As search engine optimizers, you need to always stay on your toes to know which methods are working and which are not in 2017 and beyond. In this article, we will talk about 5 link building methods that are dead in 2017. We will not only be looking at the exact tactics, but will also look at on page methods that are done already. Let’s begin.
1. Anchor Text Optimization
The first and the most important one that we will talk about is anchor text optimization. Previously if you wanted to rank for a certain keyword, you could go ahead and get a lot of backlinks with that same keyword as anchor text and it would work out fine. The world has changed and Google now doesn’t like to see anchor texts for more than a certain percentage of your overall backlink profile. Though nobody knows the actual rate that Google wants, marketers now think that your anchor text for any certain keyword should not be more than 10%.
Tools like Majestic have made it easier for marketers to see and analyze their anchor text profiles and if you are working on a website, your task should be to make sure that the anchor text ratio for any certain keyword is not going above 10%.
It is not that difficult to optimize your anchor text profile. Let’s use an example to make it even more clear. Suppose, you want to rank for the keyword ‘cat food’. Instead of building 20 anchor text backlinks with the same keyword called ‘cat food’, you can do it on keywords such as cat food, cat food tips, cat food guide, cat food management, and etc. This will give you a nice anchor text variation and at the same time, this will tell Google that the webpage is about cat foods.
2. Scholarship SEO
Scholarship SEO has been a method that was in discussion in 2015 and in 2016. The idea was to create a scholarship page on your website and then offer something to the students. Then simply, the goal was to email that page to colleges and universities asking them to list it on their scholarship section. This was logical and it worked well for the first year.
As more marketers started to do this, colleges became cautious about the strategy and soon they realized that nobody was actually offering scholarship to students and it was all done just for the backlinks. Since then, the strategy has started to go down and the success rate with this strategy is less than 1% in 2017 and beyond.
Google has never said anything against this strategy and technically, you can still get a link and rank your website using this method. It is the college and the universities who are now more strict about this method and that’s why this method can now be considered dead.
3. Blog Comments & File Shares
Blog comments and file sharing methods such as audio shares, video shares to get backlinks are methods of 2012 and they certainly do not work anymore.
Blog comments do not work as much as they used to do before simply because of the fact that webmasters now know what the real intention is behind every comment. Popular CMS systems such as WordPress now makes it very easy for someone to mark a comment as SPAM which was not the case before. Previously, you had to manually go through every comment to understand whether it is a spam or it is an honest one but the scenario has completely changed as you can easily identify blog comments that are done only to get a link.
Also, as a high percentage of blog comments are now considered as no-follow links, Google will not give you a better ranking even for the approved comments which makes this link building method obsolete.
File sharing methods such as audio sharing websites, image sharing websites and video sharing websites have also not worked out great recently and they are not going to do well even in future. The reason being the fact that Google’s AI system has become smart enough to understand why people are using these techniques. At the end of the day, Google is all about getting and providing value and if you cannot do that with your link acquiring methods, you are calling for trouble.
Now, this is a shady topic as PBNS (private blog network) has always been a topic that separated the search engine marketing community in two extremes. There is one group of marketers who think that PBNs are a method to rank your website in the search results and there is another group of people who think exactly the opposite. They think that PBNs are not the right way to go about it.
The reason that we are saying PBNs are dead is because Google has been openly talking against PBNs for years now. Some of their major updates such as Google Panda and Google Penguin updates came into existence to get rid of PBN networks which were trying to rank low-quality websites on the search results.
Google has been very clear about the fact that if you do not have a quality content to place on the first page then they are not willing to let you have a place there. PBNs were a system to by-pass the regular system that Google had to rank a website and though it still works to a certain extent, they are almost dead because of the high risk factor. You do not want your website to be penalized by Google and that is what a PBN can do to you.
5. No-follow Links
In case if you didn’t know, there are two basic types of backlinks when it comes to Google. They are known as do-follow and no-follow backlinks. No-follow backlinks pass link juice and do-follow doesn’t. There is a myth among internet marketers that no-follow links are still important to keep a balanced ratio between two different link types. Many say that you need no-follow backlinks to rank better and Google loves websites that have a lot of no-follow backlinks. This is definitely not true in 2017 as Google seems to now only care about links that are coming from do-follow sources.