Today’s video blog comes from WMG’s Head of Manual and Algorithmic Removal Services, Alex Darwin. Alex talks us through what Google are looking for when they asses whether a link is “good” or “bad”. Quite often, link tactics which you believe to be perfectly natural can look unnatural and manipulative to Google. A good understanding of the guidelines will mean that your links are less likely to be deemed manipulative, and you’ll be able to fix any that you think could be at risk.
For ease, we’ve also transposed the video for you below…
The second question that we get asked a lot is “What is a bad link?” And we put in brackets, “in Google’s eyes,” because a good link and a bad link varies depending on who you’re talking to. So it’s important to realize when dealing with penalties, whether it’s manual or you’ve seen a drop in traffic because of a penguin algorithm, that you approach your link profile with Google guidelines in mind.
So if you’re looking at a link that you have on a site, does it add value? Is somebody who’s coming to the site going to understand, first of all, what they’re reading, or is it a completely scraped-together site? Is it all complete gibberish, and there are just links here, there, and everywhere, where it’s quite spammy?
Are the articles that you’ve got out there on your site informative? There’s a lot of rabbit holes that you can go down with quality, but it should be quite easy to spot some of the more manipulative sites. Have you got excessive links from footers and sidebars on poor quality sides that don’t add anything? Are you part of link directories? Have you submitted your domain to a link network for free or for a small fee?
If somebody is coming to you and offering you link services and they promise you page rank and referral traffic and all these things, it’s quite likely that actually, what they’re part of is a wider link network. Now we’re seeing that Google is shutting these networks down all the time. We’ve had fiascos with guest post blogging.
So the attitude you’ve got to take when reviewing your site is “Does it add value?” Be more safe than sorry, and if it’s your domain, you know what you put out there. If you’ve seen some spam out there, it might be negative SEO, it might not be. But if you’re trying to be safer, just be more cautious. It’s easier to get rid of than to keep and be sorry for afterwards.