Link Building Tips
The million dollar question – Is link building in any way good or is it bad, and how do I identify bad links?
Firstly, I keep reading about people penalized by Google's Algorithm Updates that used automated programs like ‘XRumer’, which is a program that can post links and ads on more than 400,000 resources and ‘Ultimate Demon’ as well as ‘Sick Submitter’ that submits content and links to hundreds of sites, mostly directories and bookmark sites.
Back in 2015 Google’s Webmaster trends analyst John Mueller was captured saying live in a Google+ hangout when asked the following question:
Is link building in any way good?
John’s initial response was:
That is a good question. In general, I’d try to avoid that.
So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.
We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.
Link building is most definitely not bad. Building bad links is bad. Mueller’s recommendation to avoid link building is without a doubt appropriate because in general Webmasters build bad links while on a prerogative quest of PageRank (which, coincidently is only one of over 200+ metrics Google use when weighing your site)
Google, as well as other search engines, use links to determine how to deliver high-quality search results when users enter queries into the search tool. Historically, prior to the launch of Penguin in 2012 the problem had been that Google wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the quality of links but instead focused more on quantity versus quality.
Webmasters and SEO’s alike gamed the system by building links any way they could, including building large numbers of fake links, auto-generated links on low-quality websites that pushed PageRank (follow backlinks) which resulted in the creation of the Penguin Algorithm.
Needless to say, SEO’s doing things automated, are missing the entire point of backlinks in the first place.
One factor to consider, which most SEO’s and Webmasters are missing when going after high-quality backlinks is relevance. If you’re into office furniture design in Cape Town, but your SEO firm is building thousands of unrelated links to your website from India, those are bad links.
Even worst is porn, directories and bookmark sites links that are completely unrelated to your niche. The only thing it tells Google is that you’re using illicit means to game PageRank, which indirectly tells the Google WebSpam Team they should penalize your website from search until you clean up those links. The more relevant place to get links would be from office furniture design associations in South Africa or from previous projects, happy customers, or even websites in the same niche that already carry authority (editorial links)
Actually, the right way to build high-quality links is not to build them at all, but instead, earn them naturally. The problem is that producing great content takes time, effort, and at the most of times, money. Many companies faced with this reality take short-cuts focusing too much on backlinks, and not enough on the other metrics Google uses when weighing a site.
As Mueller said,
“I’d try to avoid that. It will likely lead to more harm than good”.
The safest method of link building is link earning (editorial links are good place to start)
Software generated backlinks and links from untrusted sources such as porn sites, directories, etc.. as well as links that are not relevant to your niche will only impact negatively on your website.
Here is a link to Googles Guidelines – Link Schemes
They do mention:
* Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
* Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
As well as forum spam, etc.
My suggestion is - now is the time to sit down and analyze your backlink profile so that you can take action upon unnatural links that were created by previous PageRank Chasing SEO’s, or yourself.
The best place to start would be in Google Search Console under – Search Traffic >> Links To Your Site, then download the graph and sieve through it. Or you can use sites like Majestic Backlink Checker or Open Site Explorer.
Next step is to identify GOOD links, then contact the websites with regards to BAD links requesting removal. Bad links you cant removed, disavow.
And don’t stress. Penguin is now real-time, meaning they will pick up changes as they crawl the web, amending accordingly.
Penguin 4.0 Is Now Realtime
Google’s Gray Illyes on Twitter has officially confirmed that Penguin 4.0 is now part of the Core Algorithm.
Link Building Conclusion
My personal opinion is that the old Penguin 4.0 that is now part of the core algorithm will take the evolution of link value to the next level, placing more importance on semantically related links that are relevant to the niche of the site and will emphasis more importance on editorial links rather than the old method of PageRank.
Always remembering that Webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes was quoted on Twitter saying:
The new Penguin update will make Webmasters life easier a bit and for most people it will make it a delight.
A comment like that points more to an advanced link algorithm that can now recognize spammy links (able to now assign negative value) and relevance (able to now assign bonus value)
And on a final note – Never underestimate the power of nofollow links and text links. Google does crawl those links, they simply don’t pass PageRank. Nofollow links may not pass PR, but they do pass traffic flow, which Google will detect and credit you for.
Additionally, a link profile with 90% follow links will look unnatural.
And on a final note:
Stay away from SEO services like this >>
You could just imagine what would happen if the WebSpam Team came across links on more than 400,000 resources, your content on hundreds of sites within a short period of time as well as forum submission, bookmark submission, directory submission and article submission!
Stay away from spam SEO Services. They will burn your site.