​Backlinks to Avoid: SEO for SMEs

22 December 2015

Backlinks to Avoid: SEO for SMEs

When websites and blogs link to your business site, this can boost your search engine presence. Google can consider a backlink to be a recommendation for your website and will increase its search engine positioning according to the number and quality of the backlinks you receive.

But, as we know from Google Penguin and other updates, all backlinks are definitely not created equal, and problematic backlinks can damage the reputation and positioning of your website, sometimes even getting sites delisted from the search engine listings altogether.

So, what kind of backlinks should webmasters try to avoid?

  1. 1. Links from sites with a low authority

Using the Moz Toolbar, consider the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of a website, and judge whether sites look spammy or disreputable. If you are not confident about a site’s quality, avoid encouraging its owners to link to yours.

  1. 2. Links you’ve exchanged or traded

Link exchanges and blog networks used to be a somewhat popular way of gaining backlinks to your website, as a reciprocal scheme with another website or a network of sites. These days, these schemes are highly risky and Google can spot them pretty quickly.

Don’t take the risk; build links naturally by creating wonderful content and promoting it so others share it more naturally.

  1. 3. Too many backlinks from one domain

A natural-looking link-building pattern tends to involve a website linking to a wide range of different domains over a period of time. If a site favours one domain and links there, without adding links to other sites, it can look suspicious to the search engine algorithms.

  1. 4. Do-follow paid links

Google’s rules are clear: if a link is paid for, whether as a sponsored post or an ad, it should be tagged with “nofollow” and not pass on any ‘link juice’.

  1. 5. The context is irrelevant

From time to time, a blog can link to another site that is not directly related to what they do, and this is part of a normal pattern of links. However, most of the time, if a website about health issues is linking to a jewellery store, or a jewellery store is linking to a car review site, it looks unnatural and could be penalised.

  1. 6. Anything automatically generated

Don’t ever be tempted to use automated link-building software or to buy hundreds of thousands of backlinks for a few dollars. They create thousands of spammy backlinks as comment, forum or article directory spam and you will find yourself penalized before you know it.