9 Rules Of SEO Link Building By Cyrus Shepard

Are you running any link building campaign for your website or client’s website? If yes then there are a few things which you should know to make it successful and to improve website rankings in search results. 

These days, Google has penalized so many link networks, Blog networks, websites and businesses & people connected to those networks are getting affected badly in some cases.

In the greed of high traffic & search rankings, webmasters are using many bad link building activities knowingly or unknowingly which are ruining their website. Take a look at 13 bad backlinks techniques which have killed thousands of websites. 

People don’t know about the rules and guidelines for link building, they are very scared and confused because of algorithm changes & penalties from Google and many of them have stopped building links.

There are a few questions that comes into webmaster’s mind while building links for any website:
1. What link building strategies or rules to follow?

2. How to make links look natural to Google?

3. How to avoid the link building mistakes to avoid manual penalties?

4. What are the Do’s & Dont’s to follow while managing a campaign?

Many big & small businesses hired some SEO agencies in past, and due to their link building mistakes, they got penalized, but still trying to recover from manual actions.
They are loosing hope and most of them have stopped building links. But this is not correct. One should keep building links because links are still a great part of overall SEO process.

Recently Cyrus Shepard shared did a whiteboard friday on MOZ and shared some fantastic link building DO’s and DON’Ts to do in SEO.

Link Building DON’Ts

Control anchor texts for the guest blog links

Stop building links with guest blog networks, Recently, Google has penalized so many blog networks, giving links with rich anchor text in author bio.

Use your name or brand name in the author bio while building links with guest blogging and try to make your guest blogging links no-follow.

Matt Cutts said “No to guest blogging”, but do you really feel guest blogging is dead or not?

Google has strict guidelines for the anchor text used in building links. An exact match anchor text can ruin your link building profile and lead to manual actions for your website. So you should control as many anchor text as you can and keep a good anchor text profile.

Control anchor texts in your signature links

Don’t build signature links with rich keywords in forum & other discussion boards.Try to use your name or website’s naked url’s different variations. 

Anchor text variation is really very important for a good link building profile. 

Using your brand name, your name and website url’s in different variations are really a good way of link building. I am using 30 variations of my name, blog name and blog url for link building. It makes a good link anchor text profile. 

Say “NO” to embedded widget links

Stop building hidden links or rich anchor text links within the widgets. Many webmasters develop widgets and add a back link code with a targeted optimize anchor text or blank anchor text, when users add that widget to their website, they unknowingly start giving back link to the developer’s website.
how widget links are added with the widgets-techseotricks
Here you can see how the developer has added this “Get widget” anchor text at the end of page. User can’t remove this link from the code. Sometimes there is no anchor texts.

Google has cleared recently that these widget links are against Google link guidelines and one should not build these links or better make them no-follow.

Check link scheme guidelines from Google.

Don’t ask for Anchor text or Do-follow links

When you are writing a guest post or out-reaching someone for links then don’t ask for anchor text or do-follow links, these things are not as important as the one that is “The links you are getting are natural links”.

If you ask for anchor texts, then it’ll become your habit and you’ll start asking people for many different keywords to take as an anchor text which results in over optimization or spamming leads to penalty.

Avoid footer links

Footer links are not recommended and Google already cleared this in the past. Many websites got penalized because of giving links in footer to the websites not related to their business with optimized anchor text. 

If you are linking your other website in the footer than you should make those links as no-follow. 

See below an example of how this news website has given links to a shopping website and study material website in the footer.
how footer links affects site rankings-link building rules-techseotricks

Avoid site-wide links

Using rich anchor text and giving links to the website in the sidebar is not recommended except for the navigation.

You can give links to other website you own or blogs you follow through blog roll.
Some websites are using the sponsored links site-wide around all the page of their website, But these links are no-follow so that it doesn’t cause any harm to their website.

Take a look at how SEO Roundtable blog is using site-wide sponsored links on their blog.
                             how site wide links are present on seoroundtable website - techseotricks

Some other points from Author’s desk

Don’t build body text links with rich anchor texts, these links are more harmful than site-wide or footer links.

Don’t build links with non-niche websites i.e. which does not belong to your niche.

Don’t build paid links or buying links.
Don’t link to the websites penalized for unnatural links by Google.

Link Building DO’s

Google is penalizing websites giving warnings and releasing new guidelines regularly, but this should not let stop you. Follow the correct way of building links and keep doing link building. Learn from the mistakes webmasters made and got penalized and stop doing those things. 

Focus more on Distribution

Link building is very helpful, but you should focus more on your content distribution, The end goal of every author is that the readers come to their website and engage with their content.. 

But if you are busy in building links only and not focusing on distribution of your content among readers than there is no means of link building.

There is a huge connection between between content distribution and link building. What we say today is “One should build quality content and people will link to this automatically” applies here.

Focus on distribution and use social media, Ad sponsors and other ways to make your content reach to the correct audience.

Build Quality Links in Your Niche for Quality Traffic

The quality of links is always important, but the other important thing is the quality of traffic your links get to your website.

Link value = Quality traffic

How to get the quality traffic? Well, this is very simple, there is no formula or rule for this but a simple understanding.

Let say you have an “SEO blog” and you have placed your blog’s link on 2 other blogs. 

1. SEO niche blog
2. Health news blog

Now what do you think, which blog will give you quality traffic & potential readers? Obviously it is the SEO niche blog, because when users come to that SEO blog, It means they are interested in reading about SEO and when they find any link about any other SEO blog, then the probability is higher that they’ll click on it and will engage with your blog.

While if any user is reading any health news blog than there are very less chances that users will click on your link, if they do by chance than when they’ll come to your SEO blog they’ll leave that page. 

From here Google find out the quality of links so it is always recommended to build links in your niche only.

Don’t say “NO” to no-follow links

We know that no-follow links do not pass page rank and does not help with ranking improvements but still they are not harmful for your website. 

They help in regular crawling and content discovery for your website. They are of course not adding any value, but taking more and more eyeballs over your content and making it popular, which results in more readers and links as well.

What do you say if you get a no-follow link from any article in MOZ. I think its a great thing. Your content will get more exposure and popularity.


Well, there is no fixed rule for link building explained by Google and all the techniques explained above are based on the experience and research done by industry experts.

If you want to build some really good and quality links than first you have to learn what is happening in this industry and what Google is doing these days. 
Say a big “NO” to all the techniques mentioned unnatural by Google because you can’t fool Google.

Links are still a very good part of overall SEO process, so don’t stop and keep building quality links for your website.

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