Are you making this common SEO link building mistake? Here’s the easy fix!

Despite all the changes Google has made in its algorithm over the years, one thing has remained constant: Developing quality backlinks is great for your search engine optimization (SEO).

The best way to accomplish this is to publish articles on high quality websites. I get dozens of requests every week from website owners who want to publish a guest post on my site. Many of these are good. However, the ones that are bad often make the same mistake. I want to share that mistake with you and explain how it can be easily avoided. Follow this advice and it will greatly improve your odds at placing an article on another website that includes a link to your website.

Let’s take the example of a company that leases jets to businesses. It wants to build links back to its site for SEO as well as bring some prospects into its site. Someone within the company’s marketing department writes a general article on business travel. Included within the article is the option of leasing a corporate jet and within that paragraph is a link to the company’s homepage.

Analyze the situation

Let’s look at this from two points of view: the company’s and the editor considering the article for publishing.

When the writer passed the draft around for approval, company officials looked at the link and said, “Great, this gets people to our website and will also be good for SEO.”

When the editor looks at the link within the article, the reaction is different: “This link doesn’t add any value or information to the article. It’s there simply with the hope of generating business.”

Being able to see your submission through the eyes of the approval editor is important. Good editors won’t tolerate solely self-serving links within the articles they are considering. Here’s the way a publisher thinks: If a company merely wants to send people to its homepage, it should buy an ad.

Do it the right way

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix; don’t send people to your homepage – send them to a blog, infographic, or other content (audio or video, perhaps) within your site that delivers valuable information to the reader. In the case of the jet leasing company, it could create an infographic that compares time saved via different modes of transportation, or a blog on the value of the increased productivity achieved when executives have the benefit of more flexible schedules.

If you want to get a little more strategic, be sure to add something to the page such as a “Get More Information” form, or a link to a targeted landing page or squeeze page. Ask yourself this question, “When XYZ publication sends someone to this piece of content, where should they go next on my website?” Be sure it’s easy for them to get to where you would ideally like to lead them. They can, of course, decide to bounce after they have scanned your content, but you want to at least give them the opportunity to begin building a relationship with you or buy from you.

But here’s an important warning: Don’t make any of these other elements the main focus – that will sour the approval editor. Keep them subtle and secondary to the value-add content you are providing to the visitor.

Follow this advice and you’ll find yourself well down the road to getting your content approved for placement on high quality websites.