Last week Google launched the long anticipated Penguin2.0 to further reduce web spam and penalize websites that indulge in the practice of using spam to get higher search engine rankings.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, I have often written about safe methods for generating backlinks. It is very important for webmasters to be careful not to use any shortcuts or backlink creation methods which might lead to Google penalties for his website.
Here are a few articles for your reference in this regard:
- 101 ways to get quality backlinks to your website
- 12 best practices to generate back links to your website
- 7 ways to get quality backlinks
There are many online web services selling backlinks or offering a way to generate thousands of backlinks with little work. This does work for a couple of hours or days — until Google completely bans your website from their web index as a penalty for web spam!
Google is getting smarter with time, and they have started notifying webmasters for unnatural links pointing to their websites. In fact, one can now use Google’s disavow link tool to nullify the effect of such links. (Once a link has been disavowed, the next time Google crawls that link they add what is basically an invisible “nofollow” tag to the link.)
Say “no” to following backlink generator methods:
It is often said that quality products never come cheap. The same is true for quality backlinks! A backlink is an essential SEO element for the higher ranking of a webpage, and it is obtained when you have a quality website or page with outstanding content.
For now, let’s look at a variety of methods for backlink creation which we should avoid at all costs:
- How not to get hit by a Google Penguin-like change again
- Penguin tool: find out which Google algo penalized your website
- What is Google Penguin?
Paid link from a high PR page:
Many webmasters offer paid links from their high PR pages, but Google is very strict about link selling. Any paid link which is placed to pass the link juice will lead your website to a Google penalty.
In the past many companies hired freelance writers to write guest posts on their behalf. Since Penguin 1.0, they’ve have to eliminate all such links.
There are also many websites selling high PR backlinks, including .edu backlinks which, while it may sound very profitable, can instantly lead to a Google penalty for paid links.
- Paid links and SEO : Will Google penalize your website?
- Why you should never buy back links: A Case study
Backlinks from social media profiles and forums :
There are several types of automated software available that will create hundreds of backlinks via social media profiles or other forum profiles. They produce very low-quality links, and these will not help you in any way. Perhaps they will increase your backlink diversity and density, but again – they are producing low quality links back to your site. Penalty!
Furthermore, because the links are created using automated software and thousands of other sites are also using the same method of backlink creation, they are very easy to detect as spam. While paid links may not be harmful in and of themselves, they can (and likely will) lead to Google Penguin penalties for your website.
The message? Stay away from any type of software that promises to create links on auto-pilot.
A better method is to create a social media profile manually on hand-picked, high quality social media and networking sites, and update the profile to get a link back. For example, you can verify your Pinterest account to get a quality dofollow backlink. Similarly, you can consider becoming active on selected similar niche forums and use forum signatures to get links to your website.
You can learn more about how to get legitimate backlinks and traffic via forums here:
- List of do-follow forums to increase backlinks
- How to use forums to promote your website
- How to drive traffic to your website via forums
Private blog network:
Many webmasters create a network of blogs (private blog networks) and use it for link-building and link-selling. Generally they use the different IP (Internet protocol – webhosting) to keep all blogs in the network separate, and use various other techniques to ensure that Google’s web spam team does not recognize the connection.
In the past these private blog networks were actually quite successful, but this is no longer the case. Google is cracking down on private blog networks, and webmasters who have purchased links using these networks are seeing a significant drop in ranking and traffic following every Penguin update or refresh.
If you are receiving mouth-watering emails from some SEO link-builder about link-building via private blog networks, hit the “delete” button and ignore them.
Links via plugin or via free themes:
Before the Penguin update, free themes and plugins used to be one of the easiest and highest quality ways to generate lots of links. However, since the Penguin update this method is no longer safe. Many quality websites such as WPMU and QOT were penalized due to the fact that too many of the same anchor text links were generated using this method.
If you are an individual freelancer or web-development company with a credit link in the footer of your website, be sure to maintain a variety of anchor texts, and make sure your client site is relevant to your niche. Otherwise, it is better not to have a link, than to have a link which can negatively affect your website ranking.
- Paid links can lead to Google penalties.
- Stay away from automated software providing backlink tools.
- Don’t fall for the private blog network link-building method.
- Backlinks to your website should come only from relevant niche sites, using variations of anchor text.
For further reading:
Here is a video published by Matt Cutts before the launch of Penguin 2.0, which will give you an idea about Google’s SEO changes:
In future posts I will write more about safe methods of backlink generation, and other tips for Penguin-penalized websites.
Let me know what other methods you think should and should not be used to keep our websites Penguin-safe.