Bad Links Explained

If you’re an SEO in know, you’ll understand the importance of good content and credible links, to strive towards listings high up in the search engine results pages. Links are a substantial ranking factor, used by Google to determine position, so you want to avoid getting marked down.

Yes, Google may ignore bad links, favouring sites with good ones. But that doesn’t mean that bad links are not harming your site’s ranking.

So what makes a bad link? Actually, there are more examples than the average web owner realised. Here’s a rundown of the biggest offenders in link building and what you can do about them.

  1. Press Release Links

Press release links were a popular way to get lots of links. All you had to do was write a press release and distribute it to lots of sites. They were really easy to get and as a result, got abused, causing Google to consider them easy to manipulate, devaluing them.

Press releases are still an important marketing activity. If you do choose to link to your site, do so sparingly. Use naked URLs or branded URLs as your anchor text, and use only one link from the contact area of the press release

  1. Discussion Forum Links

We don’t want to tar all discussion forums with this brush as good quality sites are still worth linking from. This really relates to unknown sites where you may have a high volume of links coming from low-quality sites. Google considers these to be spammy and can harm your SEO performance.

If it looks like you have a high volume of links from poor sites, you can disavow them.

  1. Private Blog Networks (PBNs)

These used to be a valid way to build links – randomizing your footprint led to sizeable improvements in rankings but not now. PBNs on a massive enough scale can tank your site and cause it to lose organic traffic. Google is able to detect – and punish – most PBNs. Some PBNs may take longer to spot than others, but eventually Google will catch on.

  1. NoFollowed (& Followed) Social Bookmark Links

Links from social bookmarking are also considered by Google to be a manipulative tactic.

Natural use of these is ok and tolerated by Google but they can land you in trouble if you do it too much. Because they are manually bookmarked, they can appear as though they are spammy or part of a link scheme.

  1. Blog Comments

Blog comments have always been a simple way to get links and it’s been abused over the years, to the point where Google now considers this ‘comment spam’. They were the reason Google invented nofollowed links. Spamming blogs with comments that include a link to your site, is a sure fire way to get your site penalised.

But there is a right way to approach blog comments. The key is leaving topically relevant comments on topically relevant sites.

Need some advice on your SEO? Whitefish Marketing is an established Kent based digital agency with expertise in helping businesses to grow their online presence, offering a range of online marketing services from SEO, PPCwebsite development and social media management. Give our friendly team a call on 01303 720 288. 

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