So you think you don’t have any spammy links. I would estimate that just about every website on the Internet would have at least one spammy link, even if it has been created by accident, or in the early days when you were trying to build your business.
Of course, “build inbound links” has long been the call of the SEO wild. In recent times, that has changed somewhat to include building outbound links. The whole link building scene has changed once more with Google now treating some links with disdain – in fact, they are treating some links as poison and many a site has experienced a sudden overnight crash in traffic numbers. If links are the issue, what type of links now draw Google’s disfavor?
- Paid links – if a link looks like it has been paid for, then you’re going to get nailed by Google. Obvious paid links include those in footers and those in sidebars. The best links are those found within content, that relate to the content, and that link to related content on your site. In the past, it was those accepting payment for links that took the hit – now it’s the link destination that takes a hit.
- Social bookmarking – if you have a long list of poor quality social bookmarking sites that you send every post to – stop. Social bookmarking really only counts if the site is a quality bookmarking site, and if it’s your visitors who are doing the bookmarking.
- Directories – quality is again the issue when it comes to directories. There are thousands of directories online now, and most are poor quality. Ironically, higher quality directories that charge for a listing have escaped Google’s attention. If you want to pay for links, then look at some of those high quality directories.
- Article marketing – like every other link issue, quality is again the problem. Write an article, spin it to death and send it to a couple of hundred directories and you’re asking for trouble. Write a single article and have it guest posted on a quality site, or saved to a quality article directory and you may be okay. From what we have seen in the last Google updates, some supposedly quality sites and directories suddenly fell out of favor.
- Blog comments – quality, content related, and preferably interactive – that should be your aim when it comes to blog commenting. Write a good comment on a blog post that relates to your niche and you won’t have a problem. Leave a dud comment on an unrelated blog post and Google will consider it spam.
- Forums – like blog comments, only write to forum posts that are related to your content. Steer clear of low quality forums – you can tell a low quality forum fairly quickly – there are un-moderated totally unrelated posts everywhere linking to weight loss and similar products. Look for heavily moderated forums that don’t tolerate spam.
- Self – one area that many website owners don’t consider is their own internal linking strategies, and the links they may send from any other web properties they own. You can link from every website you own, however, the expectation is that it’s going to be in some form of blogroll, not within unrelated content. The same is true for your own content – keep the internal link strategies to related content.
Inbound links are, in theory, supposed to take readers to more content on the same subject (not the same content either). If your links don’t achieve that goal, then somewhere along the line you’re going to get a Google slap down.