Building links to your website is a critical way of increasing website traffic. Links create pathways to your site (obvious) and they send a signal to search engines that your site is popular so it should have high visibility in search results (less obvious). However, new developments show that building links the wrong way can actually hurt you so your SEO team needs to be cautious about how they approach this.

Recently Search Engine Land reported that the travel website Expedia lost 25% of its search visibility. It appears that the site was punished by Google for unsavory link building tactics like buying links in bulk. So here are dos and don’ts for the right way to build website links.

  • Do: Build relationships with other websites that genuinely relate to your site.
  • Do: Place links to articles and guest posts on blogs only where they naturally belong- not all over the place.
  • Do: Build links where they provide a useful reference for the reader.
  • Don’t: Build links exclusively for SEO benefit.
  • Don’t: Pay for links.
  • Don’t: Automate link building for scale.

For more on this subject, Rand Fishkin of SEO Moz provides a helpful perspective.