There are many SEO companies, despite Google’s crackdowns, who still insist on buying low quality links for their clients. Whenever they sign-up a new SEO client they immediately begin buying links on low quality, obviously spam filled websites – or adding links to low quality websites that they own themselves. This increases the number of links that the website in question has, thus increasing their rankings – for a short while at least. The problem is that low quality links won’t aid your rankings in the long term, and it’s oh so easy to spot.
If anyone can find out where your links are coming from, and how poor in quality they are, then Google (with all of its power over the Internet) can easily detect the sources of your links also – and Google isn’t very forgiving.
So what do we mean by low quality, and why is it bad for your rankings?
Google started the whole concept of PageRank itself, and worked out that the more websites that link to yours, the more important your website must be, and the better it should rank. Of course in doing so, Google opened up the whole process for dodgy SEO companies to attempt to build links en masse for clients, thus exposing the weaknesses in Google’s ploy.
Good quality, strong links are good for your website because it means that a strong website has cast its ‘vote’ in your favour. Strong links such as these mean that your website must be of a suitable quality in order to get them in the first place, thus your website will be looked upon favourably by Google.
However, when your link profile is made up from ostensibly poor quality websites, with little or no content that exists purely to offer links, then the nature of how those links was obtained becomes obvious.
For example, we looked at the backlinks of a particular website (we won’t mention what website it is, or who the SEO company involved is) but we found the following websites within its link profile:
These websites (and many others linking to the site in question) are foreign TLDs (top level domains) – these ones in particular being from Sweden. This in itself should be considered a red flag, because a UK website can expect to naturally attract UK links – not links from foreign websites. If a website has predominantly foreign websites show up in its link profile, there is usually a good reason for this – such as paid links.
Now, when you look at the websites in question, you’ll see that they all follow the same pattern, existing purely to provide links for clients of the SEO company, and they look EXACTLY the same. Don’t think for a moment that Google won’t notice this, as it’s glaring obvious for all concerned. A link profile containing links such as this makes it clear where the links have come from, and the rankings of the websites being linked to will suffer as a consequence.
If you’re interested, you can find the websites that link to your site by using Yahoo’s Site Explorer, here. Just enter your website address and look at the ‘inlinks’ tab. Remember to select ‘except from this domain’ to just show the links from other websites. If the links being shown are from low quality websites, you should probably start to worry.