The internet is called that way for a reason—it is because of interconnections. In building traffic and optimizing for search engines, you build backlinks, and this resembles a neighborhood of interconnected houses.
Today, I will share with you some of the bad neighborhoods to avoid when building backlinks. By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to distinguish bad SEO practices and, consequently, avoid them.
Our main topics are:
- Poor Backlinks
- Paid Backlinks
- Spam Backlinks
- Backlinks Ad Spam Sites
- Backlinks from PPC
“Bad neighborhood” in SEO parlance refers to building backlinks that do more harm than good. Backlinks are critical to building traffic and authority, and search engines use backlinks as a meter of your credibility.
It is hard to build backlinks, and so many bloggers resort to gaming the system—giving birth to the rise of black hat SEO.
Poor backlinks are those that come from websites that have low domain authority, including websites that are spammy.
Poor backlinks are not paid. Instead, these are rather guest posts that a blogger put on someone else’s blog. The problem is that not all blogs are equal in the eyes of Google. What this means is that while there is no such thing as domain authority or page authority in Google’s eyes, there are websites that are rather treated by Google as low-quality sites.
Low-quality websites are those that do not really add value to users. Most of their content is short, and they do not do a good job in serving the community that they are supposed to serve. Examples of these are:
- Poorly designed blogs
- Blogs that do not get updated
- Blogs that have poor content
Stay away from building links from these websites. The owners of these blogs have poor editorial standards, and these blogs have little traffic. They are likely spammy and if you associate your website with them, Google will not be happy with you.
It is easy to buy backlinks. All you have to do is to go to freelance marketplaces and look for SEO “experts”.
What they would do is to create backlinks to your site from their Private Blog Networks—also known as PBNs.
PBNs are a group of inactive blogs that serve no purpose. The only reason they exist is so the owners can put links on them—links to your site, which you pay for.
As you can see, PBNs do not add value. They do not serve a specific niche, and they do not provide anything to the user. These websites are pests in Google’s eyes. If you put backlinks on these sites, then you are a part of what makes the “bad neighborhood” of the internet.
Spam backlinks are those that you leave on other websites, including forum sites. Again, this boils down to laziness and paying other people to get backlinks.
Many bloggers think that if they leave backlinks to other sites, they are doing themselves a good job. What they usually do is to go to a website, leave a useless comment about an article, and then drop their links.
This is not going to work. Google knows if the links you leave on other sites are spam or if they have relevance.
Spammers go to these sites and answer questions and leave links to their sites. The problem is that their answers do not provide value. They just whip out some words and ask the users to follow their links if they want to know more.
Naturally, people on these sites will flag these comments and answers. These will get reported and collapsed. Google on the other hand, will also find the content to be too short and irrelevant, most especially so if the question requires a lengthy answer.
Don’t do this. Spamming websites, forums, and social media channels will hurt your blog. If you have been doing this for a long time, you are in some serious trouble. It will take you many months or even years to remove all these spammy links.
Backlinks from Ad Spam Sites
Ad Spam sites are websites that may or may not provide value to a reader. The problem with these sites is they have a lot of ads. In Google’s eyes, ads are great but only if they are not overdone.
Google’s goal is to provide the best user experience—it will only serve websites that comply with these guidelines. Google wants a user to be able to learn something from a blog.
If you put your backlinks on spammy websites, you are essentially telling Google that you are supporting the existence of these spammy sites. And if you are, then Google will naturally de-rank your site.
Because you are not adding value to the community. If you are not adding value to the web, Google does not like you, and Google is not going to promote your site or the things that you do.
Backlinks from PPC
In building backlinks, PPC stands for Pills, Porn, and Casinos. Google does not like these three things. Pills refer to new drugs that are not backed up by reputable medical sources. Examples of these are weight loss pills, cancer pills, and any kind of “magic drug”.
Again, if you put backlinks on these sites, Google will not rank you because you are fueling the existence of these sites. You should stay away from these sites—never do a guest post and never comment on these sites just to get backlinks to yours.
How Do You Remove Bad Links If They Are Already There?
Now, there are two ways to remove bad links to your site. The obvious and first way is to remove them yourself. Go back to the websites where you did the guest post or where you left your links, and delete them.
If there are spammy websites that linked back to you and you do not like these links, you need to contact the web creators and tell them to remove the links to your site. If they do not take action, your only other recourse is to disavow them.
To disavow them, just go to your search console and see what links are suspicious to you. Save these links in a text file and upload it in the disavow links tool page.
Not all backlinks are good. Google has already upgraded its algorithm many times –these upgrades allow the system to determine if the links leading to your site are good or bad. Google can also decide, based on several parameters, if you paid for your links or not.
Be patient. Do the right thing and traffic will come. Never get tempted to drive traffic to your site the easy way. It is easy to buy traffic and backlinks, but the results you get are temporary. The time will come when search engines will find out that you are gaming the system.
And if they do, you are dead in the water. You may never be able to get back up again and you may even have to rebuild your website from scratch.