Building your site’s PageRank and overall search engine visibility used to be relatively easy. All you had to do was get as many people as possible to link to your site. It didn’t matter who those people were or how you got the links. All that mattered was that people were linking to your site, and it would perform well in Google’s search results. Then Google realized that people were getting links in ways they considered to be “unnatural.” People were essentially doing anything and everything they could to get links, and not really creating good website content to actually earn those links.
So, Google created Penguin this past April to combat the problem of unnatural links, and many webmasters suffered. The PageRanks of their sites plummeted, and many of them are still scrambling to figure out how to recover. If you’re relatively new to being a webmaster or are just getting involved in SEO, you may be wondering what kinds of backlinks you should avoid to prevent being penalized by Google. To help you out, here are four types of backlinks you shouldn’t try to get:
1. Paid links
The cardinal rule of link building in the aftermath of Penguin is: “Don’t pay for links.” Seriously. Just don’t do it. If Google finds out you’ve paid for links, your website will sink into the search engine results abyss faster than you can imagine, never to be found by web users again. Paying for links is like cheating. If you wouldn’t cheat on your college final exam, don’t try to cheat as webmaster.
2. Links that have the same anchor text as all the other links to your site
If you sell discount business software online, make sure every backlink you get doesn’t have the anchor text, “discount business software.” Getting links that all had the same anchor text to rank highly for certain search terms used to work like a charm. Now having too many links with the same anchor text will get your site penalized.
3. Links to your site from link farms
Link farms are probably the cheapest trick in the SEO book, and they just don’t work anymore. So, don’t join any groups of webmasters that are designed to facilitate link exchanges. Google knows this is a popular tactic, and it won’t get you very far at all.
4. Links to your site from blog networks
Guest posting is still a viable tactic, but only if you write high quality guest posts. Writing meaningless blog articles for blog networks just to get links is bad practice, and it could cost you. Google’s able to spot a blog network pretty fast and discredit all of the links on that blog network. So, be careful who you write for, and be thoughtful about what you write.
The number one way to develop a good SEO strategy is to stay informed. So, regularly research which types of links Google frowns upon, take online marketing classes to learn more about how to rank higher, and keep on reading the top blogs for webmasters!
Pepper Givens is a freelance blogger who commonly writes about the internet, online marketing schools, and online schools for www.onlinecolleges.net. Pepper welcomes your questions, comments, and any other kind of feedback you’d like to offer.
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