Backlink Mistakes: Bad Links To Avoid

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Google looks at two main factors when ranking search results: content and backlinks. If you want your website to rank on page one for important keywords, you need to invest in link building. Not all backlinks work in your favor, unfortunately. To get good results, it’s important to avoid bad links and toxic habits. 

Bad backlinks are low-quality links that can hurt your website’s search rankings. They manipulate search algorithms without delivering real value to users, such as via spam or bots. These links go against Google’s search engine guidelines, so the search giant takes steps to neutralize them. Black hat search engine optimization techniques always impact digital marketing results negatively. 

Toxic links frequently come from spammy, untrustworthy, and poor-quality websites. When a search engine detects that your content has a large volume of bad backlinks, it may apply a penalty to your entire website. 

A Google penalty has the power to decimate all of your SEO efforts:  

  • Loss of site authority: Google effectively “blacklists” your website, eliminating any search reputation benefits from your blogs or web pages. 
  • Lower search rankings: Penalized websites don’t rank anywhere near page one, and they may not count in search results at all. 
  • Less visibility and website traffic: When users can’t find your content or web pages in search results, your organic traffic drops like a rock, and so does your online reputation. 
  • Lower-quality leads: Without the support of search engines, reaching your target audience online is practically impossible. 

Once Google takes manual action against your website, overturning the penalty is extremely difficult. It can take years of effort, even after you remove all of the bad links. 

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Besides the harmful effect of bad links on your search rankings, there’s another reason to avoid them: They waste your time and money. They’re not a good way to attract the type of customers you want. To get real value from digital marketing, avoid these six mistakes. 

Spamming backlinks involves creating a large volume of links to your website from user-generated content, such as article comments or online forums. It’s easy to see the difference with bot-generated comments on social media, such as, “Hey, look at this solution for How to Sell Your House FREE.” 

Link spam also comes from low-quality directories that only exist to advertise or promote businesses. Marketers promising “instant backlinks” just create dozens of profiles for your company on these spammy sites. These too-good-to-be-true offers always are. 

A private blog network is when a single company creates many different websites that have links pointing to each other. This scheme tries to trick Google Search with a huge collection of fake backlinks. 

Some businesses handle this marketing ploy in-house. More commonly, black hat marketers with cheap link-building “deals” use their vast web to involve your website in the ruse, placing links to your pages in low-quality blog articles on the network. 

In either case, modern search engines aren’t that gullible. When many sites connect to the same IP address, domain or hosting provider, it raises red flags. Sooner or later, toxic PBNs trip Google’s filters for toxic links.  

Are you thinking of paying a company to host links to your website and save time on link building? Don’t. Buying or selling links goes against Google’s search guidelines. 

Plus, most businesses that offer this service don’t have the domain authority you want. If they’re willing to promote any business in exchange for money, their websites turn into a mess of links with little impact on search rankings. 

This rule doesn’t apply to sponsored links for advertising purposes, such as reviews of your products in online trade journals. For example, it’s completely acceptable to get backlinks for an antivirus product in PC Magazine, a respected industry publication with high-quality content. 

Sometimes, bad actors use your blog articles to insert backlinks without your knowledge. These links hurt your site in several ways: 

  • Redirecting your traffic to competitors 
  • Hiding on the page and using your brand to support shady businesses 
  • Damaging your search ranking efforts 
  • Using a negative SEO attack to deliberately get your site in trouble with Google 

Hacking for backlinks is serious; your hosting provider may end up closing your entire website or banning your account. 

Artificial intelligence is great at some things, but it’s terrible at creating good content, backlinks or effective SEO. Avoid hiring “AI experts” for link building. You’ll probably end up with hundreds of cookie-cutter articles. Automated techniques are as spammy as you can get, and customers see the difference in a heartbeat.  

Reciprocal links are excellent in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with partnering with noncompeting businesses to exchange articles or backlinks. If you sell tires, it’s smart to build a blogging relationship with respected sites related to cars, motorsports, auto parts, tourism or DIY enthusiasts. 

Once you get high-value backlinks, protect them. When updating older blogs, always use a tool such as Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to check for backlinks to your content. Be careful not to accidentally delete pages with valuable backlinks. 

Effective link building is like construction. Sure, you can save money and finish faster by cutting corners, but it always comes back to bite you later. On the other hand, high-quality work stands the test of time. 

Google wants users to have a good search experience, so trustworthy sources get more traffic. When you create valuable, helpful and authoritative blogs, you’re making a smart investment that pays off in spades. 

Good content makes your site more attractive to potential customers, improves your SEO results, and attracts valuable backlinks naturally. The process takes longer, but the benefits last ages. 

At Digital Neighbor, we’re experts in link building, website optimization and SEO. Our high-quality work speaks for itself. We can help you build and manage a strong backlink profile — no bad links or spammy tricks necessary. Contact us to learn what steps to take next. 

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