If you have studied SEO (Search Engine Optimization) at all then you will know how important back-links are. Some back-links however can be detrimental to the SEO of your website, or just no help at all.
You need links to your website from other sites to improve your ranking in Google. However, if you have too many low quality links your will be penalised by Google and loose ranking. Therefore it is important to know what types of sites you do not want linking to your site. These are the back-links that you do not want.
When building links to your website there are two parts to the process;
- Review the sites that are already linking to your website (a list can be downloaded via Google Webmaster Tools)
- Make a list of some sites that you want to target for new high quality links to your website
When reviewing the sites that are already linking to your site check for low quality links. These are links from sites that have either a low PR or no PR at all. Also, sites that have no relevance to the keywords or topics covered on your website. Too many of these low quality links can penalise your website, this can be hard to undo at a later date.
When making a list of sites that you want back-links from look for high PR sites within your niche. A high PR site has already earned some authority in Google and will be a trusted site. Having a back-link from a site like this will add confidence to your site within Google.
Understanding what ‘White Hat SEO’ and ‘Black Hat SEO’ are when using techniques to optimize your site is a must for all webmasters or SEO enthusiasts. For anyone not familiar with these terms they can be summarised briefly as follows;
White Hat SEO
White hat SEO is ethical SEO. It is the type of organic SEO techniques that the search engines are looking for and will be beneficial long term. The goals of white hat SEO are to provide a more honest set of search results from the search engines.
Black Hat SEO
Black hat SEO is the use of techniques that manipulate the results of a search engine to boost your own ranking. This is a very short sighted goal and will most likely earn your site to the penalised by Google or de-indexed completely.
I will list some of the types of websites that you want to avoid receiving back-links from;
Websites Not Indexed In Google
If a website is not indexed in Google then there is a high probability that the address has been penalised by Google. This is likely for using ‘black hat’ SEO techniques such as buying or selling links, hidden re-directs etc.
Websites With Low Page Rank
If a site has a low PR (Page Rank) then it has not earned much authority within Google’s own page ranking system, a link here will not help you at all.
Websites That Openly Sell Links
Some websites offer to build links for a fee. This is frowned on by search engines and will get you penalised if caught.
Websites That Are Part Of A Link Network
There are groups of webmasters that create link networks. This comprises of high authority sites building links between each other to collectively build more authority. There will generally be low quality content not specific to your website.
Websites Using Rebuilt Expired Domains
This technique seems to be more common at this time. Web addresses that already have multiple high value links are available at auction after they expire. Buying these domains only for the value of back-links is not good practice.
Websites That Are Spammed With Blog Comments
Most of the pages on these sites will be spammed with comments using targeted keywords. This is not high quality content intended to benefit the person finding these sites in Google.
Websites With Poorly Written Content
A lot of webmasters outsource content writing at the lowest possible price. This results in poorly written articles, including typos, bad grammar and overuse of keywords. These sites are mass produced and offer no long-term value.
Websites With duplicate Content
Plagiarism is common place with outsourced content. There are various tools online you can use to check samples of text to see if it appears exactly the same on other websites.
Websites Without Contact Details
Every site should have a contact/about page. If there are no contact details then this is a red flag and could mean it’s a disingenuous site built other purposes.
I hope some of this information has been useful for those of you building websites and back-links with the intention of improving your SEO. The rule of thumb is that any link offers that seem too good to be true probably are. Use white hat techniques, no matter how tempting it is to take shortcuts and you will benefit in the long run.