Three Quick Ways to Judge the (Bad) Quality of Links
With yet another apparent update to Google’s algorithms, SEO enthusiasts and webmasters are once again pouring through their websites and asking that age-old abstract question, “what’s in a link?”. As with every prior update, the way in which Google assesses links to and from your site has changed. While it appears that the changes in how Google views links has not changed nearly as much with this apparent update (Pigeon) as it has with past updates, this still makes for a good time in which to re-evaluate your link strategies. Below, we’ll outline four quick ways that you can assess the quality of current and future link building opportunities, which will help keep you out of trouble when it comes to penalties from Google and others.
The Case of Automatic Backlinks
Throughout your search for more exposure and more backlinks, you may have stumbled across one or more opportunities in which backlinks were generated for you automatically. While this may seem effortless and harmless, the fact is that all automatic links are bad. When pinging URLs in this fashion, you are likely to be flagged by Google on quality and spam-related concerns, which can harm your overall positions in SERPs. If you have used any tools that helped created automatic backlinks, then you will want to download and use a link disinfection tool to handle any potential damage.
Approached for Links
If someone has come up to you with an offer to exchange links between your two sites, then run away! This is usually a bad sign that the person in question is desperate for quality traffic, and is willing to use your site as a way to gain temporary benefit. In most cases, a simple evaluation of the site’s PageRank and other metrics will reveal that they are in bad shape. Never, ever agree to trade links with someone who is either not relevant to your industry or you do not know. Google has become quite sophisticated at sniffing out these “opportunity seekers”; you don’t want your hard work put into jeopardy by working with these people.
Much like what we mentioned above, Google has become quite aware of the paid solutions certain webmasters and companies have developed to game the link system in recent years. If you are finding it difficult when it comes to pinging URLs to Google, never ever resort to buying your way out of a jam. Not only will these opportunities produce no real traffic for you in the long-run, but you risk harming your potential for organic traffic in SERPs due to Google’s ever-expanding penalty system. Always look for organic opportunities to create backlinks, and steer clear of these seemingly efficient ways to game the system.
The three most obvious bad types of links that you may come across when building connections online pertain to automatic backlinks, solicitations from unknown or unaffiliated individuals, and paid offers where you can buy links for a free. A large percentage of potential damage caused by link building can be avoided by simply eliminating these examples from any activities in which you engage.