4 SEO Link Building Mistakes

4 Mistakes with Links That Can Hurt Your SEO

As 2018 draws to a close, it is time to evaluate websites to see what is working, and what needs improvement.

A couple of major changes came to the SEO world, including the newest Google Search Rater’s Guidelines and the subsequent Medic algorithm update. The latter greatly changed what could be considered “correct” link building.

While these two changes gave webmasters plenty to concentrate on, what Google is now looking for with respect to link profiles done is the most important of the  two.

Below are some helpful tips on how to build SEO-friendly links for your site:

Mistake 1: No External Links Pointing to Your Site

The lack of external content pointing to your site can be a huge problem.

In fact, this is one of the main takeaways from reading the Search Rater’s Guidelines. Google is looking to see that your site is an authority in its field.

Lack of evidence that you are an authority from external links can greatly harm your site.’s performance

Under the new guidelines, however, content needs to be written by a person with the training and knowledge to speak with authority. No longer is it enough for the website to have authority, but each person on it needs to be an authority.

Solution A – Create Great Content

It is vital to get high authority sites to link to each author’s content on your site.

That process starts with creating high-quality content. The kind that others will think their viewers will be interested in seeing.

Solution B – Seek Links from a Variety of Sites

The more unique domains linking to your content, the more authority that is passed along to you and your site.

While you can get into trouble quickly for buying links, too many webmasters concentrate on only getting links from domains with high authority.

Trust your gut instinct. You will know great content when you see it.

Mistake 2: Linking to Bad Sites

The new guidelines show that Google downgrades some types of domains, so you want to make sure not to link to these websites. Domains that fit this description include websites that:

  • Suggest self-harm
  • Spread hate
  • Misinform users through supporting conspiracy theories or going against well-established consensus
  • Post deceptive content and / or UX elements

Solution – Trust Your Instincts

As I mentioned previously, trust your gut instinct, because you know great content when you see it.

While some webmasters insist on linking to only content from high-authority sites, you should consider another path. If you see a website that has perfect content for your viewers, is well-organized, and has a unique point-of-view, then link to it.

No one knows what will happen in the future, but you can position yourself for success if/when they become “the real deal.” Think about it…the website may blossom in the future leaving you wishing you had linked to the content when you had the chance.

Mistake 3: Hard to Find Links on Your Site

While the Medic Update hit mostly health and e-commerce sites, many discovered that Google could not find the internal links they were looking for. Hidden contact information, shipping information (when applicable), and refund information can get you penalized quickly.

Solution A – Include Prominent Links to Shipping and Refund Policies

Let customers know any policies that are important to doing business with your company, such as your shipping and refund policies. Link to these pages from your home page and prominently throughout your site.

Be sure that users know how to contact your company using their preferred contact method, whether it be a phone, email, live chat, or contact form. Feature these links often.

Solution B – Update Links

While you make changes to your content or website template, you’ll find that it is the perfect time to make sure all of your links are in working order. Ensure that they still point to the content you intend to link to, allowing them to still be good backlinks for SEO.

Take a special look at external links to make sure they are pointing to great content that has been updated with the most recent data when needed.

Mistake 4: Lack of Scannable Navigation Links

Many websites are still using buttons to help users navigate around their websites. Once buttons get too small, they can be hard to tap on small mobile devices. They also take longer to load most times.

Solution A – Use Hyperlinks Instead of Buttons

Google’s bots crawl your websites. These bots often cannot interpret the content of many buttons.

Therefore, you are hurting your rankings when you use buttons instead of links too often. Google ranks websites that load faster ahead of slower websites. Buttons can slow down your website’s loading speed.

They are also ranking websites higher that are accessible to all. Buttons cannot always be read by devices meant to assist the blind and those with other disabilities.

Solution B – Reconsider Your Site’s Navigation

While you are turning your buttons into links, reconsider your site’s navigation.

Create a hierarchy where the most important pages are easy to access by clicking on just one or two levels of “depth.” Limit the number of top-level navigation links you create.

If a page does not fit easily under your hierarchy, then reconsider if it is useful content for your website. Eliminate content that is not useful to viewers.


The Medic Update has been rolled into Google’s core algorithm, so it is here to stay. Google has also said they will update their algorithm based on the findings of their raters.

Now, you know the most common link building mistakes. Therefore, making these changes should help you to build a better site.

Your business website may look awesome, and be packed with premium content and dazzling media. However, it is worthless if it is lacking sufficient visitors to convert. If this is your problem, then your website is failing to do its job.

Your company may need to hire an internal or external search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to boost your domain’s visibility and increase your revenue.

Whether you are beginning to build your business or thinking of a website redesign, ensure you hire a suitable Austin SEO expert that will help you meet your business goals.

The Medic Update and Google’s Search Raters Guidelines have both changed what can be considered as a good SEO linking scheme.

Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain, sourced from Flickr.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

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Riya Sander

Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. She understands the importance of productivity at work and never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Riya is also a content marketing strategist for VPS HiSpeed, a virtual server company hosted in Thailand. Connect with her on twitter, @sanderriya.
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