Which Backlinks can harm the Google Rankings of a Website?

January 28, 2015

For those who have taken all the steps in trying to get their content ranked as highly as possible on search engines, it can be rather disappointing when it turns out the backlinks you used were not up to snuff. In fact, poor or bad backlinks can really do more harm than good and while some may be rather obvious, others might slip right in and doom your content in terms of your SEO efforts.
Fortunately, there are ways to find the backlinks which are harming your content and making sure that you avoid the type that can really hurt. While broken links are rather obvious and easy to check, there are other types that can really sink your optimization efforts.

The Danger of Paid Backlinks

Basically, you should avoid paid backlinks as they may hurt your SEO efforts, especially if they come from bad sources. While paid links in and of itself are not harmful, it is their source that usually means they are not worth using in your content. Of the many different tests that have been performed with paid links, the deficits far outweigh the benefits.
Does that mean if you avoid paid links that your content will be fine? The answer is still “no” because it will depend on the source of the links. One of the side effects however is that competitors may link to your content in an effort to drive down your rankings. According to Google, the net effect in almost all cases is that such tactics will not do any harm. However, there may be rare cases where it might occur depending on the circumstances.

Avoid Link Farms

You’ll see plenty of “link schemes” which are advertisements to link to particular sites to boost your page ranking. In truth, too many of them have the opposite effect. This is especially true for web spammers and the like. Having links connected to your content from dubious sources will almost certainly drive down our page rankings.
This means that you will need to get your links from proven, reliable sources that can be checked so that you know what you are getting. It’s a slower process and one that requires some diligence on your part.

Check the Links

Using tools such as Excel or NetPeak Checker just to name two, you can go over your backlinks and check their veracity from time to time. This should apply to all of your content so that you can make sure that the links are holding up and that old links are not broken ones.

– Identify the linking root domains using data sources for backlinks
– Look at the ToolBar PageRank distribution
– Check the percentage of the linking root domains that have been de-indexed
– Check the distribution of social metrics if applicable

By going over your links on a periodic basis, you can ensure that they are good and solid which will only work to hold up your content. It is not a perfect system as bad backlinks may still slip in from time to time. However, if you are diligent and check on a fairly frequent basis then you should be able to catch the biggest offenders.

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