Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bad Links? Bad News!

Link-building has been a hallmark of SEO since the beginning. For a search engine like Google, the links between sites have offered clues to the relative relevancy and popularity of every website. Attracting quality links from well-respected sites has traditionally been one of the best ways to improve a site's placement. Today, most well-optimized sites enjoy a variety of quality links from across the Internet.

Unfortunately, link-building has been abused over the years by certain Black Hat SEO specialists. In fact, if not for link-building abuse, Google might not have ever created its Penguin algorithm. At the time, Google clarified its definition of a "bad" or "artificial" link:

“Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme.”

Many SEO specialists lamented the change. Some even wondered: "Is link-building dead?" At the time, however, The Organic SEO Blog (and its sponsor, Stepmans PC) rejoiced! After all, the purpose of the new algorithm, to punish those websites and SEO specialists that built bad or artificial links, could only advance the work of the SEO specialists who had played by the rules and built links based on relationships, integrity, and quality content.

In our opinion, a true SEO specialist would never, ever build a "fake" link.

A fake link? You might ask: how can a link be fake if it works?

It's partly about a link's traffic flow. To Google and all other search engines, a "real" link is a one-way link: a link that points directly from one site to another. In the past, Black Hat SEO specialists had created links to a site in exchange for a return link. Google delegitimized this sort of link-building before Penguin. However, many savvy website developers knew about this limitation and tried to bypass Google with SEO tricks.

One especially destructive trick populated the Internet with a load of bad sites. Black Hat SEO specialists created multiple websites, up to ten or more, all owned by one website, and built for the explicit purpose of creating links to the primary website. With all the incoming links, the primary website leaped in the rankings.

Of course, this trick did not work for long. Google launched an algorithm update to punish this sort of link scheme. With Penguin, it appeared that this type of Black Hat practice had become "old hat."

As we noted above, the Penguin algorithm only helped the high-quality SEO specialists who had worked hard to create quality websites that attracted quality links. The only links that have ever truly mattered are those that arrive from relevant and high-quality sites. Relevancy is so important. Links from sites that aren't relevant to your site confuse browsers, and can now potentially hurt your site's ranking.

Has your SEO specialist removed your bad links? If not, you're in trouble. Now's the time to contact a reputable link removal service or quality SEO specialist, like Stepmans PC. After you remove your bad links, it's time to start thinking about how to build good links. We'll discuss this essential practice in next week's blog. Stay tuned...

In the meantime, remember: then, as now with the latest algorithm update, Hummingbird, the key for all SEO specialists is to pay studious attention to Google's every move.

With each new algorithm or algorithm update, Google studiously explains why the new algorithm is necessary, what will happen if you don’t follow the rules, and how to update your website to meet the new SEO standards. Yes, Google reveals this information. You might not know where to find it, but it certainly exists. A well-trained SEO professional will always stay up-to-date with all the major SEO techniques and updates.