Google recently announced its latest update that “nullifies” spam links. This could spell bad news for all those who have been using spammy links to improve their website rankings. Here’s the lowdown on spam links and why you need to avoid them.
Link building is a very popular strategy used in digital marketing. For the uninitiated, link building means getting a website to link with yours. The most common ways to get backlinks is to get an article written about your business, get a review on another website or have a news story published. Google and other search engines recognize links as a sign of authority for your site. Each time you get a new backlink, you are a step closer to a better search position. This means, the more backlinks you get, the better it is for you. Sadly, this is not always the case. Not all backlinks are beneficial, and some are downright bad.
Bad backlinks do more harm than good to your rankings. Some bad backlinks can affect your entire backlink profile that you have worked so hard to create. Worse still, they can lead to a Google penalty. Bad backlinks are generally referred to as link spam. A link spam is basically a link to your website/page placed deceptively on an irrelevant website with some random anchor text. This is usually done by those looking for quick results. Unnatural/spam links can come from a variety of sources.
Link networks and link farms: A link farm is a website created primarily for increasing the link popularity of another website by increasing the number of inbound links. A link network, on the other hand, is a group of websites that are connected. These websites can be owned by single or multiple, and often plan reciprocal links. Sometimes, these websites can link to each other unintentionally as well.
This is also a very common link spamming technique, wherein links are created in user generated content sections of other websites such as comment sections.
Spam links can result in many negative effects. Which ones depend on a bunch of factors including the scale spam linking activity. The worst case scenario could be getting penalized by Google and losing all your ranking. That’s why it is extremely important to keep an eye on your inbound links.
Sometimes, the website owner may not be aware that their SEO manager is using spam links. How can you find out if the inbound links are from a genuine site or a trashy one? A link network site would have a lot of advertising, clickbait ads, outbound links and may have a network badge that would show that its part of a network. It will have too few inbound links and would talk of varied, unrelated topics.
Moreover, if you find a lot of .ru or .cn domains linking to your website, it could mean your website has become a target of poor-quality backlinks. Again, the extent of damage depends on the number of spam links. Every website would likely have a few spam backlinks. But when there are too many of them, Google will eventually find out that you are trying to manipulate the rankings. That would be a reason for Google to issue a penalty.
This is what Google Penguin algorithm is for. In 2012, Google had officially launched the “webspam algorithm update,” which targeted manipulative link building practices and link spam. This algorithm later became known as the Penguin algorithm update. Since then, Google has been constantly updating this algorithm and making it more capable of identifying manipulative practices.
In its most recent update, the Google launched another algorithm update that would nullify link spam. With this update, Google would now simply ignore spammy links. So, anyone who is been relying on spammy links should be prepared to see a significant drop in their search rankings.
Hiring the right SEO expert is the key
It is important to hire an SEO professional who uses only ethical practices to improve your search rankings. Anyone who promises overnight results should not be trusted. The last thing you want is to get penalized or ruin your online reputation.