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Four Backlink Types That Will Hurt Your Google Rankings

It is often difficult to keep up with the many updates and algorithm changes presented by Google.  Backlinks and linking historically have been a core SEO strategy on major search engines.  Once known as “referrals,” linking strategies are one way for search algorithms to approximate how relevant sites are to users.  However, the implementation of more advanced search algorithms can differentiate meaningful links that suggest relevancy from black hat SEO strategies. In other words, there are types of backlinks that Google hates and can actually get you removed from Google Search results.

Here four types of links that can negatively impact Google rankings:

1. Paid Links

Exchanging currency or goods for links is frowned upon by Google Search.  Simply put, buying or selling links is generally a bad idea.

2. Unnatural and Excessive Link Exchanges

Websites exchange links all the time.  However, most links that are exchanged organically are exchanged between websites within the same industry.  Excessively exchanging links with websites that are loosely related to a specific industry can be a stretch.  As Google algorithms become more advanced, they can better detect if a link exchange will make sense to a person.  Use common sense when exchanging links.

3. Articles Written for Backlinks

Google algorithms are moving further towards providing quality, relevant content to users.  Similarly, marketing campaigns should increasingly be geared towards providing value for users rather than search engines.  Backlinks should be used in moderation, and they should be designed to provide value to users. For example, if you have a backlink from the word “North Carolina window replacements”, that should be hyperlinked to your North Carolina-based company’s window replacement page. Bottom line- take users to a place where they will find information on what they are searching for.

4. Automated Programs that Create Backlinks

As a rule of thumb, design SEO linking strategies to align with current Google algorithms by providing value for users.  Automated link-building programs provide almost zero value or relevancy to searchers.  Needless to say, installing them can do more than demolish your rankings.  Automated link-building programs and similar programs are infamous for masking spyware, viruses, and other kids of malware.

Google Guidelines for Linking Strategies

A quality Google Guide dictates the following:

  • Common sense
  • Quality content
  • Building links in moderation
  • Organic link building

It is important to focus internet marketing and SEO campaigns on user experience rather than simple methods to build more links faster.  It is also important to note that attaining one of the top five rankings on Google in a few weeks is often highly unrealistic.  Instead of focusing local SEO strategies only on first-page rankings, look at user experience.  After all, current Google algorithms are moving further away from variables that can be easily manipulated (e.g. keywords) and focusing on those that cannot (e.g. social media feedback). Follow the same strategies used by Google algorithms for the most consistent results. If you want to know more about how you can use Google’s 6 services to increase your rankings, you can check out our Google handbook. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Written By

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses about their marketing efforts, Marentis provides insight on what it takes for small businesses to succeed and thrive in today’s evolving digital environment. His notable career includes creating the foundational blueprints for online marketing, e-commerce and content branding for AOL's Interactive Marketing group, where he served as Senior Vice President. While CEO of Clearspring Technologies, Marentis developed one of the most widely adopted venture-backed Web 2.0 technology platforms. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

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