Thursday, November 21, 2013

Inbound Links That Should Be Avoided

seo tips
Link building has changed radically in just the last few years. Some of the major changes are outlined in my article, “10 Differences Between Old and New Link Building Techniques.” So, what types of links should be avoided to trim down the risk of being caught by Google’s animal hit squad

Inbound Links to evade

Google has been saying for a while that there are certain types of links that should be avoided. Some great examples of bad links are:

Paid Links

It doesn’t matter whether you are buying or promotion paid links. In the post-Penguin era, Google has obviously stated to stay away from these types of links. Even if you have paid links from 2 years ago that Google has not yet establish, get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Article Directory Links

Just a couple years ago, article directory links were easy to acquire, and, most prominently, they worked. Sadly, low-quality spun content and distribution software caused them to become severely injured. Google has penalized many article directories as a result, and this approach is no longer useful for SEO purposes.

Link Exchanges 

Link exchanges were admired for years. The whole concept of “you link to me and I’ll link back to you” was a general practice among webmasters. However, it became abused, and no longer provides any SEO value..

Low-quality Press Releases

Because of their cheap content and lack of editorial guidelines, many of the free press release obedience websites are now probably completely disregarded by Google.

Low-Quality Directory Links and Bad Neighborhoods in General

Many of the old, free directory sites have been de-indexed by Google. Even for the ones that are at rest indexed, it’s not a good idea to get links from them. While there are still some industry-specific directories that are good for links (and traffic), low-quality general directory links should be avoided.

Link Pyramids, Wheels, and Other Artificial Link Building Schemes

In the May 2013 video update, Matt Cutts, head of the Google Webspam team, referenced how Penguin 2.0 enhanced their algorithm to thwart link spammers and better measure link quality. Many SEOs believe that link pyramids, link wheels, and other ways of artificially passing page rank through several layers of links is exactly what Cutts and his team are referring to in this video. Google is hunting for other methods similar to these, meaning they have a tiny lifespan.

How to Clean Up Those Bad Links

unluckily, getting rid of these bad links can be luxurious. This is particularly difficult if your site has previously been hit by the Google Penguin and your rankings (and a portion of your income) have left. At this point, an SEO audit is needed to audit your whole list of links and decide which ones need to be detached. There are professional services to help with this.
After getting the list of bad links, work with website owners to take away the links. If this seems like a daunting task, it is. For sites that don’t react to your request for removal, you can use the Google disavow tool to disavow the links.

Why Do Companies Still Buy inexpensive Links?

Many businesses get themselves into problem with the search engines by purchasing cheap links or working with SEO companies or agencies that build them. It’s not hard to know why. Most companies want to believe they’re getting a huge deal and saving money. Many of the blackhat backlink services offer inexpensive prices. They also have slick advertising and sales pages where they show proof and talk about the grand success of their techniques.

Many of these vendors sell their services on public forums and other places claiming that their backlinks are “penguin proof”. However, in order to cut costs, they are required to use low-quality content in order to create their backlinks. Because of the quality of their content, they have to post to places that are considered to be questionable  because of their lack of editorial review.

These scam “SEO agencies” are still prowling the Web and selling terrible links that are causing their clients to tank in the search rankings.

This brings us back to that old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, then it perhaps is.” This is mainly true for post-Penguin SEO. Any company that claims to have some secret formula that they’re not willing to share and they guarantee you it will work, should absolutely be considered suspicious. Most reputable SEO firms will explain to you exactly what they are setting up to do and work with you to create a plan that incorporates the goals of your company.

The real answer to the problem of the pervasiveness of cheap links involves education. After businesses understand they’ve made a bad decision, it’s too late. At that point, they will perhaps stop conducting a link building campaign altogether, which may hurt their rankings even more.


Businesses need to understand that SEO is another cost of doing business, just like any other type of advertising. In the next article, I’ll discuss the types of links you should be getting as well as how to help your business thrive in this post-Penguin age.

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