Top 30 Reasons Why People Won't Link to You

Article submitted by Erik M. Cunningham - August 10, 2007

I originally intended this article to include a classic top 10 list but the more I recalled about my personal experiences in the link building industry, the more reasons I came up with why people won't link to you. Some of the reasons relate to reciprocal link building, others to unsolicited inbound links, but all can negatively affect your website's link popularity.

If any of the top 30 reasons why people won't link to you below, apply to your website or your link building efforts, don't feel insulted or discouraged. Just make whatever adjustments, if any, you feel are necessary and move forward.

  1. You don't ask.

    The majority of webmasters (at least the ones I know) don't spend their twilight hours combing the Internet for websites to link to. Maybe they should, but they don't. If you want other websites to link to you, you need to pound the pavement, write some emails, and make some phone calls.

  2. You ask the wrong people.

    Don't use the shotgun approach when asking others to link to you. Requesting inbound links from unrelated sites wastes your time, and the time of the unfortunate people you contact. Instead, approach Internet marketing like you would any other form of marketing. Identify your target audience and put your link where they can see it.

  3. You ask the wrong way.

    Nobody wants to receive emails from automated software programs. If and when you use email as a tool for link building, make sure each link request is personalized and includes the recipient's name whenever possible.

  4. Your site isn't finished.

    I know you're anxious to get your Internet marketing program up and running asap, but don't send out requests before your site is finished. Search engines don't want to know about your website until it's completed and neither do webmasters.

  5. Your website is new.

    Many webmasters, especially PR-udes, want to know that Google has accepted you and other sites are linking to yours before they join in. It's definitely a catch-22. In most cases you just need to submit your URL to Google and wait a month or two for them to come around.

  6. There are dead links in your navigation.

    Bad internal links give a bad first impression to potential link partners. How can other websites trust you to correctly link to their site if you can't even link to yourself?

  7. Your website loads slowly or inconsistently.

    You're not scoring any points with other site owners when it's your web server slowing down the show. Webmasters and link partners want to know that your site will be up and running smoothly when web users and search engine spiders come to call.

  8. There are too many links on your links page.

    Experienced Internet marketers know that search engines, like people, consider a link less important if it's buried in a long list of other links. Keep the number of outbound links on your site sparse and as relevant to your content as possible.

  9. Your site has more than one page devoted to outbound links.

    Multiply the results of reason #8 by 10 and throw up a red flag to make sure the search engines don't miss it!

  10. The page title or link text pointing to your links page is not descriptive.

    Titles and text like "links" and "resources" don't tell your website users, link partners or search engine spiders anything about the topic of your links page. Be more specific. Links to what? You wouldn't title your homepage, "words" or "stuff" would you?

  11. Your links page is inaccessible to search engine spiders.

    JavaScript and Flash navigation can make your web pages inaccessible to search engine spiders. If your links page can't be indexed by popular search engines, you can write off any experienced link exchange partners.

  12. You link to "bad neighborhoods".

    Bad neighborhoods are clusters of websites that search engines have flagged as disreputable in regard to their search engine marketing practices. Linking to these sites or even linking to a website that links to these sites can hurt your reputation with search engines, other website owners and Internet users alike.

  13. You use image (banner) links instead of text links.

    A links page full of banner ads or company logos can appear disorganized and confusing to site visitors, especially when they're animated. Image links are harder to create, less orderly in appearance and less descriptive than most text links. Search engines also assign less value to the target of an image link than they do a text link which makes them less attractive to potential link partners.

  14. The majority of your outbound links aren't related to the content of your site.

    A large amount of unrelated outbound links can raise suspicions about your search engine marketing practices. See our description of "bad neighborhoods" in reason #11 above.

  15. Your website contains ads or links to adult content.

    There are two major reasons why hosting links to adult websites can seriously hurt your link building efforts. First, adult sites are offensive to many Internet users. Webmasters who would otherwise link to your site may avoid you for that reason alone. Second, the online adult entertainment industry is notorious for search engine spamming. This dramatically increases the likelihood that linking to your site will damage the reputation of anyone linking to you. This understanding is not lost on experienced webmasters who will likely avoid your site like the plague.

  16. You host Google AdWords (sorry Google).

    Some websites are created for the sole purpose of driving Internet traffic to Google AdWords advertisers. These sites offer little value to web users and often engage in questionable SEM strategies. Even though your site doesn't fall under this category, the ads may raise suspicions about the purpose and validity of your website's content. Sometimes this small measure of uncertainty is all it takes to drive potential link partners away.

  17. Your website uses a flash intro or splash page.

    Flash intro pages have been known to annoy Internet users and have an adverse effect on search engine rankings. And while this may not affect your link popularity when it comes to one-way inbound links, many reciprocal link partners may pass on the opportunity to exchange links with you because of the lack of text content on your homepage.

  18. There isn't enough text on your site.

    Internet users and search engines, seeking information on the Web, put a high value on text content. If your website is short on text, and it's not a video or photo related site, odds are that other websites will look elsewhere when handing out links.

  19. There is a large amount of syndicated or duplicate content on your website.

    Although syndicated content can be useful and informative, most webmasters want to add links to and from sites with unique content. Sites that host original text content generally contain more on-topic information which is what web users and search engines favor.

  20. Your site hosts pop-up or pop-under ads.

    Few things annoy web users like pop-up and pop-under ads. Most website owners understand that providing a positive user experience for their website visitors encourages them to return at a later date. If your pop-up ads irritate their visitors and hurt their efforts to generate return traffic, they won't link to you.

  21. Your homepage automatically plays music or other audio when loaded.

    The majority Internet users become irritated and even panic when unsolicited audio blasts through their computer speakers, particularly if they're at work. This outdated practice will leave your site visitors scrambling for their browsers' back button and your potential link partners scrambling for the exit.

  22. There's no contact information on your site.

    Nothing says, "I'm a spammer," like an anonymous site with no contact information. If you look like you're avoiding contact with your site visitors, other webmasters will avoid linking to you.

  23. Your URL is a subdomain of another site.

    Using a subdomain as your primary URL raises questions about the stability of your site. Many subdomain hosted sites are free or temporary. Other webmasters don't want to link to a site that they aren't sure will be there next week.

  24. Your domain name has a ".biz" or ".info" extension.

    Upon conception, .biz and .info extensions were a great idea. Unfortunately, few people who own these domains use them for their original purposes. Instead, sites with these extensions have become flagships for search engine spamming. If your domain uses either of these extensions, you would do well to jump ship, go back to your domain provider, and purchase a more traditional .com or .net domain name.

  25. The copyright notice on your site is outdated.

    Does the copyright date in your footer read, "2002"? If so, you're sending the message to potential inbound link partners that your site is defunct. No one wants to link to a site that's been abandoned.

  26. Your website contains missing images.

    Missing images are often a sign of neglect. Just like an outdated copyright, the presence of missing images tells webmasters, "It's too late to link to me... save yourself!"

  27. Your site uses or appears to use iframes.

    If you use iframes or the css overflow attribute which looks like an iframe, other website owners seeking search engine marketing benefits from a link exchange may not link to you. Some search engines have difficulty indexing the content of sites with iframes which will lead the Internet marketing minded to pass on the link partnership opportunity.

  28. There are frequent misspellings in your text content.

    Misspelling a word here and there is common, but lots of typos can give webmasters the impression that you're an international spammer. This suspicion stems from spam emails which are often littered with misspellings. So if you don't want to turn away sites that want to link to you, run that content through your spell check!

  29. You use "hidden text" or other questionable SEO practices.

    Questionable SEO practices such as hidden text and keyword spamming are easily identified by many webmasters. Site owners who are wary of linking to bad neighborhoods won't be stopping at your house anytime soon if you adopt these types of search engine marketing strategies.

  30. Your industry or country has a tarnished reputation.

    The reputation of many legitimate Internet companies has been damaged by email and search engine spammers. The search engine marketing industry itself has taken many blows due to the irresponsible practices of select individuals. If your industry or country falls under this category, webmasters may not want to risk linking to your website.

As you can see, there are a myriad of possible reasons why people won't link to your site. Some you can alleviate, some you can't. But the more deterrents you remove, the more likely you'll receive the inbound links you're looking for.