Google warns again about ‘bad’ links

Who is (or what is) the weakest link?

Most of us know the difference (or at least have heard of the difference) between black hat and white hat SEO. Recently Google has put out a new warning on links which are released through circulating content on a large scale means. Essentially writers and website owners need to be careful what they are doing.

Google is not against content publication and we have proved this by some of our topics in recent blog posts. However if the purpose of content publication is just to get links, then this is obviously not an approach recommended because it’s hardly ethical amongst other things. It would seem Google are clamping down on this more, so our post will try and help you.

Why do links matter?

This question does not have a precise answer as there are many reasons for this, but it is generally accepted that links increase a websites authority meaning it is likely to rank better. This makes the ‘prize’ for lots of links to be obvious and why Google does not want this to be abused.

Worst case scenario?

Google’s response to a violation of these rules can be a penalty against a website which can severely hamper its rankings and ultimately business. This is why close attention needs to be paid to ensure that compliance is followed and not risked.

What is considered a bad / unrepeatable link?

Generally speaking the answer to this is in the intent. If an article is being designed just for the purpose of gaining or promoting links then it is quite obvious and if ordinary people can spot this, so can Google!

Generally though some of the factors which can contribute to this include:

1) Putting lots of links into an article.

2) Publishing articles across many different sites.

3) Having lots of articles on a few concentrated sites.

4) Duplicating content or having very similar themes.

5) Using someone else to write about the subject who clearly has no knowledge of it.

How to keep ‘safe’ 

The answer to this is clear – avoid doing what is mentioned in the five points above, and always read through your post as a ‘lay person’ and check whether it looks valuable and relevant or just an exercise in pushing links.

There are also other ways you can ensure you don’t fall foul of the violation and receive a penalty. Include no follow links or use canonical tags to ensure ‘link weight’ isn’t passed unnecessarily (meaning you are [not] trying to claim an unfair ranking advantage.)

What maybe isn’t clear from Google’s further publication on this matter (in precise terms anyway,) is when a posting crosses that line of being reputable into a spammy link posting territory. Maybe there is no answer for this as it is on a case by case basis?  Expect or require further clarification perhaps; or a lot of worried webmasters otherwise?

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