The Golden Rule: Build a brand, NOT links!

Link Building – You should submit articles to trusted and quality websites that go through an in-depth editorial review. Moz’s Blog,, are excellent examples of this type of resource.
Directory Submissions – Nowadays, most article-submission directories are spammy and low quality. Only submit to trusted and quality directories like Demoz and that go through editorial reviews.

In this video Matt Cutts (Former head of Google’s Webspam team) explains why Google does not like most Web Directories.

Video Date: Aug 8, 2011

Local DirectoriesMoz Local is a great resource to get local links and advertise your business on local directories. It also lets you know what sites you still need to develop your brand on.
Social Media Optimization – Be active on social sites and build your brand, backlinks, and friends. Share, follow, and tweet your way to popularity and success.
Branding – You should focus on building your brand, not just building a link network. Your goal should be to position yourself within your market, not just earn SERP rank.
Promotion – You should work to promote your brand and website online. Building a buzz around your brand is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic.
Anchor Text Diversity – Your anchor text should be varied. This reduces the likelihood that you might be penalized for over-optimization.
Link/Content Relevancy – Link and content relevancy is very important. Your anchor text should always provide good context for where the link leads.
No-Follow/Do-Follow – Having only do-follow links is a sign of spamming. Make sure you are also including no-follow links in your implementation.
Link Juice – You should analyze your link profile, so you know which links are providing the most juice. Ahrefs and Open Site Explorer, and Majestic can do this.
Official Links – Links from trusted top-level domains like .org, .edu, .gov can give you a significant boost in traffic. Google gives great value to such domains.
Competitor Research – Do competitor research but do not obsess about it. Your competitor may be using tactics that are against Google’s or Bing’s guidelines, so it is important to not follow them blindly.
PageRank – Google PageRank is not being updated anymore. Instead, focus on your Analytics, bounce rate, and conversions.
Keyword Research – Do keyword research before optimizing or building your site. You can get information on search trends and keyword competition by using Google Adwords: Keyword Planner or Market Samurai.
Harmful Links – Scan and check your website for irrelevant or inappropriate links. Those that come from adult sites or malware infected sites can have a negative effect on your search ranking.

Here are a few tools that you can use to scan your site for bad neighborhood links, IP addresses and domains.

Bad Neighborhood Checker – Free

MajesticSEO’s Neighborhood Checker – Free Limited Access

Link Research Tools – Paid

You Get Signal – Free

Underhanded 301s – Do not buy web addresses that pass PageRank via 301 redirects just for SEO. You will always run the risk of those links either losing their juice or becoming harmful and reducing your rank.
Social Media – Build links on social media sites, but remember the golden rule. Do not spam!
Content Marketing – Generate content that will make people want to visit your site. By being helpful and providing solutions, you can build your brand and position as an industry leader.
Guest-Blogging – Do not be obsessed with guest blogging, and keep it limited to 10 -15 sites. Make sure those sites are high quality, go through editorial review, and that you are submitting useful content.
Traffic Analysis – Always check your analytics account and reports. This can tip you off to shifts in the market, which may require you to tweak your own approach.
Link Cleanup – Contact webmasters to remove any spammy links that come from past SEO efforts. If there is no way to contact the Webmaster, use Google’s and Bing’s disavow tool.
Stay Up-to-Date – Stay current and informed about new SEO techniques and algorithm updates. Sites like Moz Blog, Google Quality Guidelines, Bing Webmaster Guidelines, Search Engine Land, SEO Books, and our Blog are great resource to improve your SEO knowledge and stay up to date.
Scraping – Do not send automated queries to Google. It is against their Quality Guidelines and can result in temporary bans from use of search services.
Spam Comments – Make sure you are not engaged on user-generated spam. Either posting to other blogs or allowing spammy posts to go through on your own blog can lead to SERP penalties.
Press Releases – Only write/submit press releases if you really have something newsworthy to talk about. This can be anything including a new service, product, or promotion.
Consumer Review Sites – Make sure you let your clients know that you have a Yelp or Google Places account so they can leave you reviews. Never pay for reviews, as search engines are paying special attention to them, and doing so may even be illegal.
Link Trading – Do not participate in link exchanges. Google has gone to great lengths in recent history to reduce the juice that comes from reciprocal links.
Sitewide Links – Links that are displayed on all pages can become problem. Any links that may appear to be gaming search engines to increase ranking should be avoided.

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