The first thing that’s worth mentioning is that all of these link building techniques come under the umbrella of:
If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!
What do we mean by that?
Well if a site is offering you 20 backlinks for $30 the chances are you’re not going to be getting great value for money but rather greater chances of having your site manually penalised by Google!
Think about it:
For such a small amount of money would you expect to receive your backlinks in QUALITY pieces of content where writers have spent a long time thinking about how to make the article with your backlink completely relevant and natural?
The chances are NO.
We’ve spent a long time trawling through the internet looking at the types of links sold by these backlink companies.
And for the most part, it’s a smorgasbord of highly dangerous, manual penalty inducing pain for the unlucky chumps who buy their ‘backlinks’.
These range from ‘backlinks in comments’ (because we all know how amazingly beneficial having your link put in a comment on some crap site x1000 over is) to your own PBN network! The awful opportunities are endless and the chance to potentially destroy your own sites rankings usually come at the small cost of $30!
Now it might sound like we’re going on a rant. But these guys ruin it for the rest of us who are trying to do things in the most natural way possible!
Now, of course, there are people that argue if you ever pay a penny for a link then that is spam in itself!
But that simply isn’t true, otherwise, nearly every single big site you see on the internet today wouldn’t be here.
One of the most interesting pieces of ‘information’ I’ve read is that apparently even being sent a product and then talking about it in your blog is a spam technique.
So, you know that’s the
whole influencer industry gone apparently!
Oh no wait, the influencer industry is only growing? So. what does that say about that information?
Google loves trust
Okay so, in reality, the fact is Google will always say any sort of paid link building is spam because, in their ideal world, no one would be using their platform to make money. Everything on there would simply be there because the people creating the content are just so passionate about their subject that they offer up all this information for free and want nothing in return. I mean who needs food anyway?
Just because Google would like that no one ever paid for links doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.
At the end of the day, if you have a good site and you get links from relevant sites in a relevant piece of content, and you don’t buy a 100 links at once then how on earth will they know?
This is just how it works. Anyone who says they don’t believe in paying for links (especially in the SEO industry) are lying. Normally because they have some course or ‘different way’ they want to sell you!
But backlinks talk for themselves, and without them, YOU WILL NOT be on the first page of Google.
And if you’re a bigger website that isn’t constantly getting new backlinks (and creating new content) chances are you will also stagnate or fall down the rankings.
Okay so we got a bit off topic, but the point is there is a marked difference between paying for PBN links, web 2.0 links, guest posting links etc, rather than getting high-quality links from relevant sites.
But what are the types of dangerous backlinks to keep an eye out for?
1. Guest posting
Any site that allows pretty much anyone to guest post on them is going to be crap – these sites will have NO authority whatsoever, and anyone who understands a thing about Google will understand how important authoritative authors are; E-A-T is now one of the most important ranking signals – how do you think they’ll judge a site that allows Pete from down the road to write a guest post on why he thinks Cannabis Oil is going to save the world?
Guest posting CAN still work but it’s all about context and quality of the site.
For example; well-known SEO professionals writing on Search engine Journal and linking back to studies they’ve completed – Google will look at that favourably. And the same could be said in a multitude of industries.
Google isn’t stupid, they understand that guest posting tends to mean a cheap and easy way of getting links, and when a site is filled with crappy guest posts you can be sure that link to your site is going to be doing more damage to your site than it is good.
But yet again it is about the context of the guest post!
2. Web 2.0
Web 2.0 on its own as a term doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. It more refers to the changing way the internet is being used. In that, it is no longer just comprised of static pages, but rather interactive pages such as blogs, social media sites etc that allow users to interact with one another! However, the issues are when ‘so called backlink resellers’ try and utilise web 2.0 as a money-making scheme by selling links on web 2.0 pages.
Essentially web 2.0 pages yet again could hold value. Say for example you create a tumbler page and fill it with useful content and link to your site, this isn’t likely to do you any damage.
What will do damage is buying 100 web 2.0 links, which will then come from a variety of sources overnight such as WordPress, Hubpages, Squidoo etc! This does not look natural to Google. Firstly, no site tends to go from zero to 100 overnight. Secondly, like anything, those who first test out some new SEO hack tend to be the ones that reap the benefits. Once Google catches on to a new technique you can be sure there’ll be an update to limit its workability. Nowadays getting a bunch of links within this web 2.0 properties is very likely to end in a loss of rankings and a potential manual penalty, as Google will quite clearly be able to see you are using a spam technique in order to game their system.
Of course, yet again we have to make it clear that having links in your own web 2.0 properties, such as Tumblr pages, Social media etc are not inherently bad in themselves, when natural! It’s when you pay a company to put up a bunch of web 2.0 links that it begins to look spam-like.
Now, of course, being on certain directories such as YELP, Yellow Pages, Google Business etc is VERY useful, especially for local SEO. But the days of just chucking your site up on 1000’s of different directories and waiting to see a rise in rankings are behind us! In fact; since 2012 Google has been actively purging directory sites from Google. And if any site is still offering hundreds of directory links for a very cheap price. You KNOW that you will just be letting yourself in for a whole load of pain, whilst paying for it!
The main questions to really ask are this:
- Would you pay to be on this directory?
- Are most of the listings to quality businesses?
If the answer to these is no, then chances are these are NOT beneficial directories to be put on. And any backlink business offering them does not have your businesses best interest!
4. Comment spam
This is still a genuine tactic for many backlink sellers. They will sell comments links for as little as $0.001 per link. So how much do we think these will benefit a site if that is what their worth is valued at? Quite clearly at such a low price, it will be a bot that includes these links into comments, in a completely unnatural way and will probably mean the comments that are going to be put up will be inane and have no relevance to the site the comment is being written on, or your own. The only marketing automation we would recommend at MediaSkyscraper relates to scheduling emails and follows up to best improve open rates (even then scheduled emails and follow-ups must be personalised).
Secondly and more importantly, how much of a benefit for your own sites SEO are these comment links going to have? Most of these comment links are put into low quality, old articles that tend to have 1000s of other spam comments on there. So the link to your site may be offering 1/1000th of the benefit that a link from a low-quality page would! But not only that; if you’ve suddenly got a bunch of comment links from random sites appearing on your backlink profile, how does this look to Google? That’s right ‘unnatural’.
Yet again this is not to say all types of comments are spam. If you comment on an article with some insightful information that is relevant to your site and the article itself and you then add a link to your site, you will be likely to receive referral traffic, if the blog you’ve commented on is popular. But that is more of a self-marketing strategy, rather than an SEO one.
Essentially don’t waste your time and money on comment links that may leave you with a penalty and a loss of business, but focus on gaining high-quality links!
5. PBN links
One of the most popular ways to build link juice over the years to your own site. It essentially consisted of buying old domains, building up the domain authority with social signals etc and then pointing links from those sites to the main site that you really wanted to rank. A bit like building your own little world of backlinks. Only problem? Google started catching on.
You see there are two different types of PBNs – private and public blog networks. Now if you built private blog networks, each site was run by you solely, on different IP addresses, different names, addresses etc, then you would have a better success rate. But one slip-up and it could spell the end of your site(s). However, the real issue is when second rate link building companies are selling you PBN links because, by the fact they are advertising them, means they will be public! And this means it is 1000x easier for Google to find them and destroy them and your site along with it.
Building backlinks from PBNs is like building your house on sand. It’s only a matter of time before it all collapses, so don’t take the risk!
Though there are hundreds of more ways you can get questionable backlinks, these are the ones that stood out to us during our research online!
The moral of the article is: don’t trust sites selling you any of these types of links, they clearly do not care about providing a quality service to their clients, the quick cash reward is too appetising, but they won’t be there when your site gets a manual penalty from using their toxic methods!
Back-linking is so important, but it has to be done the right way! It takes time and SEO knowledge to create great, relevant content, to ensure the site that is picked for your backlink is relevant, to make sure it is done in the most natural way possible e.g. not putting up numerous links at the same time, not putting the link in exactly the same place in each article.
If you think you may have used any of these above methods, it may be worth having a link audit performed on your site, which we offer here, where we can find any dangerous backlinks to your site and either manually request removal or disavow.
And if not then heed our warning and don’t use those types of businesses, you’ll only be paying to damage your own site, instead invest your time and money in building real backlinks.