Debunked: Nine link building myths you should ignore in 2019

Almost anyone running a B2B or B2C business knows that Google and other search engines like quality links, and could consider them as one of the top ranking factors.

So, if you want your website to rank higher than your competition on search engines, a proper link building strategy is not debatable.

However, if you’re going to implement link building in your 2019 digital marketing strategy, you have to do it the right way.

Search engines shroud their algorithms in secrecy, so the SEO and link building industry is flooded with many myths that will never get you results but can get you into a lot of trouble.

To avoid investing resources into wasted link building efforts, pay attention to these nine link building myths that won’t get you anywhere in 2019.

1. Guest posting is dead

This myth started to get really popular in 2014 when Google’s Matt Cutt said,

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company. So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

Because of how direct and stern this warning by Cutt was, it’s understandable that many people believe that guest blogging is genuinely dead.

However, Cutt later clarified this statement by saying that what he meant was spammy blog posts for the sake of SEO purposes was dead.

This means that publishing relevant and resourceful blog posts on authoritative sites for building links, exposure, branding, increased reach, and building a community is still very relevant in 2019.

2. Links not relevant to your niche are low-quality links

This is a prevalent myth that contradicts the fundamental idea of link building in 2019. To rank high, you need to get top authority sites to link back to your site. To get these sites to feature your link, you need to provide relevant content for them. Moreover, whether or not that content is related to your niche or not, it still improves your ranking.

So, when your site receives a non-relevant backlink from a non-relevant niche, Google will not frown upon these links.

3. Building tons of links to a single piece of content is spammy

Many people still think that building tons of links to a single piece of content could negatively impact their keyword rank. Again, this link building myth contradicts itself because it goes against the idea of organic link building.

If search engines do not penalize highly original and valuable webpage that other websites link to because of how helpful and informative their content is, why would they consider a piece of content with tonnes of backlinks spammy?

However, if your links are low quality (from spammy content networks and directories), you could be slapped with a manual penalty or significant link profile devaluation.

4. Link building is irrelevant if you already rank high in search queries

It’s sad, but many marketers still believe this. Link building, like other digital marketing strategies for social media marketing, blogging, and others should be consistent. Not only because it helps you maintain your position above your competition in search queries, but also because it helps you with the following:

  • Increase your brand’s visibility across the web
  • Increase traffic to your domain
  • Showcase your brand’s authority and value

Link building is not just about increasing the volume of links to your site; it also exposes your business to new customers.

5. Google will always prioritize sites with higher backlinks over others in search queries

The truth is there isn’t a “one size fits all” for search engine ranking. There are about 200 ranking factors related to UX, mobile usability, technical performance, query intent, and many more.

Google’s ranking factors are very dynamic. According to Google Webmaster John Mueller, the search engine focuses on a particular query intent to select its ranking factors.

So, while link building is a valuable ranking factor, Google algorithms find a balance between its 200 ranking factors before displaying results to a search query.

6. All pages/posts/links on your site have an equal ranking value

When people talk about this myth, they usually mean either of these two things:

  • Every post on your site has the same authority or
  • All links on a page are of equal ranking value

Both statements are wrong. In the first instance, a post that has been linked back to by high authority sites will rank higher than others which have not. There are tools like website auditor which can be used to check the individual ranking value of your site’s posts.

As for the second statement, Google’s John Muller confirmed that their search algorithms take into account the position of a link on a webpage it appears.

So take advantage of link positioning. SEO experts like Bill Slawski and Rand Fishkin recommend positioning your links higher on the page because the higher a link is placed on the page, the more it weighs, and the more value it passes to the pages it links to.

7. Internal links don’t help you rank higher

While high-quality external links are one of the most important ranking factors, internal links also play a huge roll in helping you rank higher. This is because linking from higher to lower ranking pages can give a massive boost to weak pages. Interlinking related content on your website also creates what search engine experts call a “topic cluster”.

In 2019, topic clusters are significant because when a search query is made for a particular topic and search engines find relevant topic clusters on your website, your site will be considered an authority in this field and will automatically rank higher than other sites with relevant single pages.

8. Stuffing your image alt texts with relevant keywords helps you rank higher

Image links are not bad for SEO. However, too much of anything is never a good idea. And this applies to image link building. While there are no penalties for using image links, stuffing your image alt tags with keywords to manipulate rankings is against Google’s guidelines.

Before Google started using AI and machine learning to understand images, people had to stuff their alt tags with text to ensure the pictures appeared in relevant search queries. However, in 2019, both text and image are translated into the same language in coding.

9. Wikipedia and Wiki-like pages are the Gods of domain authority building

Many people are convinced that getting a link back from pages like Wikipedia will automatically give them a higher ranking authority because of the exceptionally high domain authority Wikipedia has. But sadly, digital marketing has as many facts as it does fallacies.

Information directly from Google’s Garry Illyes tells us that Google ranks Wikipedia just like any other website.

In conclusion

Don’t allow the fear of spamming keep you from harnessing the many fantastic benefits of implementing a link building strategy.

Google’s dynamic algorithms are usually hidden, but SEO experts and agencies do our best to keep tabs on them and let you know what’s fact and what’s fable.

Segun Onibalusi is the Founder and CEO at SEO POW, an organic link building agency. He can be found on Twitter @iamsegun_oni.

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