When it comes to link building opportunities, there are many factors that can potentially discourage others from linking to your website – poorly written content, boring content and awful design. Webmasters are becoming increasingly wary of linking to sites that poor in quality and don’t care about user experience.
In a recent post published on Search Engine Land, Julie Joyce shared her thoughts on what could potentially hurt your ability to attract links from others. Let’s take a look at what she said.
Intrusive interstitials: Interstitials are advertisements that appear while a page is loading. If you have ever visited a website like Forbes.com, you must have encountered interstitials. The point is they are intrusive and offer poor user experience.
This is exactly why Google officially rolled out penalty for websites that resorted to mobile intrusive interstitials. Since then, as Julie Joyce pointed out, many sites have removed the interstitials. Simply put, it’s a good practice and unlikely to attract any links from others.
Gated content: Gated content is one that is accessible to those who fulfill a condition, e.g, share their email address. According to Julie, many webmasters put their content behind a gate at the cost of hurting user experience. Gated content can be an effective strategy only under specific circumstances – when letting your visitors download an eBook or any other digital assets. However, many webmasters use it without giving much thought to user experience. You don’t want to hurt your visitors by restricting their access to your blog content or infographics. Here’s a great guide on when to use gate content and when to avoid it.
Julie gave an example of an online school resource which hid useful information behind a form requiring visitors to fill out to download a guide.
The bottom line? If you’re going to hide useful content behind a gate, it’s a classic case of poor user experience which eventually discourage others to link to.
Excessive pagination: Pagination is an age-old SEO practice which many webmasters use to break down long-form content, making it easy for visitors to view content by clicking on paginated links. In fact, Google has guidelines on how to use pagination for better SEO and usability. However, many webmasters abuse it and paginate content necessarily which affects user experience. Julie gave a great example (image below) how WebMD unnecessarily used 25 slides to view a piece of content that could have been presented in one list.
Using excessive paginated content can hurt user experience and discourage others to link back to you.
Avant-garde design: The web design is an evolving art and there are many artists (read web designers) that love to experiment with their cool new design. While it’s perfectly alright, some designers tend to design features that affect the basic functionality. Any web design that throws user experience issues, simply becomes a liability rather than an asset. Not only does it turn off your visitors, it affects your odds of getting links from others.
Your website is supposed to be a great digital asset, designed to serve your visitors thoroughly. While your website may have a wealth of useful information, it may not compelling enough to your visitors if it makes it hard for them to navigate. Julie Joyce highly recommended having a second look at your website from a user’s point of view and fix every potential issue that might prevent it from getting a link it deserves.