How Bad SEO Links Can Destroy Your Website Ranking
Google releases updates to its algorithm on a regular basis, but most people don’t need to panic about changes to the ways websites are ranked. If you don’t run the kind of website that indulges in spam-driven search engine optimization techniques from the past, such as churning out keyword stuffed content or packing in meaningless, irrelevant links, then you can usually rest easy.
However, even the websites that focus on creating engaging and unique content with a direct focus on quality, can sometimes be caught off guard by trickier updates. The Penguin 2.1 update that hit the airwaves in September came with some unexpected differences, and many people were shocked when their rankings began to suffer, despite their amazing content. Many SEO companies began to discover that bad incoming links were more detrimental than they had originally suspected.
What are Incoming Links?
For those that are new to the complicated concept that is search engine optimization, incoming links, or ‘backlinks’ are a fundamental aspect of Google’s method for determining website rankings. At a base level, Google considers the number of links that prompt users towards a website, and the quality of the websites that those links are coming from. As long as you’re not breaking any of the other SEO rules, then a website with many incoming links could typically rank higher than competing websites with fewer links.
Once upon a time, it was the quantity that stole the show, and Google seemed to be more interested in the number of links that you could accumulate, regardless of their relevance or where they were from. With that in mind, a lot of SEO firms decided to build links wherever they could, without any consideration as to whether those links could actually add anything to the site in terms of quality. Then suddenly, Google changed.
First, the Panda update rolled out in the early months of 2011, followed by the introduction of Penguin for the first time in 2012 (You can see the timeline of updates here). With the updates came a change in focus, and Google began to prefer quality over quantity when it came to backlinks, and content. Many of the websites that had managed to gather up astounding amounts of backlinks, regardless of their quality, began to see their rankings fall dramatically.
What is a Bad SEO link?
Analyzing every corner of your website for bad links is generally a tedious and time-consuming task – but it is necessary. Some of the bad links that you may encounter will include:
- Disproportionate anchor text links
- Links from paid posts
- Links from bad, or spam-based websites
- Links from blog networks
- Links from irrelevant or untrustworthy websites
- Links from stagnant directories
What the Panda update had begun with content creation, Penguin finished, and experts everywhere began to notice how lazy or simple solutions in the past had started to come back and haunt the websites of today. Fortunately, when you begin removing bad links from your website, you can begin to see beneficial results immediately. However, this means that you will need to take part in the mammoth task of backlink auditing, to track down each and every poisonous link within your system.