5 Tips to Avoiding those Dreaded Bad Backlinks for SEO

Published on: 6th September 2013


No matter what the ebb and flow of SEO these days, it seems that it is nigh on impossible to move away from the importance of backlinks. Of course, content becomes more important with each and every day, but backlinks always seem to be the thread running through the importance of any post that is created. Put great content out there? Then you’re likely to be hoping that it’s going to get shared halfway across the web, and come back to you through lots and lots of lovely backlinks. So we’ve established that backlinks are still incredibly important when it comes to SEO, so naturally, we need to keep a strong focus on making sure our site is linked to plenty. Perhaps the best way of doing this is to be absolutely sure to avoid those bad backlinks which have a nasty habit of finding their way back to your site.

1) No Paid Links!

Rule number 1 is very simple. Avoid paying for links, full stop. Whether or not you find or someone offers you what seems to be the most relevant backlink there could possibly be for your site, it’s just not worth it. There are clear instructions posted by Matt Cutts himself as to how to report paid links, so we can be pretty confident that Google is out to get you if you are dabbling in this nefarious behaviour! Keep it clean is the order of the day.

2) Exchanges Are No Better!

If you find you can add value for your customers by linking to relevant sites, and if you also find those sites linking back to you for the very same reason, then you can be pretty confident that you’re doing something right. The links between the two sites make all the sense in the world, so why should you worry, right? That is right, but unfortunately, far too many sites dabble in the murky world of link exchanges. A deal here, a deal there, and before you know it you are straining under the weight of a dozen links coming from sources which make no sense for your website. If it looks unnatural, it’s not going to help you in the long run.

3) Avoid Obvious Optimized Anchor Text

Considering SEO workers spent half of their lives embedding keyword rich anchor text into links a few years ago, it might come as a surprise to some of you that this is now regarded as being bad practice. If your content has a good number of links within the text, and all of those links happen to be anchored by keywords relevant to your niche, it won’t look natural. Google just loves good content for good content’s sake, so you have to focus on offering good quality and natural content. Optimization of anchor text is definitely not natural, and of course will not do you much good in the eyes of Google and the other search engines. An option is to use co-citations to underpin your thoughts and to help persuade Google that you are offering good quality content that can provide genuine value for your customers.

4) Avoid Advertorials

Advertorials were thought to be a great idea on SEO not so long ago, but it is something that most people are wary of now just ask flower specialist “Interflora” they know how it feels.  Having an ad on your page is not always a bad thing, but Google is very focused on making sure that there are very clearly marked as such, both from the point of view of the reader, and also from the point of view of the spiders crawling your page. It’s for this reason that you should make sure you offer up a rel=nofollow attribute if you are to have a link in the advert. This essentially means that you give your readers the option of perhaps getting hold of this great information you have posted about on your page, without asking Google for some juice for the benefit. Effectively, you’re saying to Google, “Hey man, I’m not asking for any favours, I’m just giving you guys the heads up on some great content at another site which could really help you!” Again, you are keeping things natural, offering value, and not trying to trick Google into giving you extra brownie points.

5) Good Links Are Good!

Get some good links in there! This post might be about bad links, but let’s not forget that links are massively important still, and there is such thing as good backlinks! Simply put, you should be including natural links which make absolute sense in respect of the content that they fall within. To a certain extent, the internet is built around links, so to avoid them is to move away from the way we use the internet entirely. Keep things natural, don’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and you stand every chance of avoiding the sorts of penalties people have been experiencing since the last updates!

Adam Livermore

Adam Livermore

Author Adam Livermore is the Director of Consult3 Ltd a Preston (Lancashire) Based Online Marketing Consultancy. He has been involved in online marketing and web since 2003 and offers Training, Consultancy and Project Management for Businesses wanting to improve their online footprint, increase leads and convert more of their website visitors. View my services for more details