Relevant links coming back from other sites can be an ally in helping your site naturally move up in the generic search engine rankings for your chosen keywords. But if the search engines such as Google concludes that your site is stockpiling links in a way that they don’t like, solely for the purpose of moving up in the rankings, you can be penalized. Site owners are suddenly finding out without notice that their site can even virtually disappear overnight from the search results.
Google recently made it crystal clear when not too long ago, they made their statement by penalizing Internet giants Overstock.com as well as J.C. Penney for they violating a few link building as well as content related guidelines. So obviously if these major sites are at risk, then everyone else on the Web is as well.
If Google decides to penalized these dominant players, then other major brands as well as authority sites are also obviously in jeopardy if they practice these deemed high risk SEO practices. Google and their Webspam team are the only ones who really know which search engine optimization SEO tactics will raise the red flags. There are obviously the already well known SEO practices which are known to be risky, so proceed at your own risk.
Anchor Text Which Is Manipulated In Inbound Links
All of the major search engines are easily able to identify inbound links (or backlinks) which contains anchor text that’s manipulated. This is the highlighted phrase or word on a websites content which someone clicks on to get further information.
A example of this is when a violation occurs directly after a site owner identifies a specific or a group of keywords or a phrase which commands a high search volume, and then they will attempt to “own” or dominate these keywords by purchasing as many of the identical links as they can that use the same keywords in the targeted phrases.
Say that you target “forex tips” as your keyword and there are a multitude of links pointing back to you from casino sites. When the search engines see these types of unnatural, unrelated repetition of the precise targeted keywords which are within the text of these links, and originating from thousands of different unrelated sites, they will most likely see this as a clear attempt to manipulate anchor text.
Links Which Are From Irrelevant Sites
Link relevancy is viewed as one of the most important and telling aspects of a link portfolio. Just as search engines will evaluate each and every site in terms of its relevance based on particular search terms, they also evaluate the other websites which are linking back to that site.
They will gauge if the sites which are linking back tend to be relevant or related to that site as well as the products that they sell or the services they offer. This will usually provide a much greater boost than those links which are from irrelevant sites.
So to continue with the “forex tips” example, and as it’s been established that those links pointing back from all those casino sites are pretty much irrelevant, it would make a lot more sense however, if those same links were on “investment” or “banking” blogs.
Unfortunately, most marketers will just go out and buy a whole boatload of a variety and as many backlinks as they can, they regardless if they’re relevant or not. They will go out and buy backlinks from “link” sellers or use software programs to get thousands of these irrelevant links pointing back to their sites, which has little or absolutely nothing to do with the theme or niche of their sites content. Not only will they provide little benefit, it can also be seen by the search engines as poor SEO practices and may lead to penalties.
Links Which Are Not Regional
Say there are links from sites which are from other countries where a local retail website selling local bakery products obviously doesn’t do any business with. This can also potentially raise a red flag. If a localized retail website doesn’t sell their goods in say… Europe, Google may just disapprove those links from any sites which contains an EU domain.
Although these links can obviously happen naturally, and are not under a site owners control, if you happen to rapidly acquire lots of these types of links, that suggests to Google that you are intentionally attempting to manipulate links.
Each inbound link which is pointing to a website can be easily evaluated for the relevance of the source page that it’s linking to. But if that particular source page happens to have links to a few unrelated sites, most likely receiving payment, it may be viewed as link spam. This will also raise a red flag and may be labeled by the search engines as an undesirable inbound link.
Links Originating From “Bad Neighborhoods”
Similarly, the webmasters sites can also be evaluated for links coming from sites which has low PageRank, or incoming links which are questionable. Google clearly states that sites should be avoiding links from web spammers or sites in “bad neighborhoods.” This may affect your own sites ranking by linking to those sites.
Keep in mind that the presence of any of these “Red Flags” doesn’t imply that the webmaster is guilty, but only that these sites may be engaging in questionable practices.
These webmasters may not have any intention of breaking any of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, or that they are engaging in some type of “black-hat” SEO practices. They most likely don’t even know that this is happening to them.
Take A Look At Your Linking Process
Make sure that you evaluate the quality of your links to avoid any of these penalties, site owners should consider performing some type if an audit of all their incoming links.
• Get an accurate detailed snapshot of your sites link portfolio by using a tool such as Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic SEO or Open Site Explorer.
• Completely analyze your sites link building practices and methods to ensure that you comply with Google, as well as Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines. One example would be to not using excessive reciprocal links.
• Perform competitive analysis which will evaluate the quantity of your backlinks as well as the unique domains. Evaluate the authority as well as the relevance of these backlinks.
• Identify suspicious or bad sources of backlinks, which includes spam sites, link farm exchange sites, sites with poor PageRank scores etc.
Do an annual audit of your sites to avoid any penalties, which will also enable you to focus on building better reputation with the search engines. Over time, you will eventually end up with a combination of excellent unique content and relevant related links. This will allow you to start achieving better more sustainable natural search results.