The Safer Routes to Link Building for SEO In 2023
Everyone agrees: Link building is needed to rank better on search results.
23:35 12 January 2023
the most manipulated aspects of SEO, such that Google is actively cracking down on wrong practices used for it. One wrong move can land your website on the dark side of search engines and get you penalized.
Hyperlinks – initially started as a convenient way of bouncing around the web, taking you from one page to the next relevant one, have been abused. That is through black-hat tactics, which work well initially until they implode and take your website’s ranking down. Outsourcing link building to a quality white-hat service can put you in a more dominant position within your target niche – so what should you be on the lookout for?
Where Link Building Companies Come In
The modus operandi here is securing and activating links targeting particular audiences – using content posted on guest blogs, news articles, and white papers to link back to our website and drive its traffic. That saves time for business owners and website designers, allowing you to focus on other core operations of your company.
The Problem: Black-Hat Link Building Techniques
Like any other industry, some take shortcuts. The last thing you want is to save your money on links that will not work in the future because you ended up being banished by Google.
Some standard black-hat link building techniques employed by shady firms include:
1. Boosting sites with Private Blog Networks (PBNs)
These are networks whose only goal is linking to other websites and increasing their rankings. They usually get expired domains that already have some authority, then recreate them and use content farms or AI-generated material to flesh them out. These give a temporary boost until Google discovers the PBN and throttles it.
In the words of Google’s Senior Search Analyst John Mueller, "There's nothing unique about PBNs; they're just link schemes like others have been for many years. We respond to link schemes in a variety of algorithmic and manual ways. We have a lot of practice, which is fully automated."
2. Sourcing for links from link farms
These are usually part of PBNs, and the owners make money by selling site links. Google algorithm is already on the lookout for them and typically just neutralizes the links so they won’t impact search results. However, going overboard attracts a manual penalty, which is more disastrous on your site.
The December 2022 link spam update by Google is already targeting websites buying links and those used to pass outgoing links. This update that began rolling out on December 14th is the first time Google uses its AI-based spam detection “SpamBrain,” neutralizing links detected as being spam and they won’t be counted in searches - and it’s automated.
3. Leveraging Automated Blog Comments
Everything is fine with blog comments that include relevant links. However, working with automated programs that will create thousands of comments, and dropping links to websites on them, goes against Google’s guidelines. As further explained by Mueller, Google counts these as unnatural "The problematic part is the links -- if you're providing the content/the links, then those links shouldn't be passing signals & should have the rel-sponsored / rel-nofollow attached. It's fine to see it as a way of reaching a broader audience."
4. Links on user-generated spam
Spam content on community forums and social media platforms packaged with keyword-matching anchor text that has links – even when they are not relevant to the target website, has been a common practice. However, it’s barely adequate since it is low-quality content, most links are no-follow, and spam is quickly flagged.
5. Fixing links in themes or plug-ins
Here, an individual includes links coded into the plug-ins or themes installed on other websites. The goal is to benefit from the high adoption of the plug-in, which can lead to many traffic volumes. They can also take over plug-ins already successful plug-website owners unknowingly install the link on the next update they make.
Such black hats are costly for you in different ways. You can completely lose your search traffic and drop further in your ranking. That directly affects the ability of your business to generate more traffic and revenue. When your website is penalized, recovery is also a slow process that can take years. Moreover, search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, making it hard for those using the techniques to adapt quickly. Sure, some tactics can work for now, but there is no guarantee they will continue being successful.
Safe Links: SEO Done Right
While you can get hyperlinks to any website, quality links need a relevant audience and language. How do you achieve organic and legitimate growth? Reach out to guest posts with credible site owners and content creators. Obtain backlinks from highly authoritative websites like Forbes and the New York Post). Build networks through digital marketing methods over social media and give influential parties compelling reasons to link back to your website, especially those in your niche. That translates into a more sustainable long-term strategy. You can also get a backlink audit done to eliminate the links that could penalize you. You may not even be aware of their presence, such as links that have been added to plug-ins or themes installed on your site.