Is there a bigger minefield on the SEO landscape than link building?

In the post-Penguin world, link-building techniques that were once considered money-in-the-bank are now more like, go-directly-to-jail-do-not collect $200.

As damaging as the impact of the Penguin update was, it’s nothing compared to the damage web publishers are doing to themselves by hanging on to dangerously outdated, inaccurate and unrealistic assumptions about proper link-building techniques.

These misconceptions were the subject of a recent posting by Julie Joyce on titled, The 10 Worst Link Building Assumptions.

Not surprisingly, many of Joyce’s points can be summed in two words, unrealistic expectations. Joyce, like every other SEO consultant on the planet, is unable to predict exactly how page rankings will actually shake out after a link-building campaign. Unlike many of her colleagues, however, Joyce makes an effort to keep client expectations in line with reality.

Here are a few of her points that are particularly relevant to casino affiliates who are trying to beat some common link-building traps.

There Are No Guarantees
Joyce’s first three worst link building assumptions (I Can Tell You How Many Links it Will Take to Rank; I Can Tell You How Long it Will Take You to Rank; and I Can Guarantee What Position You’ll Hit) are all about managing expectations.

There’s no link-building technique that comes with a guarantee and there never will be. Different keywords, sites and content rank differently, so stick with core techniques and have plenty of patience.

Short Term Risks Offer Long-Term Pain
Not only does link-building not offer any guarantees, it’s also free from shortcuts. Sure, there are techniques you can use for short-term gains, but almost all of them will cause you trouble over the long haul.

Google Has a Very Long Memory
Your spouse might be able to laugh off your past exploits as teenage hijinks, but Google is not your spouse. Google has a very long memory and they’ll punish you for link infractions even if they were done a long time ago, or in good faith.

For that reason, cleaning up your old link networks is still a very important task that shouldn’t be ignored.

Change is the Only Constant
Joyce also points out one of the fundamental cruelties of Google’s great game; playing by Google’s rules isn’t always enough. The wrath of Penguin proved that even SEO techniques that seem completely legitimate one day can be enough to bring down a penalty the next.

In her words, “Following Google’s guidelines doesn’t guarantee online success, ever.”

So what’s the secret to link-building? If you go by Joyce’s guidelines, patience and a flexible attitude at are a good place to start. Beyond that, there don’t seem to be many guarantees.

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