written page with no effort to improve visuals would beat a gorgeous one with filler text every time. (Actually, I still think that.)
Visuals alone don’t get content shared and linked, but they can make all the difference in getting potential linkers to spend time with the text.
It’s about engagement: text needs a few seconds to engage. Above-the-fold visuals are seen immediately.
Great visuals also tell the person looking at the link that you’re a professional. Which means they’re far more likely to give you that valuable link.
Have you made any of the link-building strategy mistakes above?