New changes to the Google algorithm have a tendency to highlight the bad habits SEO specialists (and website owners) have picked up along the way. After the recent Penguin update, there’s a lot of focus being put on bad linking habits. Do any of these sound familiar?
- Footer Links– Sitewide links, such as you would find in a website’s footer, are one of those tricky things that can be used for bad SEO or as an actual informative link to something related to the site. Plugins used on a website often insert a link back to the developer’s page, often inserted into the footer or other out-of-the-way area of the website. And many website developers still place a link to their own site in the footer of any sites they design, as a way to let people know who built the site and how to get their own site. Footer and other site-wide links are a very common occurrence in normal, non-black hat, web practices. Unfortunately, the footer is also a popular place to include spammy links that you don’t want anyone to actually click on. Google started out by reducing the power of these links down to zero, but after the Penguin update, these links can now hurt your site, and Google has no way to differentiate between a normal-use link and a spam link, so they are all treated like they don’t belong there.
- Online Press Releases– Let’s start off by saying that there is nothing wrong with creating online press releases. When they’re done correctly, they can be great for SEO and publicity. But, there is a huge difference between syndication websites that will publish anything and quality release syndication sites. If you have several low-quality press releases pointed back to your site, that’s something that Google will see as link spam. Instead of publishing several lower-quality releases, release one or two knock-out releases through a better channel. You’ll see better publicity results, and the links will help your website instead of harming it.
- Forum Link-Shares– You have a website/product/service that is very useful to a certain audience, and you know that valuable traffic numbers would soar, if only more people knew about your site. So you take to forums, conversing with your target audience, and sharing the link to your site, hoping that the link will bring in some SEO juice along with the additional traffic. Unfortunately, not only do these links not help your SEO, they could actually set your efforts back a bit. If you’re going to use forums to find your marketing audience, make sure you focus on adding useful advice and comments to the conversation, not on dropping links for your site.
- Article Marketing– Using article marketing for the sole purpose of sending links back to your website was never really good advice, but it’s an attractive idea that a lot of new SEOs try out. The idea is that you write articles related to your website, post them on various article sites (ezinearticles.com, for example), and let the links boost your SEO. Then Google caught on to the low quality articles that these sites were publishing, and all of the sudden, those links didn’t count for anything any more.
- Social Bookmarking Sites– If you’re posting your links to social bookmarking sites in the hopes of improving your SEO, you’re probably wasting your time. This technique isn’t nearly as useful as it used to be. You can’t even pull in traffic this way anymore, which was one of the big draws of social bookmarking sites to begin with.
If your site has several inbound links from low-quality site, Google is going to assume that your site is also low-quality. Instead of risking link spam, focus on building links with high quality sites. These links reaffirm the quality of your site, and improve your SEO, without the chance of a nasty spam-backlash.
What types of spam links did we leave out? Are there any methods that you used to use successfully that later were marked as spammy?