Every SEO professional out there knows that content with a relevant and valuable link is the backbone of SEO. Over the years, links have been a popular ranking factor for so many businesses.
What if the links you’re using to higher your rank become the reasons for your destruction? It happens when you opt for link spam instead of doing it in the right way.
So, what is link spam actually? This behavior involves posting unauthorized and unnatural links to manipulate your ranking on Google.
However, there’s no shortcut way to impress the search engine giant. While these links will help you to achieve a quick gain at ranking, you will eventually get caught by Google and be penalized. But, how would you know you’re doing link spamming?
This article looks into some of the notorious links that you need to avoid.
Types of Link Spam You Need to Avoid
You may not get penalized for using one or two bad links for ranking purposes. However, if the number of bad links increases at an unnatural pace, you may be downgraded, or even get a manual action from Google if you’re unlucky.
Here are some of the link spams you need to avoid to keep your good reputation to Google.
Press release links were one of the most popular and easiest ways to make a better rank almost a decade ago. You had to write a press release and syndicate it to various websites and get hundreds of links.
As time passed, this method got abused like the other SEO tactics.
Google now considers press release links as part of a link scheme and will penalize you for using one.
It’s because these links are quite easy to manipulate and will make your site a suspicious one to Google’s eyes.
Always avoid links that depend on over-optimized anchor texts aiming for your focus keyword. If you must have a website link, use branded or nacked URL as your anchor text.
Discussion Forum Link
This is another type of spammy link that you may get from different discussion forums.
Don’t be happy if you see hundreds and thousands of links are coming in from some unknown discussion forums. These are all poor quality spammy links that will keep coming until you get caught in Google’s eyes.
However, not every discussion forum link is a bad one. If it comes from a good site and doesn’t seem to be manipulative, you can keep them.
Foreign Guestbook Link
This is one of the most useless (and even lethal in some cases) links you can use to your website.
While visiting others’ websites, you will see some of them have a section named “Guestbook,” where you can sign up and even post HTML code in the comments to create links back to your site.
When you get a lot of these links, Google automatically drops your rank. You should always disavow such links since they don’t have much credibility.
Private Blog Networks
This is a black hat SEO tactic used to be quite famous for building links to get rankings.
A private blog network or PBN is a set of websites that you can use to manipulate search engine rankings. Such networks help you build a huge amount of backlinks from websites that have high domain authority.
They did it by acquiring some expired domain names with established domain authority.
Most people fell into the trap of PBNs, thinking that they will be able to see some massive gains.
They are wrong!
Google considers the use of such networks as a crime and will highly penalize you for using them. You will soon start losing your organic traffic, as well as your position on the search results.
This is one of the most useless strategies you can follow to get backlinks. Also known as Web2.0Blogs, these WordPress sub-domains set up the free with one or two articles, and then get infused with link juice, typically from some social bookmarking links.
Although prevalent, these sites won’t help you a bit to rank. All you can do is to show your client some links on your page that don’t look fishy. Since they are already useless, Google doesn’t need to take any actions against them.
Paid Links in Article
When it comes to using paid links in the content, Google isn’t forgiving at all.
Exchanging money to get a link that will get your site to rank well is a big no from the search engine giant. If you do it in moderation, chances that you won’t get caught.
However, if you start purchasing links recklessly, you may leave a footprint that will be used to track you down.
Also, if your seller has a buyer who purchases links in bulk, Google may find the site that sells those links. If that site gets penalized, you will be in trouble as well.
Some business owners fell for the commitment some directories provide saying they will help increase Google ranking. However, it’s a complete lie that will eventually destroy their rankings.
If you submit your website to low-quality directories, chances that they will do more harm to your rankings than good.
However, not all of them are bad. Some directories are quite good that you can use for natural link building, especially in local SEO. just make sure you’re not going for a poor quality directory.
Links from social bookmarking sites are quite manipulative. Most of the links carry no value and can put you in trouble if you use them a lot.
Even if you use dozens of those links to your site, there’s a high possibility your page won’t be crawled. These links are manually placed and spammy.
Google considers using such links as a link scheme and your site will eventually lose its rank for using them.
The blog comment is one of the most abused tactics in the history of SEO. It’s an ancient link acquisition strategy that you must not follow.
It’s because this technique doesn’t work at all.
Comment spamming is the reason for the introduction of a no-follow link. It helps prevent spammers and hackers from getting benefits by abusing the comment section. So, if you are trying to use this technique, get ready to lose your rank.
However, there’s still a way to do it right. Just put a relevant comment to an authentic site.
As the name suggests, this technique involves using multiple fake profiles to manipulate the search engines and deceive the users. These are a great source of unwanted ads and can be used by terrorists and hackers to cause malicious attacks.
While profiles are meant to help you to identify yourself to a forum, spamming can hurt your reputation. You may be in huge trouble if your profile name doesn’t match your brand name or website name.
Link Bait & Switch
This process requires you to create compelling content to attract backlinks and then replace the content with something that is financially beneficial.
This method is used to trick users into linking to your content, which is strictly forbidden by Google. It’s a waste of your time, money, and your audiences’ attention that will add no value to your site.
Considering the relevance of your content and the types of links earned, this can be pretty dangerous for your SEO.
So, why upset the search engines when you can create and spread quality content?
Domain Purchase for Link Juice
This old classic is still a favorite to many people. You purchase an expired domain simply for the links and then redirect them to other sites, thinking that it will help you to rank. You’re probably daydreaming.
Google is smart enough to look into the purchase date and decide not to count those historic links. Besides, redirection may bring you some unwelcome traffic that will eventually hurt your site’s reputation.
If you still want to purchase an expired domain, then run it as usual by adding new content instead of redirecting old links. It may not help you rank quickly, but will save you from Google’s wrath.
Links Created by Automated Service
This may be another popular technique used by some of the lazy marketers who want to rank without doing any hard work.
Tools like Scrape Box, GSA Search Engine Ranker, XRumer, etc. can generate a lot of links for you.
You may be excited to know about such tools, but let be assure you this technique is no longer an effective one.
If you have a website through which you sell products or services, then using such tools will be a grave mistake. Google algorithm is more advanced to detect such links and eventually penalize you.
When it comes to ranking top on Google, there’s no magic pill that will help you to reach at top overnight. SEO requires time, and doing it right can reward you with a long-term result.
While there are so many black hat SEO techniques that seem to be quite lucrative, going for them will ultimately make you a criminal to Google’s eyes.
Sites you’re linking to play a vital role in how you will be treated by the search engines. That’s why it’s crucial that you avoid such link spams for doing SEO.
Sujan Sarkar is the Co-founder of OnelittleWeb, a leading SEO agency specializing in helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.