Nothing will put a damper on your SEO campaign more than finding out your link building efforts are being undermined. Building backlinks to your website takes time and effort, and you shouldn’t have to redo your work. However, not all factors are under your direct control.
Are your backlinks losing their value? Are your links disappearing? Are you getting less out of your link building campaign than expected? If so, the following factors could be undermining your efforts.
1. Link rot
When your links disappear, that’s link rot. Unfortunately, disappearing links are common and occur for many reasons. These reasons are explained in detail in Link.build’s comprehensive guide to link rot. Within this guide are some startling statistics. For example, 12% of a website’s backlinks point to 404 error pages and the average webpage is only live for 100 days.
These statistics make it sound like people spin up websites and take them down at a rapid pace. Actually, that is what’s happening, and if your links are disappearing, you may have chosen these fly-by-night publishers.
How to fix link rot
It’s probably too late to salvage existing links, but you can certainly take precautions moving forward.
- Choose established publishers. Seek to publish the majority of your content first on sites with an established history. Sites that have been around for five years are less likely to disappear overnight.
- Seek links from publishers in your industry. Pay attention to the quality of content being published on any given site. Don’t submit content to websites that publish anything and everything; those sites are usually link farms. Go for publishers in your industry.
2. You chose publishers based on inaccurate data
How do you choose your publishers? Do you use the domain authority (DA) checker from ahrefs? Or do you use the first unknown tools that pop up in a search?
Whatever criteria you’re using to choose your publishers, make sure you’re getting your information from a reliable source. Remember that domain authority isn’t the only factor that should be considered.
A high DA score indicates that desirable factors are present, but sometimes sites with a low DA make great publishers. For instance, newer websites still earning domain authority are often easier to publish with because they need good content. As those sites grow over time, your links will become valuable resources in your SEO campaign.
3. Your chosen publishers are being suppressed in the SERPs
If you’re not getting traffic from a chunk of your sources, it could be that the sites publish poor quality content. Even if you write top-notch content, sites that consistently publish poor quality content will get suppressed in the SERPs.
Poor quality content generally consists of content written so fast and carelessly that it’s barely readable. Sometimes poor content comes from article spinning. Article spinning is dead, and good riddance to that black hat tactic. However, that doesn’t mean article spinners aren’t still out there.
Vet your publishers before submitting content for backlinks to make sure their sites aren’t filled with content search engines would consider spam.
4. Your content contains unchecked, inaccurate facts
Most publishers won’t fact check your articles. However, when you publish on larger sites with a dedicated audience, you might get checked. If your information is found to be inaccurate, the publisher might remove your links or delete your article entirely.
Always check your facts by finding at least two independent sources that agree before publishing your content. When citing sources, use the most reputable sources possible.
5. Publishers kill SEO with 404 errors
Nothing is more frustrating than generating a bunch of links from websites that turn into 404 errors. Even when a publisher moves your content and changes the URL structure, those 404 errors can affect you.
Search engines don’t like sites with a bunch of 404 errors and will de-rank sites with overwhelming 404 pages. When you have backlinks on websites filled with 404 errors, your site will suffer as those websites are slowly de-ranked.
Many publishers don’t realize that changing platforms can alter their URL structure and create massive 404 errors. Some publishers will make a platform transition properly using permanent 301 redirects, but many won’t.
If you discover massive 404 errors on a publisher you’re getting good link juice from, you may want to email the editors to let them know about the problem. If you approach the subject respectfully, they’ll probably be open to fixing those errors.
Stay on your A game with link building
Link building is an active SEO component. Once you get links, stay on top of your links to track performance. Pursue links on sites that generate traffic and improve your rank in the SERPs.