Link Building Mistakes That You Must Avoid & How to Avoid/Fix Them

Navigating the landscape of off-page SEO can be challenging, especially when it comes to link building.

This strategy is a vital part of any SEO strategy, offering numerous link building benefits such as increased visibility and improved website authority.

However, it’s easy to slip and make mistakes that can hold back your progress or even lead to search engine penalties.

In this blog post, we’ll uncover 14 common link building mistakes, from over-optimizing anchor text to building backlinks too quickly, and provide practical advice to help you avoid them.

Let’s dive in and optimize your link building efforts for success.

Mistake #1: Over-Optimizing Anchor Text

The first and one of the biggest link building mistakes you can make is to over-optimize your anchor text when you’re building backlinks to your web pages or even to your website.

over optimized anchor texts are dangerous for seo how to find backlinks

This is usually happening because website owners find out that the anchor text of a backlink has a significant impact on your ranking.

Meaning if you get a backlink with your target keyword as an anchor text, it can have a very positive effect on your ranking.

anchor texts has very positive effect on your ranking

Because Google and other search engines are using anchor text to get more context about the web page and based on that assess your ranking.

But because of that many website owners go crazy and over-optimize their anchor text, which can lead to website penalty.

Instead, you want to never repeat the same anchor text twice.

Also, you want to follow recommended anchor text ratio:

optimal anchor text ratio for link building

To get ideas for more anchor texts, you can check the ranking keywords of your page, or your competitors for the target keyword using tools like SE Ranking.

link building mistakes avoid over optimized anchor text

Mistake #2: Not Properly Analyzing Potential Link Building Prospects

Another very common link building mistake that many make is not analyzing the link building prospect by doing some light backlink audit, just to ensure that the website, where you want to build a backlink is a good prospect.

This is important because you don’t want to be associated with a website with a toxic link profile. (Using SEMRush to check this).

link building mistakes avoid websites with high toxic profile

Or websites, that seem to be penalized. You want to avoid any sites that seem to have taken a sudden big drop in search traffic or ranking keywords.

sudden big drop in traffic and or ranking keywords

Any of these signs show that some dodgy stuff is happening and you don’t want to be associated with this website.

Additionally, you also want to avoid sites having stagnating or declining link profiles, meaning not getting new backlinks to grow the backlink profile.

stagnating link profile another link building mistake

Next, you want to avoid sites that publish bad quality content, content on CBD, casinos, betting, adult stuff, and other similar stuff.

Mistake #3: Purchasing Links from Bad Link Builders

Another very common, link building mistake is to purchase backlinks from guys like these:

do not pay for these guest posts when doing link building

You also want to avoid guys on Fiverr or UpWork doing your link building as well.

link building mistakes dont buy links on fiverr

Link building is hard and it requires manual and good processes.

Therefore, it’s important to choose a reputable link building company such as one of these:

Choosing reputable companies means understanding what makes high-quality backlinks, how to get them, avoiding common link building mistakes, and getting you the best possible ROI!

Mistake #4: Cheaping Out on Link Building

Another very common link building mistake is to be cheap and buy backlinks for $10-$50.

Link building is expensive if we are talking about focusing on the quality of backlinks.

Recent studies show that it cost around $150-$600 for a single link insert.

link building plan cost of backlinks ahrefs

While guest posting, which can range from $200-$1,000.

cost of links selling backlinks and make money with seo

So, if you’re serious about SEO and link building, prepare your budget to be around that for a backlink.

To calculate how many backlinks you need and how to prepare your link building plan, check out my article.

Mistake #5: Getting Links from Not Relevant Sites

Another very common and bad link building mistake is to build backlinks on sites that have nothing to do with your niche or industry.

Your main goal is to build contextual backlinks and niche-relevant backlinks, meaning getting backlinks from sites that write about topics relevant to your products or services and getting backlinks from content that is about you on a topic relevant to your products or services.

what are contextual backlinks

For example, if you’re selling CRM software, then you don’t want to build backlinks on a blog that is about gardening, home DYI, or fixing cars.

Instead, your goals should be to build backlinks on blogs that write about CRM technology, SaaS technology, sales & marketing, or even business management.

link building mistake not building backlinks on relevant sites

Your goal is to build backlinks on sites that regularly write about topics related to your products or services and the industry.

You definitely don’t want to build backlinks on sites that the audience would be like “That’s odd, why would they write about this?”

Mistake #6: Getting Links from Sites that Primary Source of Income is Selling Backlinks

The next on our list of link building mistakes that you need to avoid is building backlinks on sites that primary income is by selling backlinks.

This often happens with bloggers that started blogging for passion and as they grew, they started getting more inquiries about selling backlinks on their site and they pretty quickly find out that backlinks are valuable commodities on the internet and from here it’s a slippery road.

However, getting backlinks from these sites is very dangerous as they are willing to sell backlinks to anyone who provides good prices including casinos, CBD, and other strictly regulated industries, and you definitely don’t want to be associated with them.

For example, this site has all the red flags it can potentially have.

  • First of all, they link to the casino website right on the homepage.
link building example bad website to build links on
  • They talk about all kinds of topics, instead of sticking to the main topic, being mom and children.
  • The website itself looks very outdated and with WordPress template from 2010.
  • It’s a dying website looking at the organic traffic.
link building mistake its dying website
  • They’re ranking for very weird keywords that I would not expect moms would be searching for…
bad keywords ranking link building mistakes
  • And most importantly, they link to weird sites….

Basically, you definitely want to avoid sites like these.

Here is a video that provides an excellent overview of how to quickly analyze good and bad websites:

Mistake #7: Targeting Too High Authoritative Websites

Another common link building mistake often done by little greedy Smurf is trying to get backlinks on too highly authoritative websites.

When you do link building, you must think about it as an exchange in value, and highly authoritative websites would provide a lot of value to you, but also expect a lot of value from you.

And if you’re a small website, not only you cannot really offer anything back, but they would be afraid to be associated with you by giving you a backlink.

Thus, doing backlink outreach to highly authoritative websites would lead to poor results.

Instead, you want to build backlinks on sites with similar website authority.

For example, if your website authority is 50 according to a tool like SE Ranking.

example of domain authority using se ranking

Then you would want to build backlinks on websites with domain trust between 40 to 60 or +/-10.

website authority range relative to your website when building backlinks

Mistake #8: Not Focusing on Geo-Targeted Link Building

Another very common link building mistake is neglecting geo-targeted link building, particularly for websites aiming to attract traffic from specific countries or regions.

The effectiveness of your link building efforts can significantly influence your ranking in various countries and regions.

The origin of a website’s organic traffic is crucial for achieving a good ranking in that location and driving profitable traffic.

organic traffic location and backlinks corelate with your seo results b2b seo best practices

Therefore, analyzing the distribution of website traffic by location can help you identify potential link building prospects to improve your ranking in that location.

link building mistake not focusin on geo-targeted link building

By doing so, you can enhance your ranking in those areas, subsequently driving more organic traffic, leads, or sales.

Mistake #9: Not Personalizing Their Outreach Messages

One of the most common mistakes in blogger outreach for link building is sending generic, unpersonalized messages.

This approach not only undermines your link building efforts but also damages your reputation.

When you send a message that lacks personalization, it sends a clear signal that you haven’t taken the time to understand the recipient’s work or interests.

This can lead to a low response rate and wasting all the effort you put into finding and researching good link building prospects.

For instance, a bad outreach email might read:

“Dear Webmaster,

I am a long-time reader and a big fan!

I came across your site and thought our content is really valuable and I like all the information you’re providing.

I am an expert blogger and I would like to contribute a 500-word high-quality article to your website in exchange for a dofollow permanent backlink to my site.

Let me when can we start.

Best Regards,

Best Link Builder”

As you can see this message is vague, impersonal, and shows no understanding or appreciation of the recipient’s work.

In contrast, a well-crafted, personalized outreach email might read:

“Hi [Name],

I found your article on [Topic] and I would be interested in a win-win collaboration.

I’ve written a piece on a related topic and I am wondering what would it take for you to link to my content.

Please let me know what would it cost or what I can do in exchange for us to find common ground and be happy with this collaboration.


I mean business.”

As you can see this message shows that you’re interested in providing value for both of you and that you understand nothing is for free.

You’re cutting any old BS of fake kissing your prospect…

Personalizing your outreach messages in this way can significantly improve your link building success and build long-term partnerships.

Mistake #10: Not Diversifying Link Building Strategies

A common mistake in link building is failing to diversify your strategies. Each link building strategy has its unique focus, targeting, and pool of potential link building prospects.

By concentrating solely on one or two link building strategies, you’re essentially missing out on a vast pool of prospects and opportunities to grow your website’s authority.

Diversifying your link building strategies is beneficial for several reasons.

Firstly, it reduces the risk of being overly dependent on a single source for links. If a strategy stops working or becomes less effective, having a diversified approach ensures that you still have other active strategies in place.

Secondly, different strategies target different types of websites and audiences, which can help you build a more diverse, natural, and robust link profile.

Therefore, it’s crucial to incorporate a variety of link building strategies into your regular routine.

These should include HARO link building, resource link building, link insertion, and guest posting.

And if your budget allows, consider adding press release SEO to your arsenal as well.

Mistake #11: Building Too Many Backlinks Too Fast

The next mistake to avoid in link building is building too many backlinks too fast.

While it might seem like a good idea to build as many backlinks as possible, doing so too quickly can lead to penalties from search engines.

This is because link building is not allowed by search engines. After all, it’s about manipulating the search engine ranking.

google link spam building too many backlinks too fast link building mistakes

To avoid this, it’s recommended that you build new referring domains at a rate of 0.5%-1% of your total backlink profile on a weekly basis, as this mimics the natural way of getting backlinks by a healthy website.

For instance, if you have 1,000 referring domains, you should aim to add 5-10 new ones each week.

building backlinks based on backlink profile

In addition to this, it’s important to build backlinks across a wide range of authority domains. This is where the best practice mentioned in Mistake #7 comes into play.

You should aim to target websites with similar authority to your own. As your website grows and its authority increases, your backlink profile will become more diverse and robust.

Mistake #12: Not Creating Link Baits / Passive Link Building Content

Link building is expensive and without having any passive ways to gain backlinks, it’s very hard and expensive to scale.

This is where the concept of ‘link baits’ or passive link building content comes into play.

Link baits are types of content that naturally attract backlinks over time, reducing the need for active outreach and making your link building efforts more cost-effective and scalable.

By not creating such content, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to grow your backlink profile organically and efficiently.

Here are some examples of effective link baits:

  • Free tools: These provide value to users and can attract backlinks from those who find them useful.
  • Statistics posts: These are often referenced and linked to by others who use your data in their content.
  • Trends posts: These can attract links from those looking to cite recent trends or predictions.
  • Infographics: These visually appealing content pieces can be widely shared and linked to.
  • Research studies: Original research is highly linkable because it provides unique insights.
  • Listicle posts: These are popular for their easy readability and often get linked to for the valuable compilations they provide.

Mistake #13: Not Optimizing Internal Links on Your Guest Posts

The next our list of link building mistakes is not building internal links to your guest posts.

Your guest posts will not bring any results if they do not have any internal links coming to them, because this means, there is not much link juice floating to them.

Therefore, not any link juice coming to your website.

That’s why, whenever you publish guest posts, you need to make sure that it has internal links coming to them. Preferably from pages with many backlinks.

build internal links to your guest posts

So, how do you do that?

  • First, ensure that the guest posts are actually targeting SEO keywords. Like this, the website owner will want to rank the post to get more traffic.
  • Second, ensure that the guest post is relevant to the website niche. Like this, there’s a high chance of the website being able to add internal links to it in a natural way.
  • Lastly, do the internal linking for them. Create a document with potential internal links coming to your guest post.

Mistake #14: Never Outsource Anything

And the very last big link building mistake is that you never outsource anything.

Link building is expensive and time-consuming. Not outsourcing this task means you cannot scale.

Therefore, it’s important to outsource at least some parts of your link building.

Utilizing link building tools can also help streamline the process and make it more manageable.

I personally recommend outsourcing guest posting, as it takes a ton of time, yet is essential for your SEO strategy.

Plus, link building agencies already have established partnerships with other websites, so it’s much faster and better to get you started.

So here is my list of recommended link building agencies and companies again:


In conclusion, effective link building is a nuanced process that requires careful planning and execution. By avoiding these 14 common mistakes, you can enhance your off-page SEO strategy and reap the benefits of a robust backlink profile.

Remember, the key to successful link building lies in quality over quantity, strategic diversification, and a focus on building genuine, valuable relationships.

Keep these principles in mind as you navigate your link building journey, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your website’s visibility and authority.

Frequently Asked Questions about Link Building Mistakes

And now let’s answer your questions related to link building mistakes:

What should you avoid in link building?2023-07-07T14:33:28+08:00

In link building, avoid over-optimizing anchor text, failing to diversify strategies, building backlinks too quickly, and targeting irrelevant or low-quality sites. Also, steer clear of purchasing links from unreliable sources, neglecting geo-targeted link building, and sending unpersonalized outreach messages. Lastly, avoid building links on sites whose primary income is selling backlinks. To learn more read my link building mistakes article.

What are the challenges of link building?2023-07-07T14:33:13+08:00

Link building challenges include finding high-quality, relevant sites to earn links from, creating valuable content that naturally attracts backlinks, personalizing outreach efforts to site owners, avoiding penalties from search engines for improper practices, and managing the time and resources required for effective link building.

What is a common mistake with backlinks?2023-07-07T14:33:00+08:00

A common mistake with backlinks is over-optimizing anchor text. This happens when the same anchor text is used excessively for all backlinks, which can appear manipulative to search engines and may lead to penalties. It’s important to use a variety of relevant, natural-looking anchor text when building links.

What are some of the most common mistakes while working on link building for a website?2023-07-07T14:32:46+08:00

Common link building mistakes include over-optimizing anchor text, not diversifying link building strategies, building backlinks too quickly, targeting irrelevant or low-quality sites, and sending unpersonalized outreach messages. Additionally, purchasing links from unreliable sources and neglecting geo-targeted link building are also common errors.

How do you improve link building?2023-07-07T14:32:28+08:00

To improve link building, diversify your strategies, including guest posting, creating high-quality content that naturally attracts backlinks, and using geo-targeted link building. Personalize your outreach messages, target relevant sites with similar authority to yours, and avoid building backlinks too quickly. Regularly analyze your backlink profile to ensure its health and growth.

What are some effective link building strategies?2023-07-07T14:32:00+08:00

Effective link building strategies include guest posting on relevant blogs, creating high-quality content that naturally attracts backlinks (link baits), using HARO (Help A Reporter Out) for earning high-authority backlinks, conducting broken link building campaigns, and leveraging social media for link opportunities. Additionally, building relationships with influencers and other relevant websites in your niche can also be beneficial.

Related Articles:

Also, check out our SEO hub page to find all our SEO Resources.


This article was created by Eduard Dziak and may contain affiliate links. The following were used to optimize the article for the best user and search engine experience include:

  • SE Ranking for keyword research and on-page SEO optimization
  • Surfer SEO for SEO-friendly content creation for users and search engines.
  • Jasper AI for grammar correction and information enhancement.

The article is based on the author’s own experience and knowledge, drawn from both their own work and that of their clients, to provide the latest, proven methods.

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