Though a lot of folks speculate that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is going to take over SEO as we know it, when and if that happens, modern SEO still has formidable longevity. And even if AI and assisted searches revolutionize the way human beings interact with the Internet, it’s still a safe bet to expect backlinks to retain their value.
Though backlinks are just one of many signals to the Google ranking algorithm, they help your website in two ways. First of all, they help your website appear more credible to the Google algorithm by boosting your site’s and pages’ authority. Secondly, they act as a sort of funnel that drives traffic to your site from other sources.
Whether you like it or not, backlinks are still cornerstones of well-thought-out and effective online marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, you may be inadvertently precluding the chance of generating any organic backlinks because of some simple and easily overlooked mistakes. To achieve better SERP rankings, make sure you consider avoiding the following mistakes that thrash your ability to organically generate backlinks.
Blocked, Private, and Gated Content
There are many reasons to gate your content. For instance, you may want to make one piece of content inaccessible to everyone except those who have signed up for your mailing list. Doing so helps encourage visitors to join your newsletter. Other times, you may want to make content exclusively available to visitors who have paid a subscription fee.
This type of model is frequently seen in the informational and training website content. However, if your content is gated, there’s not a snowball’s chance in a desert that someone is going to link to it. First of all, it’s unlikely that a lot of people are going to actually see it since it’s gated, depending on how big your audience is. Secondly, the link wouldn’t work. Every visitor that followed the backlink would be denied access to the content.
As such, you need to make careful considerations regarding which content you want to make publicly available, and which content you want to reserve for a selective audience. There might even be ways to split the difference, too. For instance, you might be able to make a summary teaser of a fully-fledged training video that still provides your audience with value. In turn, this cursory piece of content can still be linked to and teach your audience something of worth without giving away the secret sauce.
Questionable Claims and Low Credibility
It takes a fair amount of work to cast yourself as an authority figure or influencer in any niche or industry. As such, you may not have the credibility to be link-worthy. Other times, seemingly minute facts and figures may be incorrect. We live in the information age, and war is currently being fought over the truth and accuracy of online information.
If a reader perceives your content to be false, or just doesn’t want to link to you because your blog doesn’t have enough authority, there’s a simple solution: borrow authority from others through backlinks of your own and cite sources that are non-competitive. For instance, if you run a health and diet blog, cite conclusions based on real-life studies to lend credence to your claims. Doing so will make you seem more credible and bolster your claims with facts.
Blocking Connections from Foreign Countries
It’s a fairly common security practice for some websites to block incoming connections based on geographic region, which is determined by IP addresses. And there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to doing so. One the one hand, blocking incoming connections from countries where you’ll never do business with is great because it helps strengthen security.
There are tons of spammers, trolls, and hackers around the world that attempt to disrupt foreign websites. By blocking connections from a country that can’t do business with you, such as one halfway around the world, you actively prevent your site from being attacked. However, the bad news is that most hackers can still access your site – all they needs is a VPN tunnel.
Still, limiting access to your content by geographic region helps weed out strange comments from people that don’t speak English as a native language. However, more often than not, it’s still a good idea to allow some foreign countries access to your site. It all depends on what type of content you produce, but you may want to consider widening your audience to other English speaking countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and even much of Europe.
If you don’t want comments from foreign sources on your web pages (assuming you use a commenting system), all you need to do is moderate the posts. Doing so will make it easier for websites based outside of the US to link to you, which still adds a certain amount of “link juice” to your SEO campaign.
Short, Fragmented Posts
Sometimes website administrators split up pages into one or more different pages to target slight variations of keywords. Not only is this generally a bad practice due to keyword cannibalization and duplicate content, but it can also harm your backlink potential. Additionally, there are still heated debates regarding the efficacy of short-form versus long-form content.
I would hope that even your shorter posts are around the 1,000-wordmark, or perhaps even longer. But it’s better to avoid splitting up a topic into several different pages. Instead, to help increase the likelihood of organic backlinks, keep informational content aggregated on one page. That way your visitors (and potential backlinkers) won’t have to run around your site to look for the rest of the information they were seeking.
Generally speaking, make sure your posts are comprehensive to make it easier for visitors to digest your web pages.
As one of the best St. Louis SEO Experts. I would recommend avoiding making these mistakes to increase the likelihood of generating backlinks, which will, in turn, help you climb the ladder of SERP rankings.
In the recent past, backlinks were much more heavily weighted in the Google algorithm. And though many feel that backlinks have been “nerfed,” they are still an important factor in your online marketing campaign.