Backlinks and Abysmal SEO
Most SEO companies will have you believing that backlinks are good for SEO.
The more backlinks, the better. See why my site is not ranking
They will sell you several backlinking packages that range from £40 for 10 citation links (a waste of time) to £4500 a month for backlinks from newspaper articles written by journalists who know the right editors.
Google would have you believe there is no need to build backlinks.
“The Internet will naturally link to you if you write brilliant content that creates wonderful infographics.”
The reality is that 95% of all backlinks are either bad for your SEO or ignored by Google. See why your site is not ranking.
Backlinks have a terrible name.
Backlink building is the brown paper bag of SEO. It is the black hat, insidious and underhand way of fooling Google into ranking a website.
Pre-hummingbird (one of Google’s updates) backlinks were all the rage. It was absurd. All you had to do was build as exact match anchor text as possible from as many websites as possible, and you would rank #1 in Google for your keywords.
The major problem was that Google could not get anyone selling back to admit they were doing that. However, they devised a cunning way of ensuring that the people who did buy backlinks not only admitted it created a list of backlinks they had bought.
If it suspected foul play, Google did this by dropping a website from its index. It then sends the Webmaster or owner an email saying you have a Google penalty for unnatural backlinks to your website.
Should you wish to be re-included into the index, you must list all the links you unnaturally added to your website (read purchased) and submit that list to Google as a disavow file.
Now, most SEOs are much more tenuous when it comes to securing links for their clients. There is a belief that backlinks no longer count. We know that backlinks form the basis of the Google search engine, so we know this is highly unlikely.
So, faced with the dilemma of avoiding being penalised and dropped out of the index by buying spam me backlinks, what does the standard SEO or website owner do?
Often, they turn to cheap back-linking and purchase citation links or guest blog posts from India. (A citation link is simply a web directory link.)
Citation links are bad for your SEO.
- The reason is that the anchor text has already been used for a link pointing to your website. The citation link is either your website URL or the company’s name.
- The page it links to is the home page 99.9% of the time. The idea of backlinks is that they pass link strength to a website to corroborate further with the service or product keywords the website is optimising for.
- Everyone, including their mother, knows the name of the website or business and, of course, the URL.
Google ignores up to 70% of backlinks that point to the home page.
Hence, this type of link, sold as a citation or confirmation of the company’s name and address, is terrible for your SEO. It is also bad for your wallet and wastes time and money.
You may read about toxic backlinks. A toxic backlink is one that Google is forced not to ignore.
This may be an untrustworthy website. It may be that the link has been added to a page via computer or script. It is unlikely to be a link in an excellent editorial piece on a website you would be proud of for your brand to be associated with.
There are many websites on identifying and removing toxic links; however, in my 14 years of securing backlinks for clients, Google is an expert at deciding which websites have links of any discernible quality. Disavowing links can be seen as an admission of guilt.
A valuable and healthy (non-toxic) backlink considers the domain’s age, the quality and quantity of content, the number of websites that link to this domain, and their quality and quantity of content. It also considers the words around the anchor text used to link to the website and the anchor text itself.
It is not an exact science if you study a list of backlinks (free here) you will see all sorts of sites that search engines count and don’t ignore.
This is why most purchased links fall into the category of either toxic or ignored.
This is why backlinks are bad for SEO. They will either drop you out of Google if they are of sufficient toxicity or will be ignored. Either way, you have not improved your page ranking at all.