How to Avoid Backlinks that hurt your Website Ranking
A couple years ago Google changed it's algorithm to try and prevent websites from gaining any benefit from selling links by removing the Page Rank from most link pages on the Internet (which included link pages in directories). Google also encouraged the use of "rel="nofollow" on outgoing links if site owners wanted to preserve the page rank on their web pages.
Google's Penguin Algorithm Updates
Due to Google's Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, now even link trades, or other forms of what used to be acceptable methods of gaining links, are being filtered out of search results if they encompass a high percentage (or ratio) of your overall link profile. In other words, Google is able to recognize and filter out a major portion of your traffic if it finds unnatural patterns in backlinks on your website.
If your website has dropped in rank recently it may be due to either a Penguin penalty (from over-optimized backlinks), or Panda Penalty (from over-optimized content), another algorithm, being filtered out of results, or a majority of your backlinks no longer being counted due to the sites you got backlinks from were penalized so their links no longer produce any value for your website. Which of course means that you need more quality links.
Backlinks to Avoid
Be cautious about submitting your website if any of the following backlink methods occur (you may need to view source code to find some of them):
- Don't submit to directories unless they are local business listings
- Don't submit to sites that aren't relevant to the focus of your site.
- Avoid pages with links inside of frames (this will steal your traffic).
- Don't submit to blog networks or blog rolls.
- Don't submit to article directories that post your article on multiple sites.
- Don't let anyone link to you from every page of their website (sitewide links unless they are nofollowed).
- Free for All Links - they allow anyone to post a link unreviewed which results in unrelated and spammy links (banned by search engines and may also affect your site if you link to it).
- Link farms - 100 or more unrelated links on a page (banned by search engines and also your site if you link to it).
- Bad Neighborhoods - Poooorrrrnnnooo or gammmmbling or drug sites (banned by search engines and also your site if you link to it)
- "I'll link to your website if you link to my other website over there" is called a Triangular Linking Scheme (can cause your website to be penalized or banned).
- The site has a network of mirror sites with exact same web links (these sites may be banned and your link on their site will produce no benefit).
- The website takes forever to load (too many ad banners, etc.) and search engines won't wait which means they won't index your link on their page either.
- The website is poorly designed and has broken code, etc.
- Avoid sites that insist on a link trade as the only option because search engines may devalue all their links when all their links are traded.
- Don't submit to sites that have no contact page in case you want to remove the link later.
You can check to see if a site has disallowed search engines from following a page by checking their robots.txt (enter www.TheirDomain.com/robots.txt). If you see anything like "Disallow: (with the url for the page your backlink would be on)" then they have told search engines to not follow the links on that page.
How to Get Higher Ranking with Organic Links
What Google wants to see is "organic" links, i.e., the incoming links look as natural as possible, preferably within the content of a page. The links coming into your website should be from quality sites with relevant content (not content or link farms or article directories) and it must not look like you paid someone to do it, or that you did it yourself. When Google is looking at your linking profile it doesn't like it when you always use the same words in the anchor text of the link, or when you link to the same page all the time (other than your home page or using your business or domain name).
The best way to get these kind of links is to produce something that people find very useful that they link to on their own, such as helpful CSS tips, graphics tutorials, videos, etc., some of which are found on this site and get most of my traffic.
If your site was hit with a Penguin penalty for having too many unnatural links check this article to see how to Recover from Penguin Penalty.
Getting Good Backlinks
Copyright © 7-5-01, updated 11-04-20
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