Types of Links, Good and Bad

Having a bad link on your website can cost you dearly when it comes to SEO. You should observe caution when link building and only use links that support high search engine ranking. However, determining good links is not an easy process especially with the latest Google Search Engine updates that are so accurate in determining the value of inbound links to your site. Also, Google has an automated system that penalizes sites that have bad links while promoting those with good links.

The value of the link is easy to understand, for example, what value can a cell phone directory based in the UK have for a Canadian local business? This is something that Google looks at. Google uses over 200 metrics for rating the quality of websites, this process is even complicated now, time-consuming and difficult to learn. To determine quality links you need to have a good SEO experience and an understanding if Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Quality is more important than ever when it comes to link building. As we have already stated, your site can get penalized for building spammy and low-quality links. SEOs have bordered on this risky side with techniques such as directory listings and article submissions because they were efficient especially when done correctly. However, these practices are no longer effective and can hurt your website after the introduction of Google’s Penguin updates.

The best links are the “natural” editorial links, these are the ones that you don’t have to ask for and are naturally given by owners of other websites. This works better than having to contact someone asking him/her to link to you. If you follow this route, you must give that individual the reason to do so and come up with ways to make other bloggers believe you. A good reason is having good quality content and present it to a few influential bloggers. These bloggers will create a buzz that will “naturally” raise the awareness of other bloggers. This process is not easy and takes time explaining why these types of links are highly valued by Google.

Manual linking or outreach is a common link-building process especially if you are starting your business. In this process, you manually contact bloggers and website owners asking them to link to you - the owners must be relevant to you and you must still give them a reason to do so.

Self-created or non-editorial links are the types of links that fool the search engines into thinking that the content is appropriate and essential when it actually isn’t. This is considered a black-hat practice and you will get penalized by Google. These types of links also carry less weight than other links. In the past, SEOs used these links to great success but you should take caution when implementing them now. A few examples are:

  • Blog comments that aren’t moderated
  • Article directories
  • Directories that aren’t moderated.
  • Advertorials
  • User profile pages
  • Embeddable widgets
  • Guest post signatures
  • Forum signatures
  • Press releases with optimized anchor text
  • Guestbooks
  • Embedded infographics

It is advisable to focus on the links that will add real value to your business and website.