With all of the changes Google made in 2013, it should come as no surprise that they have also started cracking down on backlinks. They are even penalizing companies who are selling and distributing backlinks that try to manipulate Google’s search results. For 2014, if you want to improve your rankings in the search engines, it’s time that you started following Google’s rules for the game.
So what exactly does Google consider bad link building? These are links that provide little to no value to web users but are rather solely designed to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google’s search results. A thorough list of these strategies can be found here: link schemes. However, below are the main highlights of the article:
- Exchanging money, services, or a free product in exchange for someone writing a post about your product:
Of course, the sole goal of these posts is to include a link back to your website. Despite Google issuing several warnings, this continues to be a very common practice across the web. This is largely due to web masters feeling that there is no way for Google to differentiate between a paid and legitimate link. While this is likely to be the case, Google has started recognizing sites that known to engage in this behavior. As a result, sites that are linked to them are often penalized as well. The key take away from this is to stay away from this practice altogether.
- Cross Linking:
You know exactly what we are talking about here. “If you link to my page, then I will link to yours.” This is an old technique aimed at getting quick links to your site. If the content on the other sites don’t match the content on your page, Google is going to catch on and penalize you.
- Using programs or services to create links to your sites:
This is one area where Google has started to crack down lately. Some web masters have been using programs to take one well written article and automatically reword (i.e. spin) it into several different articles. These articles are then distributed across the web with the end goal of getting backlinks. Just in the past 6-8 months Google has penalized several sites utilizing this strategy. Therefore, your best bet is to stay far away from this practice.
The absolute best way to work with Google, is to create links that are as natural (i.e. organic) as possible. That means putting in time and effort to link up with companies that share your type of content or are in similar industries. Get your customers pumped to write about your company because they enjoy your product, not because you have paid them to do so. And finally, create your own unique content that wows readers and gets people talking. It may seem really slow and tedious at first, but it is better to have your content grow over time and organically then to bust out of the gate at full speed ahead, and then have Google catch you in the act.
You don’t want to end up like these companies (Links from Search Engine Land):