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SEO FAQ: What Are Considered "Bad" Backlinks?

As we discussed in a previous blog this year, backlinks are links on external sites that link back to your site. Backlinks can bring a larger number of users to your website through search engines because those links validate the quality of your website. In short, the more quality links that go back to your website, the higher search engines will rank you.

Interconnected Internet: Backlinks to Your Website

Problems with Backlinks

However, not all backlinks are beneficial. There are several problems you may face when attempting to build links to your website including:

  • Unrelated Article Directories – Simply submitting your content and articles to article directories will not necessarily yield positive results in and of itself. You need backlinks from credible and related sources.
  • Relevance of Links – The backlinks coming into your website should be on a site that is relevant to your industry, geography, or topic. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for Google to see a link from a plumbing website to your restaurant’s website. However, links from a local news outlet featuring your business, an industry-specific magazine, or another article referencing/quoting your research are all examples of “relevant” links.
  • Poor Quality Content – Ultimately, search engines evaluate your content to decide where it should rank. If the content that is linked to your site is not high-quality, the search engines won’t see the link as worthy of passing significant page rank.

If a website that links to your page features one or more of these issues, then the search engines may start sending you to the bottom of the queue.

Backlinks with Potential Penalties

In addition, with each new update that search engine titans like Google and Bing implement, the link building process often has to be rethought. Updates to search engines, like Penguin, often create a need for an audit review process so that the website is not penalized for low quality or irrelevant backlinks to their page.

For instance, Penguin may take “points” away from, or disregard, your website’s backlinks if the links are from websites which are:

  • Not indexed with Google
  • Suspicious or have been flagged for phishing
  • Possess a zero rating on PageRank
  • Links that have been purchased and are sustained on a pay-for-link system

Finding the right link can be a tricky process. However, to build an effective SEO strategy, a website needs an adequate set of backlinks. Feel free to check out our Search Engine Optimization services page to learn more about the basics of SEO and contact us if you have any questions.

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